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Track(s) taken from CDA67257

Épigrammes de Théocrite, Op 13

October 1918
author of text
translator of text

François Le Roux (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: November 2000
Champs Hill, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: May 2002
Total duration: 4 minutes 58 seconds


'A vital addition to Hyperion's French song series, beautifully sung and played' (Gramophone)

‘Johnson has done much to rehabilitate the reputations of obscure composers of French Songs’ (BBC Music Magazine)

'A worthy and wonderful treat … a scintillating disc' (The Observer)

'Wonderfully idiomatic performances from singer and pianist alike, ideally recorded and presented' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'intrinsic artistic quality and fine performance … A tantalizing glimpse of a fine talent that deserves to be remembered as more than the sixth member of Les Six' (Fanfare, USA)
I was seduced by Theocritus’s and Petronius’s simplicity and limpidity. Besides, I had just been introduced to ‘Socrate’ of which Satie had given us the first hearing at Jane Bathori’s and which impressed me greatly.
It is obvious that the style of ‘Socrate’ influenced my Epigrammes and Trois Poèmes de Pétrone appreciably. It seems to me, though, that there are essential differences which separate my songs from Satie’s piece. The latter is static and aims at being static since it was conceived in the monotonous rhythm of a reading. The former embraces a liberty of movement, with a melodic line far more eventful. It is rather in the writing that analogies can be found, particularly in the use of scales and progressions of fourths, the almost naked aspect of the accompaniment, and the intention to create a music simple and clear.
Epigrammes de Théocrite and Trois Poèmes de Pétrone written a month after, are, I believe, the only two examples in my catalogue showing the influence, essentially short-lived then, of the ‘bon maître’ from Arcueil [Satie]. A fleeting smile, then, but a friendly, grateful smile.

(Louis Durey, from his Catalogue Commenté, translation by Isabelle Battioni)

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2002

Théocrite et Pétrone me séduisaient pour leur simplicité et leur limpidité. Je venais d’autre part de connaître ‘Socrate’ dont Satie nous avait donné la primeur d’une lecture chez Jane Bathori et qui m’avait vivement frappé.
Il est évident que le style de ‘Socrate’ a sensiblement influencé mes Epigrammes et mes Trois Poèmes de Pétrone. Il me parait cependant que des différences essentielles séparent mes mélodies de l’œuvre de Satie: celle-ci est statique, se veut statique puisqu’elle a été conçue dans le rythme monotone d’une lecture; celles-là ont une tout autre liberté d’allure, la ligne mélodique y étant bien plus mouvementée. C’est plutôt dans l’écriture que se trouvent des analogies, notamment dans l’emploi de gammes, de suite de quartes, comme dans la quasi nudité de l’accompagnement mais aussi dans la volonté de faire une musique simple et claire.
Les Epigrammes de Théocrite et les Trois Poèmes de Pétrone qui les suivent à un mois seulement de distance, sont, je pense, les seuls exemples que l’on puisse relever chez moi de l’influence, toute passagère donc, du ‘bon maître’ d’Arcueil. Un sourire en passant, mais sourire amical et reconnaissant.

(Louis Durey: in Catalogue Commenté, 1962)

extrait des notes rédigées par Graham Johnson © 2002
Français: Isabelle Battioni

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