The final line of this Reynaldo Hahn piece is what makes this recording with Susan Graham a masterclass in phrasing.
From Caramoor’s Vice-President of Programming, Kathy Schuman:
I can’t say for sure the first time I heard this song, but I remember distinctly when it first made a serious impression—as an encore at Susan Graham’s recital at Carnegie Hall in 2003. I was absolutely swept away by the beauty of it. Up until then I didn’t really know anything about Reynaldo Hahn (1875-1947), a Venezuelan-born composer who lived in France. Now I see his songs pop up on recital programs frequently. Whenever I see “À Chloris” listed on a program, or announced as an encore, I heave a deep sigh and settle back in my chair and let this simple beautiful song wash over me. From the first notes of the piano introduction, I am transported to another realm. His songs are a bit old-fashioned compared to contemporaries like Ravel, and it may lack the depth and intensity of Schubert lieder, but for me it captures perfectly the rhapsodic feeling of a newly discovered love.
Over the years I’ve heard it sung by Anne Sofie von Otter, Sarah Connolly, Philippe Jaroussky, David Daniels and others. It’s hard to beat Susan Graham’s version here.
For the finale, back to harmony and counterpoint. This is the final trio from Der Rosenkavalier, by my all-time favorite cast of Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, and Christine Schaefer. In 2000 a friend and I saw the Fleming-Graham-Schaefer trio in Rosenkavalier at the Met Opera and it was glorious. So my friend told me that they were repeating the production at the Royal Opera in London and we should go. Since we both had money at that time, we went. If New York was glorious, London was transcendent. This is music that has always made so many emotions of joy and sorrow audible. I have sometimes chased my favorite music to Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago, but this was the first (and probably the last) time I traveled across an ocean and it was worth it. Since I could only find the final trio for F-G-S, I have added the final duet by Anne Sophie von Otter and Barbara Bonney for your listening pleasure.
For a Tuesday, I thought something a little more serious (just a little though) could be in order. I have always loved the songs of Reynaldo Hahn and particularly love Susan Graham’s compilation of Hahn’s songs—”La Belle Epoque”. A particularly summery one is “Quand je fus pris au pavillon”, an upbeat memory song about losing your heart to a fancy lady in her pavillion. The piano captures the exhilaration of youthful love and Susan Graham’s voice sounds so honeyed and sweet.
Two themes are emerging in my week: nostalgia and repeated tunes!
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