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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66976
Recording details: May 1997
Unknown, Unknown
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: February 1998
Total duration: 4 minutes 37 seconds

'A most attractive addition to the song library, finely recorded and invaluably well documented' (Gramophone)

'I could rhapsodize about every one of these songs; they all enchant. Immensely enjoyable—a CD that will make repeated visits to my player' (Fanfare, USA)

'Merci, madame Murray, d'avoir interprété ces purs joyaux avec un rare talent de comédienne, déclamant la douleur, éveillant les sortilèges, chuchotant les secrets' (Telerama)

'Une joya' (CD Compact, Spain)

author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançais
Perhaps the composition of this song has something to do with the death of Gautier and was composed in honour of the poet’s memory. It is one of two Bizet settings of the poet’s works dating from 1872 (the other is the duet La fuite, also set by Duparc in 1871). It is, of course, Berlioz’s song from Les nuits d’été which is the most famous setting of this lyric, and the comparison shows that Bizet felt the poem entirely differently. Bizet’s fluid and voluble setting uses six of Gautier’s eight verses, whereas Berlioz recasts the first verse of the poem as a recurring refrain and uses only two further strophes. Berlioz’s music is statuesque and elegiac; Bizet’s is passionately heartbroken with the opening melody in the piano suggestive of the cello section of a large orchestra, and a vocal line borne along by the slightly anonymous throbbing triplets typical of opera reductions. The flexibility and beauty of the tune (‘sempre senza rigore’) prophesies the seemingly effortless melodic invention of Carmen which was to appear only three years later.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1998

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