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Track(s) taken from CDA66320

Les berceaux, Op 23 No 1

composer
1879, Op 23 No 1, ‘À Mademoiselle Alice Boissenet’, Hamelle: Second Collection p27, B flat minor (original key) 12/8 Andante
author of text
author of text

Dame Janet Baker (mezzo-soprano), Geoffrey Parsons (piano)
Recording details: August 1988
Seldon Hall, Haberdashers' Aske's School, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: November 1989
Total duration: 2 minutes 27 seconds
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Christopher Maltman (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano)

Reviews

'This varied and generous selection of 28 songs is perhaps the best general introduction to this important side of Fauré's output and is also one of Geoffrey Parsons's finest recordings: voice and piano seem always to be at one. A magical disc' (BBC Music Magazine Top 1000 CDs Guide)

'Deeply considered and deeply moving performances' (BBC Record Review)

'A performance to treasure' (Opera Now)
This song was composed four years after Au bord de l’eau to a text by the same poet. This appears in Sully-Prudhomme’s Stances et poèmes (1865) where it has the title Le long du quai les grands vaisseaux. The theme of the poem is ‘Men must work, and women must weep’, a play of words and thoughts between the vessels (‘vaisseaux’) in which sailors go off to sea, and the smaller yet similarly shaped cradles (‘berceaux’) in which mothers nurse the children who may never know their fathers. Fauré has written a combination of a berceuse and a barcarolle in the key of B flat minor, one of his very special tonalities. At first the song seems suitably intimate for the rocking of cradles (the accompaniment in triplets undulating between the hands is a masterful invention); in the climactic central section (‘Tentent les horizons qui leurrent’) the music takes on a heightened dramatic tone rare in this composer’s mélodies – we suddenly hear the heartbreak of the women left behind, as well as their anger at the sea, the sailors’ perpetual mistress. This explosion of feeling subsides as suddenly as it has occurred. The vocal range of the song encompasses an amazing 13th, from low A flat to high F. It is a measure of Fauré’s control of his means at the time (his so-called second period) that he avoids any sense of helter-skelter contrast between the women at home and the men on the ocean wave. Everything is skilfully managed with poise, including a remarkably concise, and superbly effective, transition into the poem’s third strophe. The moto perpetuo which is this haunting mélodie seems an unconscious echo of Whitman’s contemporary words: ‘Out of the cradle endlessly rocking … the musical shuttle … A reminiscence sing.’

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005

Cette mélodie fut composée quatre ans après Au bord de l’eau, sur un autre texte de Sully-Prudhomme qui figure dans les Stances et Poèmes (1865) sous le titre Le long du quai les grands vaisseaux. Le thème du poème – «aux hommes le labeur, aux femmes les pleurs» – est un jeu de mots et de considérations entre les «vaisseaux», dans lesquels les marins partent en mer, et les «berceaux», plus petits mais de forme identique, dans lesquels les mères bercent des enfants qui ne connaîtront peut-être jamais leur père. Fauré a écrit un mélange de berceuse et de barcarolle en si bémol mineur, l’une de ses tonalités les plus chères. D’abord, la mélodie semble intime, comme il sied au bercement (l’accompagnement en triolets, ondoyant d’une main à l’autre, est une invention magistrale); puis, dans la section centrale culminante («Tentent les horizons qui leurrent»), la musique prend un tour dramatique exacerbé, rare dans les mélodies fauréennes – nous entendons soudain le déchirement des femmes qu’on laisse, mais aussi leur colère envers la mer, perpétuelle maîtresse des marins. Cette explosion de sentiments cesse cependant aussi vite qu’elle avait commencé. L’ambitus vocal de la mélodie embrasse une étonnante treizième, de la bémol grave à fa aigu. Nous pouvons mesurer combien le Fauré deuxième manière maîtrisait ses moyens à la façon dont il évite toute sensation de contraste désordonné entre les femmes à la maison et les hommes sur les flots. Tout est habilement mené avec équilibre, notamment la transition, remarquable de concision et superbe d’efficacité, qui conduit à la troisième strophe du poème. Le moto perpetuo qu’est cette lancinante mélodie semble faire inconsciemment écho aux mots, contemporains, de Whitman: «Du berceau balançant sans fin … la navette musicale … Chante une réminiscence.»

extrait des notes rédigées par Graham Johnson © 2005
Français: Hypérion

Other albums featuring this work

Fauré: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1 – Au bord de l'eau
CDA67333
The Sea
CDA66165Archive Service
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