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CD Review

Gabriel Fauré

The Complete Songs - Volume 4

Dans un parfum de roses
(Amid the scent of roses)
  • Le papillon et la fleur Op. 1 #1 3
  • Rêve d'amour Op. 5 #2 2
  • Dans les ruines d'une abbaye Op. 2 #1 4
  • L'aurore 2
  • La rançon Op. 8 #2 5
  • Aubade Op. 6 #1 4
  • Ici-bas! Op. 8 #3 2
  • Aurore Op. 39 #1 5
  • Le pays des rêves Op. 39 #3 2
  • Les roses d'Ispahan Op. 39 #4 1
  • Nocturne Op. 43 #2 5
  • La rose Ode anacréontique Op. 51 #4 1
  • Soir Op. 83 #2 4
  • Le parfum impérissable Op. 76 #1 1
  • Arpège Op. 76 #2 1
  • Mélisande's song from Op. 80 2
  • Le plus doux chemin Op. 87 #1 5
  • Vocalise-étude 2
  • La chanson d'Ève Op. 95 3
1 Dame Felicity Lott, soprano
2 Geraldine McGreevy, soprano
3 Jennifer Smith, soprano
4 Jean Paul Fouchecourt, tenor
5 Stephen Varcoe, baritone
Graham Johnson, piano
Hyperion CDA67336 67m DDD
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Volume 1 - Volume 2 - Volume 3

Promise fulfilled with this fourth and last volume of the complete songs of Gabriel Fauré, Hyperion has come to the end of a wonderful voyage commenced nearly a year ago. This final foray into Fauré's song kingdom takes its title from one of the songs from the cycle, 'La Chanson d'Eve', Op. 59, the peerless cycle which not only concludes this commendable undertaking, but also confirmed the composer as one of the great masters of the French song.

Apart from Op. 59, this disc includes some truly delicate and delightful pieces such as 'Le papillon et le fleur', 'La rose' and 'Mélisande's Song'. The songs are shared by five superb singers, all expert exponents of this kind of repertoire, and Graham Johnson's consummate artistry continues to add to the allure of these charming little jewels, the fruit of a subtle but enigmatic genius.

As with preceding issues, Johnson also provides the stylish and informative notes, a model of documentation that will surely appeal to the newcomer as well as those acquainted with this type of music. At the end of the day, Hyperion should feel proud of having done Fauré an inestimable service, showing the composer to possess a sensitivity and expressive language far deeper than what was initially perceived. Sound quality impeccable and this issue is a splendid conclusion to a cycle which is in the true sense of the word, 'Amid the Scent of Roses'.

Copyright © 2006, Gerald Fenech