When poets wax lyrical about the dawn they can seldom resist describing the flowers and gardens that are first to experience the day’s awakening. The minimalist accompaniment of the song is mezzo staccato and evokes pinpricks of light; as the strophe progresses, the distant brilliance of the morning star gradually gives way to legato phrasing and warmer sunlight. All this is in Fauré’s best Italian style – similar to the two Romaine Bussine settings – where the simplest of accompaniments supports a melodic curve that is independently eloquent. It is indeed a marvel how this composer graces the seemingly static anonymity of such piano-writing with an ardent serenade that evokes Massenet (cf his duet Rêvons, c’est l’heure
, 1871, with its similar quaver duplets) or some of the canzone of Tosti. Fauré had the common touch when required. If he had possessed the gumption to market himself ruthlessly, he might have made the same amount of money as some of his more canny colleagues.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005