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Hyperion Records

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Ŕ l'ombres des bosquets chante un jeune počte by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891)
Reproduced by permission of The Wallace Collection, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA66856
Recording details: January 1996
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: January 1997
Total duration: 5 minutes 31 seconds

Violons dans le soir
First line:
Quand le soir est venu, que tout est calme enfin
author of text
Les Eblouissements

It is inevitable that Saint-Saëns should have enjoyed joining the worlds of chamber music and the mélodie. Violons dans le soir (1907) is one of a number of songs with instrumental obbligato and the violin here is deployed to bewitching effect to enhance the atmosphere of Anna de Noailles’ text. As always, one is full of admiration for the composer’s professionalism: the violin has a certain amount of bravura display, and yet it is never in danger of obscuring the voice. The interludes for violin and piano never arrest the progress of the song as a whole, and there is a real sense of dialogue between the two protagonists. The piano writing is gently supportive (standing back to allow the two stars to pirouette around each other). It is as if Debussy’s Le jet d’eau has seeped into the composer’s consciousness against his will, and there are hints that he might well have known another great nocturne, Roussel’s Le jardin mouillé.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1997

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