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Si mes vers avaient des ailes

First line:
Mes vers fuiraient, doux et frêles
composer
1888; dedicated to the composer's sister Maria
author of text

 
Like every other French song composer of the time, Reynaldo was drawn to the poetry of Victor Hugo who relished the use of the most epic canvases both in his poetry and his novels. Like Goethe, Hugo was capable of small and unpretentious lyrics of the greatest tenderness, and his importance in the development of the mélodie cannot be over-estimated. Although Hahn placed Si mes vers avaient des ailes as the second item in his first recueil, it has become his motto song. The youthfulness of the composer (he was thirteen) makes its perfection seem all the more extraordinary. The distinguishing marks of Hahn’s style are all there: an accompaniment which undulates in the background like the slow unfurling of a skein of sumptuous material, a background of seemingly little import which nevertheless shapes the melody as if the accompanist wielded the lightest of hands on a potter’s wheel; a vocal line which is derived from the intimacy of speech but which contains in it the seeds of a wonderful melody truly to be sung; the use of unexpected intervals and cadences (the leaps are sometimes large) which transport us suddenly from a conversational tone in the middle of the stave to the swoon-inducing delight of a cunningly placed mezza voce. Right from the beginning Hahn was writing for singers who could cast sensual spells. Although the composer’s debts to Massenet are obvious, this music has a depth of feeling which that composer was seldom to attain in his songs.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996

Recordings

Hahn: Chamber Music
Studio Master: CDH55379Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Hahn: Chansons grises & other songs
CDH55040
Hahn: Songs
CDA67141/22CDs
The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2
This album is not yet available for downloadHYP202CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Details

Track 1 on CDA67141/2 CD1 [2'11] 2CDs
Track 10 on CDH55040 [2'11]
Track 11 on CDH55379 [1'53]
Track 13 on HYP20 CD2 [2'11] 2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Track-specific metadata for CDA67141/2 disc 1 track 1

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-96-14101
Duration
2'11
Recording date
22 December 1995
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown & Arthur Johnson
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Hahn: Songs (CDA67141/2)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: June 1996
    2CDs
  2. The Essential Hyperion, Vol. 2 (HYP20)
    Disc 2 Track 13
    Release date: October 2000
    Deletion date: October 2010
    2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
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