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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: 3 minutes 31 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)

First line:
Ne jamais la voir ni l'entendre
1882; in collaboration with his brother Lucien; No 18 of Vingt mélodies; à Jules Massenet
1882; in collaboration with his brother Paul; No 18 of Vingt mélodies; à Jules Massenet
author of text
1869; Les solitudes
author of text
1869; Les solitudes

The composers of this music are aware of the achievements of Liszt and Wagner who employed a new and daring harmonic vocabulary, far from the Schumannian example prized by Godard. As an indication that they were not entirely carried away with Wagnerian fervour the song is dedicated to Massenet. The poem is drawn from Les solitudes of Sully Prudhomme (1869). It was unforgettably set by Henri Duparc (the composer’s second song) shortly after the poem first appeared in print. It is inconceivable that the Hillemachers were unaware of Duparc’s music, but it was very much in the spirit of the times for rival composers to ‘have a go’ with an alternative version, despite a rival’s success. It took someone of the depth of Chabrier to suppress his own Invitation au voyage once he had heard the setting by his comrade Duparc.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes

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