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Track(s) taken from CDA67141/2

Trois jours de vendange

First line:
Je l'ai rencontrée un jour de vendage
composer
author of text

Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
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: 3 minutes 3 seconds

Cover artwork: Two Angels (c1870) by Charles Sellier (1830-1882)
 
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Reviews

'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)
Trois jours de vendange is one of the few songs by Hahn which tells a story; it does so in three clear stages, as the title makes plain. It was no doubt composed as a tribute to its poet, Alphonse Daudet, who had been so kind both to Hahn and to Proust. The merry acciaccaturas and staccato chords are as near as Reynaldo ever got to painting merry country life in his mélodies. The effect of heartiness is of course set up to be knocked down in the final verse where the beautiful girl, stricken by illness in the second verse, dies and is buried. The whole song seems to owe something to the narrative ballads of Saint-Saëns, in particular Le pas d’armes du roi Jean which also seeks to unify a varied story in different sections within a larger musical structure. The last page with its tolling bells and monotone incantations seems to have something in common with the spellbinding coda of Debussy’s De soir (Proses Lyriques) which also has bare octaves accompanying a vocal line similarly suggestive of medieval church ritual. Debussy’s modernity was largely inimical to Hahn and it seems curious that the Proses Lyriques were exactly contemporary with the publication of Reynaldo’s first Recueil. It must be remembered, however, that some of the Hahn songs had been written up to eight years earlier.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996

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