Hyperion Records

Mirages, Op 113
1919, Op 113, ‘À Madame Gabriel Honotaux’
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'Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1 – Au bord de l'eau' (CDA67333)
Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1 – Au bord de l'eau
No 1: Cygne sur l'eau  Ma pensée est un cygne harmonieux et sage
No 2: Reflets dans l'eau  Étendue au seuil du bassin
No 3: Jardin nocturne  Nocturne jardin tout empli de silence
No 4: Danseuse  Sœur des Sœurs tisseuses de violettes

Mirages, Op 113  

Mirages, Op 113
Fauré wrote Mirages at the age of seventy-four. His attention was drawn to these poems, in the year that they were published, by the husband of the work’s eventual dedicatee. He chose four of Brimont’s sixty texts that were published in a beautiful edition, worthy of an arty aristocrat, with woodcuts by Georges Barbier. The book’s cover has a small vignette in black and gold where a Cupid holds a circular mirror in which is reflected the mouth, neck and hair of a beautiful woman; Brimont’s tastes, like those of the Princesse de Polignac, were Sapphic – thus the ‘caresses de sœur’ in the cycle’s second song, and the naked eroticism of Danseuse. The poems are preceded by frontispiece words that remind us that the First World War had only just ended: ‘Music [Musiques] singing to the ear of the poet, visions from before the torment; dreams and nostalgia, reflections or mirages of that which persists despite everything, and which brings us calm in Nature’s eternity.’ After having composed his two great cycles to poems by Van Lerberghe, Fauré obviously felt at ease with this kind of symbolism – more accessible than, say, Mallarmé – which permitted him uneventful passion and event-filled calm. The poet was more or less unknown so he felt no compunction in making cuts to serve his purposes. One of these was to provide the young singer Madeleine Grey, one of his recent protégées, with a new work to perform – a reward for her fine advocacy of La chanson d’Ève.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

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