Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3 – Chanson d'amour
CDA67335 Please, someone, buy me …
In 1910 Fauré confessed that he had never set Hugo successfully. Even if this is the case by the composer’s own highest standards, it is difficult to see why the composer thought that Puisque j’ai mis ma lèvre was less worth publishing than, say, his Rêve d’amour. In the middle of the song one might point out a slightly awkward corner (at the end of the music for verse 3, and the first few lines of verse 4). If the musical transitions here are less than ideally smooth, these small flaws are surely outweighed by the elegance of the accompaniment (an early essay in the madrigal style with left-hand staccati suggesting a plucked lute) and the graceful vocal line which encourages a tenor to charm the ear with his mezza voce. The cool poise of Fauré’s song announces a madrigal style that was to be revisited for the rest of his career. The swooning eroticism of Reynaldo Hahn’s setting of the same words (in his second recueil) suggests a lover almost drunk with rapture. This may be true to Hugo, but it is not Fauré’s temperament, and as he got older he realized how much happier he was with less fiery collaborators.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005