Hyperion Records

Mai, Op 1 No 2
First line:
Puisque mai tout en fleurs dans les prés nous réclame
c1862, Op 1 No 2, ‘À Madame Henri Garnier’, Hamelle: First Collection p5, G major (original key F major) 3/4 Allegretto
author of text

'Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2 – Un paysage choisi' (CDA67334)
Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2 – Un paysage choisi

Mai, Op 1 No 2
This was among the six songs that Fauré, while still enrolled as a pupil at the École Niedermeyer under the tutelage of Saint-Saëns, offered to the publisher Choudens as early as 1864. These were all to Hugo texts: Le papillon et la fleur, Mai, S’il est un charmant gazon (which bears the title Rêve d’amour), Puisqu’ici-bas toute âme, L’aube naît and Puisque j’ai mis ma lèvre. Only L’aube naît, despite its name, never saw the light of day. This publishing venture came to nothing although the great poet (still in exile) was consulted over his financial expectations regarding prospective royalties.

In 1910 Fauré confessed that he had never set Hugo successfully, but this little song is a charmer nevertheless, as are many of the other Hugo mélodies. The accompaniment has no important role to play here, but the melody has a freshness and sincerity. There is also a rare commodity – an intimacy of expression where Fauré, small beer in the age of the greater Meyerbeer, starts his career in the way he means to continue. The cadence on ‘et l’horizon immense’ is rueful and tender; this is a delightfully turned phrase, but no match for the intended breadth of the poet’s imagery. This music shows us clearly where the young composer’s sympathies lie – with that great tunesmith Gounod, rather than with Berlioz. (Fauré’s lack of enthusiasm for the latter composer was to be a bone of contention between him and his teacher Saint-Saëns for the rest of his life.)

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67334 track 1
Recording date
4 August 2004
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Recording engineer
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