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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67523
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2006
Total duration: 5 minutes 1 seconds

'A disc to treasure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'John Mark Ainsley understands the idiom of these beguiling songs and delivers them with grace, fluency and clear diction … Graham Johnson's playing is as vivid and piquant as his booklet notes. A delectable disc' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Ainsley—urbane, sexy and witty throughout—is at his absolute best' (The Guardian)

'Graham Johnson is quite literally changing the way we hear French mélodie. What a voyage to be invited to join!' (International Record Review)

'How does Graham Johnson do it? Once again, he has explored territory that few today have even considered worthy of investigation, and once again, he has come up with an extraordinary CD' (Fanfare, USA)

'One of the finest examples of Gallic song performance' (MusicWeb International)

'Comme toujours, John Mark Ainsley touche à la perfection tant par le style que pour son impeccable diction, et Graham Johnson poursuit en maître artisan son indefatigable exploration du monde du lied et de la mélodie' (Diapason, France)

Six Fables de La Fontaine
composer
author of text

Introduction
Each of Lecock’s collection of Six Fables de La Fontaine was dedicated to a different singer at the Opéra-Comique. This music is characterized by a sophisticated writing for keyboard (particularly in the passagework of La chauve-souris et les deux belettes) that is lacking in the rather laboured and extended Offenbach settings of La Fontaine songs. The wit and concision of Lecocq’s mélodies, perfectly suited to the pithy texts, make us regret that more of Lecocq’s settings for voice and piano are not in the repertoire. The seventeenth-century fabulist has been the source of much music, including Poulenc’s ballet Les animaux modèles; of the many nineteenth-century settings of La Fontaine those of Lecocq are among the few to have survived more sophisticated twentieth-century comparison (Caplet, Delage, Françaix).

from notes by Graham Johnson 2006
English: Richard Stokes

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