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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 27 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)

La chanson des blondes
First line:
Provençaux, le soleil d'ici
1873; à Henri Regnier
author of text
1874; Poèmes de Provence

This song has the subtitle Ronde provençale and was composed in 1873. The writer Jean Aicard (1848–1921) was a friend of the composer and he introduced Provençal themes into Parisian literary life, above all with his later invention of the fantastic figure of Maurin des Maures, a kind of Robin Hood of the French south. La chansons des blondes appears in Aicard’s Poèmes de Provence (1874), a book adorned with an illustration of a cicada and the rubric Tout l’été. The song’s title is deceptive—this is no hymn to Aryan femininity. Provence is famous for its olive-skinned women, but this song celebrates other aspects of provencal life—wine, oil, the perpetually chirping cicada and the sea glinting in the sunlight. Much later, in 1907, Paladilhe wrote a song cycle, La chanson de l’enfant, to Aicard’s words.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes

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