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CD Review

Gabriel Fauré

The Complete Songs - Volume 3

Chanson d'amour
(Song of love)
  • Puisque j'ai mis ma lèvre
  • Tristesse d'Olympio
  • Hymne, Op. 7 #2
  • Sylvie, Op. 6 #3
  • Poème d'un jour, Op. 21
  • Nell, Op. 18 #1
  • Notre amour, Op. 23 #2
  • Le secret, Op. 23 #3
  • Chanson d'amour, Op. 27 #1
  • Fleur jetée, Op. 39 #1
  • Les présents, Op. 46 #1
  • Shylock, Op. 57
  • Sérénade: Le bourgeois gentilhomme
  • La bonne chanson, Op. 61
  • Le ramier, Op. 87 #2
  • Le don silencieux, Op. 92
Felicity Lott, Jennifer Smith - soprano
John Mark Ainsley, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt - tenor
Christopher Maltman, Stephen Varcoe - baritone
Ronan O'Hora, Graham Johnson - piano
Hyperion CDA67335 73m DDD
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Volume 1 - Volume 2 - Volume 4

The third instalment of Hyperion's series encompassing all the Fauré songs takes its name from the 1882 composition, 'Chanson d'amour' (Love song) and steers the listener on an adventure through the often mysterious world of human emotions.

This album, apart from including some absolutely delightful miniatures like 'Tristesse d'Olympia', 'Sylvie Op. 6 #3', 'Notre amour, Op. 23 #2' and 'Le don si lencieux', Op. 92, also includes three complete cycles,

'Poeme d'un jour', composed to the poetry by Grandmougin is the first song cycle written by Fauré. It was composed in 1878 and remains one of the composer's lightweight successes of the genre. The suite from the Shakespeare/Harancort drama, 'Shylock' dates from 1889 and is very particular in its form and structure. There are six movements of which only #1 and 3 are sung texts. The other four are two-piano arrangements by Leon Boellmann, after Fauré himself gave the nod to the idea.

The crowning glory of this CD is surely the 1894 cycle, "Le bonne chanson", composed to the poetry by Verlaine. Although this work is considered to be one of Fauré's masterpieces where song writing is concerned, in its day it won few friends due to its complexity. Still, Marcel Proust loved it, and today it enjoys the popularity it deserves.

As with previous issues, the mastermind of this project, Graham Johnson has succeeded in assembling the very finest interpreters of French song operating at present, and his superb commentaries on every song are an additional treasure. This is another marvellous chapter in the Hyperion French Song Edition which should enhance no end the reputation of one of France's most enigmatic and subtle composers.

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech