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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: 2 minutes 59 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)

Les papillons
First line:
Les papillons couleur de neige
composer
1873; à Théodore Dubois
author of text
1838; La comédie de la mort

Introduction
The poem is from Gautier’s La comédie de la mort (1838). Although Paladilhe’s song of 1873 cannot match the sheer pianistic ingenuity of the famous Chausson setting of these words (1880) it has other strengths. Chausson quickly passes over the eastern provenance of these exotic butterflies (as exotic as the same composer’s humming bird—Le colibri) that surround the poet’s dark-eyed Indian beauty, his ‘bayadère’. Paladilhe has an Andantino middle section to his song where the passage ‘ô belles des belles’ prompts quasi-oriental melisma.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes

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