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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: 1 minutes 24 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)

Nocturne
First line:
Sur ton sein ple mon cur dort
composer
author of text
author of text

Introduction
Nocturne is a Lahor setting and it sets out to challenge Duparc in the way that he chose to set the words of his famous Extase. It cannot be rated a serious rival, for it does nothing to replace Duparc’s haunting music (inspired by Träume from Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder) in the ear of the listener. Nevertheless it is a highly effective song, striking that note of exquisite decadence that we find so often in Reynaldo’s music. The shade of Wagner is banished in favour of home-grown composers like Massenet. By minimising the importance of the bass line Hahn even aims at a sort of rather modern harmonic ambiguity as if to emphasise the disorientating nature of sleep.

from notes by Graham Johnson 1996

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