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Track(s) taken from CDA67523

Si mes vers avaient des ailes

First line:
Mes vers fuiraient, doux et frêles
1882; in collaboration with his brother Lucien; No 10 of Vingt mélodies
1882; in collaboration with his brother Paul; No 10 of Vingt mélodies
author of text
1856; Les contemplations

John Mark Ainsley (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: August 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: June 2006
Total duration: 1 minutes 34 seconds


'A disc to treasure' (BBC Music Magazine)

'John Mark Ainsley understands the idiom of these beguiling songs and delivers them with grace, fluency and clear diction … Graham Johnson's playing is as vivid and piquant as his booklet notes. A delectable disc' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Ainsley—urbane, sexy and witty throughout—is at his absolute best' (The Guardian)

'Graham Johnson is quite literally changing the way we hear French mélodie. What a voyage to be invited to join!' (International Record Review)

'How does Graham Johnson do it? Once again, he has explored territory that few today have even considered worthy of investigation, and once again, he has come up with an extraordinary CD' (Fanfare, USA)

'One of the finest examples of Gallic song performance' (MusicWeb International)

'Comme toujours, John Mark Ainsley touche à la perfection tant par le style que pour son impeccable diction, et Graham Johnson poursuit en maître artisan son indefatigable exploration du monde du lied et de la mélodie' (Diapason, France)
The poem is from Hugo’s Les contemplations (1856). The famous setting of these words is by Reynaldo Hahn (1888). The Hillemacher brothers set the poem before Hahn, and Reber set the poem before the Hillemachers. Hahn, at the age of thirteen, penned a coup de maître as his coup d’essai—music youthfully ardent yet languid with the perfume of the Décadence. The Hillemachers, a decade or so earlier, are more taken with the poem’s fleet imagery of wings and flight. The vocal line entwines canonically with the piano accompaniment in breathless rapture. The final ‘des ailes/Comme l’amour’ is murmured on a monotone as the piano traces the contour of the principal melody. Here, as elsewhere, the strength and independence of the Hillemachers bass line prophesies Ravel.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes

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