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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 32 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)

RÍverie
First line:
Puisqu'ici-bas toute ‚me
composer
author of text

Introduction
Rêverie is another Hugo setting and, if less famous than Si mes vers, it has always had its admirers. The theme is unforced, dreamy charm; the piano’s vamping (alternating legato with staccato) at first seems almost comic in its accommodating will to please, and then strikes us as ever so slightly cheeky—an antidote to the romanticism of the words. The elegant onrushing of triplets against a background of steady duplets gives a delightful elasticity to the vocal line if the singer knows how to make use of the rhythmic freedom. In a cadential phrase like ‘Donne un baiser’ the composer, young as he is, is able to suggest not only the pleasure of entering into an emotional attachment but also the possibility of pain and uncertainty. It is this suggestion of a lifetime’s experience which makes Hahn’s precocious achievements so remarkable. At a similar cadence the phrase ‘De mes chansons’ (with a long-held note on the final syllable) suggests the sound of love songs of the past melting into thin air.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996

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