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Track(s) taken from CDA66856

À quoi bon entendre les oiseaux des bois?

author of text
Ruy Blas (act 2, scene 1)

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: 1 minutes 36 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)
This delightful little serenade from 1868 is a good example of what makes Saint-Saëns such a sympathetic composer of songs. As a great virtuoso and pianist he could so easily have swamped this gentle little lyric with trills and frills and other excrescences. Instead he matched the words with exquisite probity, running the semiquavers between the hands as if he envisaged the tender outdoor warblings of a flute. It was Saint-Saëns in this mood which engraved itself on the imagination of the young Fauré when he began to write in his so-called ‘madrigal’ style (e.g. Chanson d’amour). Like his pupil, and like his grand-pupil Ravel, Saint-Saëns is part of that noble French tradition which realises that what is not said is as potent as the greatest oration. Although not important in itself, this song from the time when Duparc was beginning to compose mélodies in quite another manner, raises the banner of classicism.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1997

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