(1894–1897) Fauré momentarily recaptures a world of childhood innocence unclouded by adult pain or excess. Composed for Hélène Bardac (the daughter of Emma Bardac) the ‘Berceuse’ is followed by ‘Mi-a-ou’, a waltz-scherzo playfully recalling Hélène’s ‘Messieu Aoul’, the name she gave her brother Raoul. ‘Le jardin de Dolly’ (a New Year’s present for Hélène) with its quote from the first Violin Sonata, is followed by ‘Kitty-valse’, a tender offshoot from the Valses-caprices, while ‘Tendresse’ (a peculiarly untranslatable French word) reflects Fauré’s affection for his friend’s daughter. Finally, a Spanish dance, ‘Le pas espagnol’, in which Fauré, like so many of his most distinguished musical compatriots (Debussy, Ravel and Chabrier, for example) pays tribute to the vibrancy and colour of France’s exotic next-door neighbour.
from notes by Bryce Morrison © 1995