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Track(s) taken from CDA67333

Mirages, Op 113

1919, Op 113, ‘À Madame Gabriel Honotaux’
author of text

Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: January 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2005
Total duration: 13 minutes 19 seconds


'Hyperion's sound is impeccable and in both his playing and accompanying essay, Graham Johnson penetrates to the heart of one of music's most subtle and enigmatic geniuses' (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)

'Johnson's own fluent playing finds the right tempo for each song, and his booklet notes are invaluable. Those who already love a handful of Fauré's songs will make many worthwhile discoveries here' (BBC Music Magazine)

'It sounds as if Hyperion is inviting us to embark on what will become a deeply satisfying voyage' (International Record Review)

'A dozen individual songs on aqueous themes are shared by a distinguished line-up of mostly British singers. As ever in Hyperion's song surveys, the piano accompaniments and the written documentation are immaculately presented by Graham Johnson' (The Guardian)

'Johnson's vignette-studded notes, encompassing the poems with idiomatic translations, make a consistently engaging cornucopia worth at least the price of admission and whose wide-ranging erudition will afford surprises even to close students of the period' (Fanfare, USA)
Fauré wrote Mirages at the age of seventy-four. His attention was drawn to these poems, in the year that they were published, by the husband of the work’s eventual dedicatee. He chose four of Brimont’s sixty texts that were published in a beautiful edition, worthy of an arty aristocrat, with woodcuts by Georges Barbier. The book’s cover has a small vignette in black and gold where a Cupid holds a circular mirror in which is reflected the mouth, neck and hair of a beautiful woman; Brimont’s tastes, like those of the Princesse de Polignac, were Sapphic – thus the ‘caresses de sœur’ in the cycle’s second song, and the naked eroticism of Danseuse. The poems are preceded by frontispiece words that remind us that the First World War had only just ended: ‘Music [Musiques] singing to the ear of the poet, visions from before the torment; dreams and nostalgia, reflections or mirages of that which persists despite everything, and which brings us calm in Nature’s eternity.’ After having composed his two great cycles to poems by Van Lerberghe, Fauré obviously felt at ease with this kind of symbolism – more accessible than, say, Mallarmé – which permitted him uneventful passion and event-filled calm. The poet was more or less unknown so he felt no compunction in making cuts to serve his purposes. One of these was to provide the young singer Madeleine Grey, one of his recent protégées, with a new work to perform – a reward for her fine advocacy of La chanson d’Ève.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

Fauré a écrit cettes mélodies à l'âge de soixante-quatorze ans. Son attention fut attirée vers ces poèmes, l’année même de leur publication, par le mari de celle à qui l’œuvre sera finalement dédiée. Il choisit quatre des soixante textes de Brimont, publiés dans une superbe édition, digne d’une aristocrate se voulant artiste, avec des gravures de Georges Barbier. En couverture, une petite vignette en noir et or montre un Cupidon tenant un miroir circulaire où se reflètent la bouche, le cou et la chevelure d’une femme splendide; les goûts de Brimont étaient, comme ceux de la princesse de Polignac, saphiques – d’où les «caresses de sœur» dans la deuxième mélodie du cycle, et l’érotisme nu de Danseuse. Les poèmes sont précédés d’un texte en frontispice, qui nous rappelle que la Première Guerre mondiale vient tout juste de s’achever: «Musiques chantant à l’oreille du poète, visions d’avant la tourmente; rêves et nostalgie, reflets ou mirages de ce qui persiste envers et contre tout et nous apporte le calme dans l’éternité de la Nature.» Après avoir composé ses deux grands cycles sur des poèmes de Van Lerberghe, Fauré se sentit manifestement à l’aise avec ce genre de symbolisme – plus accessible, disons, que celui d’un Mallarmé – qui lui permettait une passion sereine, un calme débordant. L’auteur étant plus ou moins inconnu, Fauré n’eut aucun scrupule à tailler dans le texte quand le besoin s’en fit sentir. L’un de ces poèmes allait fournir à la jeune cantatrice Madeleine Grey (l’une des récentes protégées de Fauré) une nouvelle œuvre à interpréter – en remerciement de son soutien appuyé à La chanson d’Ève.

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

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