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Track(s) taken from CDA67333

L'horizon chimérique, Op 118

author of text

Christopher Maltman (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: 7 minutes 57 seconds

Other recordings available for download

Sir Thomas Allen (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)


'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)
The celebratory poem of Georgette Debladis, C'est la paix, could not mask the horror of the war for Fauré or his acute awareness that far too many did not return from the fray. One of these, a cross-channel brother-in-art to Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen (though far less famous) was Jean de la Ville de Mirmont (1886–1914). As a frontispiece to the second edition of Jean de la Ville’s poems (1947) François Mauriac draws a touching pen-portrait of a talented fellow-student from Bordeaux – a tall, good-looking young man of the greatest sensibility. Born in a busy port, his poetry is full of dreams and fantasies concerning travel: Baudelaire-like journeys never undertaken, visits to continents as yet undiscovered and from which no vessel has ever returned. The poet died bravely in the first year of the war, leaving only a few works – Lettres de guerre sent to his parents from the front, and a slim recueil of poems. This was published in 1920 with engravings by Léon Dusouchet (one of which is reproduced here). The title of the first group of fourteen poems (from a total of forty-one) gave its name to the entire collection – L’horizon chimérique – and to Fauré’s cycle. The poems the composer chose for setting are numbered 13, 14, 11 and 5 in the poet’s sequence. Fauré might have refused to write a work celebrating the allied victory, but one feels that he wished to honour a talent from the ranks of the fallen. Very untypically he did not alter a word of the poet’s texts (although he did excise one strophe). The work was given its first performance by its dedicatee, the talented young baritone Charles Panzéra (destined to become one of the most famous of French singers) in May 1922, accompanied by his wife, Magdeleine Panzéra-Baillot.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

Pour Fauré, le poème commémoratif de Georgette Debladis, C'est la paix, ne pouvait masquer ni l’horreur de la guerre, ni le fait que bien trop n’en étaient pas revenus – un fait dont il avait une conscience aiguë. Frère d’art, de l’autre côté de la Manche, de Rupert Brooke et de Wilfred Owen, mais bien moins connu, Jean de la Ville de Mirmont (1886–1914) fut de ceux-là qui ne revinrent pas. En frontispice à la seconde édition de ses poèmes (1947), François Mauriac brosse un touchant portrait de ce talentueux condisciple bordelais – un beau et grand jeune homme, doué de la plus extrême sensibilité. Né dans un port animé, il écrivit une poésie gorgée de rêves et de fantaisies liés au voyage: périples baudelairiens jamais entrepris, visites de continents encore inconnus et d’où nul vaisseau n’est jamais revenu. Mort bravement dans la première année du conflit, il ne laissa que quelques œuvres – des Lettres de guerre envoyées du front à ses parents et un mince recueil de poèmes publié en 1920 avec des gravures de Léon Dusouchet. Le titre du premier ensemble de quatorze poèmes (sur un total de quarante et un) a donné son nom au recueil – L’horizon chimérique – et au cycle de Fauré, lequel choisit de mettre en musique les poèmes nos 13, 14, 11 et 5. Fauré avait beau avoir refusé d’écrire une œuvre célébrant la victoire alliée, on n’en sent pas moins qu’il souhaitait honorer un talent issu des rangs de ceux qui étaient tombés au champ d’honneur. Chose exceptionnelle, il ne change pas un mot des textes (même s’il en retranche une strophe). L’œuvre fut créée en mai 1922 par son dédicataire, le talentueux jeune baryton Charles Panzéra (appelé à devenir l’un des plus célèbres chanteurs français), accompagné par sa femme, Magdeleine Panzéra-Baillot.

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

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The Sea
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