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Shylock, Op 57  

Shylock, Op 57
Shylock is a ‘comédie en trois actes et sept tableaux’ by Edmond Haraucourt (1856–1941); this ‘drame adapté de Shakespeare’ (from The Merchant of Venice) was given its first performance in Paris at the Théâtre national de l’Odéon on 17 December 1889. Fauré had written the incidental music (dedicated ‘À M. Paul Porel’ – Porel was director of the Théatre de l’Odéon and had invited Fauré to provide incidental music to Dumas’ Caligula in 1888) during a busy summer: he had sat for his portrait by Sargent, he had composed the Offertorium from the Requiem, played host to the visiting Glazunov in Paris, and his son Philippe was born in July. Two of the Shylock numbers are songs which appeared separately in the third Hamelle recueil.

Many years ago I purchased a collection of music that had belonged to Lee Francis (Frank) Shuster, a wealthy friend and patron of Fauré (and of Elgar) who lived in London. In this collection was a copy of the complete Shylock suite in a rare version where the two songs are accompanied by a single pianist, and the instrumental numbers are arranged for piano duet (with Fauré’s approval) by the composer Léon Boëllmann (1862–1897). The two mélodies are heard in the context of Op 57 as a whole, although it is important to point out that this suite differs in several respects from the music as it was heard in the theatre. There is no music associated with any scene involving the eponymous anti-hero of the play.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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Details for CDA67335 track 19
Recording date
4 August 2004
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Recording engineer
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