Disc Man

Reynaldo Hahn: The Complete Recordings (Romophone) This three-disc treasure trove contains all the known recordings sung and/or accompanied by composer Reynaldo Hahn (1875-1947). Born in Caracas of half-Jewish parentage, Hahn resided in Paris from the age of 3. Upon entering the Paris Conservatoire at age 11, he studied under Massenet, and he was 14 when he published his famous song, "Si mes vers avaient des ailes" ("If my songs had wings"). Hahn next began composing to the poetry of Verlaine, who had been imprisoned for attacking his young lover Rimbaud. By 1892 Hahn had become a celebrity, charming salon audiences with his small, impeccably produced baritone. After an 1894 introduction to the not-yet-famous Marcel Proust, the two became lovers for two years and subsequently lifelong friends. Hahn composed numerous operettas and songs, as well as occasional instrumental works; served as a music critic; conducted at Salzburg and the Opera-Comique; and assumed directorship of L'Opera shortly before his death. These recordings affirm that, when entrusted to the right hands, Hahn's works can touch the heart in ways most subtle and profound. Here, in his own songs, Hahn accompanies fellow baritone Endreze, who produces the most tender of utterances; soprano Ninon Vallin, whose incomparably regal voice lends a very different dimension to Hahn's songs; and Guy Ferrant, Hahn's lover of at least a dozen years, whose simple vocal sophistication nearly matches Hahn's own.


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