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Track(s) taken from CDA67336

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

Jean-Paul Fouchécourt (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2005
Total duration: 1 minutes 45 seconds

Cover artwork: 'Les Roses d'Ispahan' after Gabriel Fauré (c1907) by Lucien Levy-Dhurmer (1865-1953)
Sotheby’s Picture Library

Other recordings available for download

Graham Johnson (piano), Stephen Varcoe (baritone)
John Chest (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)


'There are songs of a fragrance, ambiguity and vision unique to Fauré and all the singers involved in this glorious project, while not always in their first radiance and purity of voice, never lose their sense of poetic engagement and commitment. Graham Johnson, whether writing or playing, is magically attuned to every nuance of Fauré's universe; and Hyperion's sound and presentation are impeccable' (Gramophone)

'This completes Hyperion's recording of all Fauré's songs master-minded by Graham Johnson with a quintet of specialist singers: Jennifer Smith, Felicity Lott, Geraldine McGreevy, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt and Stephen Varcoe, all in top form here … suffice it to say that this superb enterprise is a jewel in Hyperion's crown' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'The sound is warm and initimate and Johnson's comprehensive notes are packed with information on each song and its cultural surround. In all this series has proved an impressive achievement, demonstrating that even the least known of Fauré's songs is well worth hearing' (BBC Music Magazine)

'These four CDs deserve an honoured place in the collection of anyone who cares about one of the finest of all mélodistes' (International Record Review)

'There's an ineffable, nostalgia-filled sadness about Jennifer Smith's rapt delivery of the final two songs of La chanson d'Ève, the mood intensified as so often in this series by Graham Johnson's accompaniments. An outstanding disc' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Graham Johnson, whose sterling pianism distinguishes every track … his accompanimens are models of Fauréan discretion and care … Gabriel Fauré: The Complete Songs offers a vital contribution to the ongoing re-imagination of Fauré, as well as a splendid opportunity to become acquainted with his allusive art' (Nineteenth-Century Music 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. 2 - Un paysage choisi
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