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Track(s) taken from CDA67334

Dans les ruines d'une abbaye, Op 2 No 1

First line:
Seuls tous deux, ravis, chantants!
c1865, Op 2 No 1, ‘À Mme Henriette Escalier’, Hamelle: First Collection p10
author of text

Graham Johnson (piano), Stephen Varcoe (baritone)
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Release date: April 2005
Total duration: 1 minutes 57 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
John Chest (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)


'All the singers involved in this ideally presented and recorded offering perform with a special ardour and commitment and Graham Johnson is, as always, a matchless partner and commentator. I can scarcely wait for Volume 3' (Gramophone)

'There can be nothing but praise for Johnson's pianism and his selection and arrangement of the songs. Volumes 3 and 4 are eagerly awaited' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'The chronological placement of songs within the programme highlights the composer's development and the quality and variety of Fauré's achievement shine through. As well as providing his usual comprehensive notes, Johnson is as ever a perceptive accompanist' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The discreet but authoritative Graham Johnson has masterminded a pleasing sequence of more than two dozen songs shared among eight singers. For my money, the soprano Geraldine McGreevy is the star of the enterprise. The way she adjusts her tone colour—indeed, her whole musical personality—between songs, is often remarkable … Johnson's annotations are both erudite and valuable as listening aids' (The Independent)

'As before, Johnson's notes are a model of what's required, whether you are an adept in Fauré's mélodies or a newcomer. They are stylish, informative and suffused with his passion for this music. Then there's his own artistry, authoritative but never overbearing' (International Record Review)
Fauré often cuts poems short. Here the onrush of words in this tempo uses so many syllables that he must re-employ the first two strophes of the poem as his six and seventh verses before going on to finish the poem! The newly-weds are outdoors in springtime and in the grounds of an old abbey. Their vivacious peals of joy and laughter seem almost sacrilegious in contrast to the sombre shadows cast by clerical history. The poet remains defiantly irreverent. Even the tombstones inscribed with crosses, and thoughts of the praying nuns of yore, cannot dampen this young couple’s fun and games: the Church, a crumbling force in republican France, no longer has the power to intimidate a generation that has grown up as free thinkers. It is a bitter fact for Hugo that France under Napoléon III is no longer a republic. The great Fauré commentator Jankélévitch, probably a religious man, preferred not to hear this text because it was of a ‘décourageante stupidité’. In any case, Fauré ignores any deeper layers of meaning in this relatively late poem (from Les chansons des rues et des bois, 1865); instead we are treated to a simple moto perpetuo of high spirits. As in Mai the rippling accompaniment facilitates a catchy little tune that skips with considerable elan and with scarcely a pause for breath. I remember a masterclass at Aldeburgh when Hugues Cuenod snatched the music from a student who had plodded through the song with well-meaning reverence. Cuenod, still singing marvellously in his seventies, gambolled in ‘les ruines’ with a joie de vivre that had all the onlookers applauding – Peters Pears on his feet, beaming and calling for a bis.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

Fauré raccourcit souvent les poèmes. Mais ici, la ruée des mots, dans ce tempo, utilise tant de syllabes qu’il doit reprendre les deux premières strophes pour ses sixième et septième couplets avant de pouvoir terminer le poème! Les jeunes mariés sont dehors, au printemps, sur les terres d’une vieille abbaye. Leurs exubérants éclats de joie et de rire paraissent presque sacrilèges comparé aux noires ombres de l’histoire cléricale. Le poète persiste dans une irrévérence provocatrice. Ni les pierres tombales marquées d’une croix, ni même le souvenir des nonnes orantes du temps jadis ne parviennent à refroidir la folâtrerie du jeune couple: l’Église, force déliquescente dans la France républicaine, n’a plus le pouvoir d’intimider une génération d’hommes qui ont grandi en libres-penseurs. Amère réalité pour Hugo que cette France de Napoléon III qui n’est plus une république. Grand commentateur de Fauré et homme probablement religieux, Jankélévitch préféra ne pas entendre ce texte, d’une «décourageante stupidité». Quoi qu’il en soit, Fauré ignore tout niveau sémantique plus profond de ce poème relativement tardif (extrait de Les chansons des rues et des bois, 1865) et préfère le traiter en un simple moto perpetuo pétulant. Comme dans Mai, l’accompagnement ondoyant aide à un petit air facile à retenir, qui sautille avec une énergie considérable, sans presque un instant de répit. Je me rappelle un master class à Aldeburgh, où Hugues Cuenod arracha la musique des mains d’un étudiant qui en terminait péniblement avec cette mélodie, la ponctuant d’une révérence bien intentionnée. Cuenod, qui chantait encore merveilleusement à soixante-dix ans, cabriola dans «les ruines» avec une joie de vivre qui lui valut des applaudissements unanimes – et Peter Pears debout, radieux, de réclamer un bis.

extrait des notes rédigées par Graham Johnson © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Other albums featuring this work

Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1
Studio Master: SIGCD427Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 4 - Dans un parfum de roses
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