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Track(s) taken from CDA66856

Le chant de ceux qui s'en vont sur la mer

First line:
Adieu, patrie!
author of text
Les Châtiments

François Le Roux (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: January 1996
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: January 1997
Total duration: 3 minutes 6 seconds

Cover artwork: À l'ombres des bosquets chante un jeune poète by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891)
Reproduced by permission of The Wallace Collection, London / Bridgeman Art Library, London


'This is the most resounding blow yet to be struck for the mélodies of Saint-Saëns … Le Roux is one of the most charismatic performers of our time … this is certainly one of the best things he has done so far. A double welcome for performers and rare repertory' (Gramophone)

'Musical jewels surface with delightful consistency in this 27-song recital. An absorbing and revelatory disc' (BBC Music Magazine)

'There's hardly a dud among these 30-or-so songs on this well filled, perfectly recorded disc, an ideal accompaniment to a hot summer evening' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Another immensely pleasant recital from Hyperion, both in content and performance. [François Le Roux] is establishing himself as the leading French baritone of the day' (Classic CD)

'François Le Roux est l'interprète prédestiné. Son intelligence des mots, son sens de la juste inflexion font ici merveille' (Diapason, France)

'Apoya magnificamente al baritono, firmando entre ambos un trabajo auténticamente digno de conocerse. Sonido exemplar' (CD Compact, Spain)
It is rare indeed for a song composer to find something to set from Les Châtiments, Hugo’s magnificent tirade about the betrayal of the ideals of Republican France, and the catastrophe (as he saw it) of the coup d’état in 1851 which brought Napoléon III to power. There is a grandeur and desperation about this section of the poem which would not have suited everybody; indeed Fauré’s L’Absent, which is also to do with the exiled Hugo, is singularly unconvincing. But Saint-Saëns in 1860 somehow manages to convey the heartbreak and pathos of this farewell by treating it in an openly operatic manner. The piano part is a big one which thunders and rumbles with cascades of falling arpeggios, and the voice part goes for broke by striking an attitude of almost crazed grandiloquence which would have seemed ridiculous in later years. Taken in the context of its own time, it remains effective. The dedicatee was Pauline Viardot, and as the song lies in her range (she was a mezzo-soprano) one can imagine what she would have made of it.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1997

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