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Track(s) taken from CDA67336

La chanson d'Ève, Op 95

1906–1910, published as Op 95
author of text

Jennifer Smith (soprano), 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: 23 minutes 11 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

Sarah Connolly (mezzo-soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (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)
‘Nothing equals the purity, the grandeur, the chastity of La chanson d’Ève, this Bonne chanson of the golden age’ (Vladimir Jankélévitch).

This substantial work by Charles Van Lerberghe appeared in 1904 and is dedicated to Émile Verhaeren. Fauré’s friend Alfred Mockel introduced the composer to this poetry which attracted him immediately. The work contains ninety-six poems and is divided into five sections: Fauré passes over the Prélude and begins his cycle with the first poem of Premières paroles (3), followed by 8, 7, 12, 16, 22 from the same section. (It is clear that the wonder of the Creation and the garden of Eden interest Fauré far more than Eve’s fall from grace.) There is a single poem from La tentation (39) before a return to Premières paroles (29). The eighteen poems of La faute are ignored entirely. The cycle ends with poems 86 and 94 (the third to last poem) from Crépuscule which the composer also adopts as the title of the penultimate song; thus Fauré’s cycle follows Van Lerberghe’s chronology only to a generalized extent; it skims the surface of the poet’s portrait of Eve while deepening it with matchless music. The opening lines of the poems are their only titles, thus Paradis, Prima verba and Eau vivante are Fauré’s own.

In motivic terms La chanson d’Ève is a less complex composition than La bonne chanson with its five recurring themes. In other ways, despite the fact that the music seems far less dense on the page, the later cycle is far more ambitious. Fauré, not yet as old as Haydn when he wrote Die Schöpfung, undertakes nothing less than a ‘Creation’ of his own. Eve is a cosmic figure, the grandest protagonist in any of the female song cycles; and we hear the voice of God Himself, a unique event in the song repertoire. So absorbing is this picture that the absence of Adam (from Fauré’s scenario at least) seems hardly worthy of comment.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

«Rien n’égale la pureté, la granduer, la chasteté de La chanson d’Ève, cette Bonne chanson de l’âge d’or.» (Vladimir Jankélévitch)

Fauré fut d’emblé séduit par cette poésie de Charles Van Lerberghe, à laquelle son ami Alfred Mockel l’initia. Substantielle, cette oeuvre de 1904 dédiée à Émile Verhaeren comprend quatre-vingt-seize poèmes répartis en cinq sections: Fauré saute le Prélude et commence son cycle par le premier poème des Premières paroles (3). Viennent ensuite les poèmes nos 8, 7, 12, 16 et 22 de la même section. (Il est évident que les merveilles de la Création et le jardin d’Éden intéressent bien plus Fauré qu’Ève perdant la grâce.) Un seul poème est extrait de La tentation (39), qui précède un retour aux Premières paroles (29). Les dix-huit poèmes de La faute sont laissés de côté et le cycle s’achève sur les nos 86 et 94 (l’antépénultième) du Crépuscule—mot dont Fauré fait aussi le titre de son avant-dernière mélodie; le cycle suit donc la chronologie de Van Lerberghe, du moins dans les grandes lignes: il effleure le portrait d’Ève tel que le brosse le poète, mais il l’approfondit aussi avec une musique sans égale. Les poèmes n’ayant pour titre que leurs seuls premiers vers, Paradis, Prima verba et Eau vivante sont des inventions de Fauré.

Sur le plan motivique, La chanson d’Ève est moins complexe que La bonne chanson, avec ses cinq thèmes récurrents. Autrement, et bien que la musique donne l’impression visuelle d’être bien moins dense, le cycle le plus tardif est de loin le plus ambiteux. Fauré, qui n’avait pas encore l’âge du Haydn de Die Schöpfung, entreprend rien de moins que sa «Création» à lui. Ève est une figure cosmique, la plus grandiose portagoniste de tous les cycles féminins; et l’on entend la voix de Dieu Lui-même—un événement unique dans le répertoire de la mélodie. Ce tableau est tellement captivant que l’absence d’Adam (chez Fauré du moins) semble à peine valoir d’être commentée.

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

Other albums featuring this work

Fauré: La chanson d'Ève & other songs
Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2
Studio Master: SIGCD472Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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