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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

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


L'invitation au voyage - Mélodies from La belle époque


Track 16 on CDA67523 [1'34]

Track-specific metadata for CDA67523 track 16

Recording date
4 August 2004
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
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