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Track(s) taken from CDA67141/2

Je me souviens

composer
author of text

Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), 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: 4 minutes 3 seconds

Cover artwork: Two Angels (c1870) by Charles Sellier (1830-1882)
 
1
Je me souviens  [4'03]

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)
Je me souviens is another Guillot de Saix setting, a slow melancholy waltz with the subtitle: ‘Un soir, au reçu d’une lettre bleue.’ This denotes a telegram and it is possible that in this scenario it contains news of a lover’s death, perhaps during the 1914–18 War. Here is something for those listeners (and they are in the majority) who are disappointed to see our composer quit the world of Fauré in favour of that of Messager. The piano here begins to stand in for a missing orchestra. This is of course another type of Hahn, without literary pretensions or ambitions but infinitely willing (and able) to touch us. And without casting aspersions on this composer’s important contributions to the mélodie, this is also the purest and most natural Hahn; a side of his nature that was profoundly at home in the theatre. Once again he could be little Reynaldo entertaining the great and the good, the Reynaldo who could both write and sing (not to mention play!) a ‘hit’.

from notes by Graham Johnson 1996

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