Hyperion Records

Mai
Mai is a delicious waltz-song which is prophetic of Hahn’s gift in the realms of lighter music. The setting of ‘inconsolée’ at the end of the first verse, with its descending pattern followed by an upward leap of a seventh, is typical of this composer’s vocal writing. It was this type of song that Ravel set out to compose when he wrote Fascination, selling it to Marchetti rather than lose his reputation as a serious master. (It is recorded by Stephen Varcoe in ‘La Procession’, CDA66248). François Coppée, a Parnassian poet, was a friend of both Verlaine and Sarah Bernhardt. He was more distinguished in Hahn’s day than his present-day reputation would suggest, and he was celebrated for understanding the emotions of unimportant working Parisians, and giving them a poetic voice. To the modern ear, however, the poetry sounds rather portentous.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1996

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