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Hyperion Records

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Two Angels (c1870) by Charles Sellier (1830-1882)
Track(s) taken from CDA67141/2
Recording details: December 1995
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown & Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1996
Total duration: 2 minutes 20 seconds

'What treasures are here … the two discs provide an unmissable opportunity to explore a composer who is underrated and overlooked perhaps because he was too modest about himself. There are melodies here which Massenet, Debussy, Fauré and Ravel would have been proud to call their own. No one can fail to have their musical horizon broadened by these discs, which will assuredly come high among my Records of the Year, any year … these discs have given me as much pleasure as any I have heard this year … to hear Felicity Lott in Les étoiles, Susan Bickley in Offrande and Ian Bostridge in Tyndaris is to relish some of the most accomplished vocal artistry of the day' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'Some fascinating rarities' (Gramophone)

'To wonderful songs … [the artists] bring delicacy, grace, an emotion the more poignant for being understated … Not to be missed' (The Observer)

'This gorgeous set … Irresistible' (The Sunday Times)

'This is music for the intellect, interpreted with the utmost sensitivity' (Hi-Fi News)

'Ces chanteurs brittaniques interprètent ces petits bijoux avec soin touchant. Par la qualité du phrasé, ils lui restituent sa qualité essentielle, le sens du mot et de la ligne mélodique' (Répertoire, France)

'Graham Johnson choisir ses chanteurs qui possèdent une musicalité irréprochable et un français non seulement intelligible mais évocateur—et de les accompanger avec tant de poésie' (Diapason, France)

Paysage
First line:
deux pas de la mer qu'on entend bourdonner
composer
author of text

Introduction
Perhaps more typical of the Massenet style is Paysage. Of all the poets in the first Recueil André Theuriet (1833–1907) is the least remembered although he was very famous in his time as a novelist and playwright (Sarah Bernhardt appeared in his Jean Marie, and he was elected to the Académie Française to replace Dumas). He was known as a poet of the provinces and this little Breton picture captures the mood of a gentle autumn where nothing much is happening far from the bustle of city life. Hahn complements this with a repetitive melody that is exchanged between piano and voice, the vocal line sometimes soaring, at other moments murmuring on a monotone. The accompaniment breaks into semiquavers at mention of the fountain and into limpid triplets at mention of the stream. The ending, which attempts the grandiose, is less successful for the poet and also, in consequence, for the composer. But this type of peroration, verging on sentimentality, is impeccably within the confines of salon style.

from notes by Graham Johnson 1996

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