‘No better guide … could be found than Graham Johnson, one of our leading accompanists and someone whose knowledge of the entire song repertoire would be hard to match. As a performer who has spent a lifetime interpreting this music …Johnson knows it inside out. But he also possesses a deep understanding of each song’s position within Fauré’s own life, and indeed within the wider French cultural environment as a whole.…Richard Stokes’s translations of the texts aligned with the originals are an added bonus.…an ideal guide to one of the most important figures in the song repertoire, valuable to performers and listeners alike.’
BBC Music Magazine
Graham Johnson’s recent book on the songs of Gabriel Fauré has a lovely endorsement from Susan Youens
There aren’t enough superlatives in my vocabulary for the task at hand; we’d need a francophile Shakespeare to do this book justice. At last, Fauré receives the kind of thoroughgoing advocacy he has long deserved – and it could only come both from a musician who knows this oeuvre inside out from years of playing and teaching it, and a scholar who has absorbed all of the literature on and autour de Fauré. What Johnson uniquely does is to ground all that Fauré-ness in a detailed, practical, feet-on-the-ground examination of the songs, contextualized and explained in exquisite detail. To cap it all off, I gulped down this book as if it were a particularly entrancing novel because it is written to the hilt. What I find most compelling is the very serious intensity of Johnson’s mission: to inform music-lovers about everything – the historical context, the poets, the events of Fauré’s life, his composer’s opinions on a wide variety of matters, his unique tonal language – pertaining to these very great, and little-understood, songs. This book is crammed to the gills with information, all of it valuable. All lovers of French music will wonder what they ever did before this book became available.
–Susan Youens, J.W. Van Gorkom Professor of Music, University of Notre Dame, USA