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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66248
Recording details: March 1987
St Paul's Church, New Southgate, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1988
Total duration: 3 minutes 19 seconds

Douce mer
First line:
Murmure autour de ma nacelle
composer
1866
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançais
The first word of this enchanting barcarolle (in 6/8 of course) is ‘Murmure’ and the gently rocking accompaniment is as good as the poet’s word – the semiquaver water music lapping and undulating in an aquatic equivalent of a lover’s murmured endearments. The song was originally conceived for the young tenor Victor Capoul (a recording exists of him singing the Berceuse from Godard’s Jocelyn). Capoul was part of the original cast of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette which was prepared under Bizet’s supervision, and from this song we must assume that he had an exquisite command of both mezza voce and coloratura. The composer reduces Lamartine’s poem from eighteen to three verses without much scruple, and it must be admitted we do not notice the butchery, so charming is the music and so hypnotic is the use of a tonic pedal device (there is a shift to the dominant, another long pedal point, only on the song’s third page). The composer’s mastery of long-spanned harmonic structures such as these is a sure sign of a musical brain used to planning dramatic tension over an entire operatic act. We can detect the influence of Gounod, and Berlioz too (Sur les lagunes), but the water glows luminously under Bizet’s own inimitable stage lighting.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1998


Other albums featuring this work
'Bizet: Songs' (CDA66976)
Bizet: Songs

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