This music describing a pigeon could not be more different to the ecstatic tremblings for quail and lark in La bonne chanson. This billing and cooing is much more low-key (the dropping fifth and the mezzo staccato quavers of the accompaniment are surprisingly evocative of this sound) but adorable nevertheless (cf Theodore Chanler’s song The Doves which owes much to Fauré). This is one of Fauré’s least appreciated, least sung, little gems. Like Le don silencieux, this is music that is the gateway into Fauré’s late style. As Jankélévitch puts it, ‘Fauré is on the threshold of a long and admirable old age’. Every note and every progression has been carefully planned yet seems casual and relaxed. Fauré might have been tempted to write a song in popular style for the Gramophone Company; instead he writes a song that is far from popular, but near perfection, right up to the ravishing final cadence. The music has the rueful charm of a man nearing sixty who realizes that his days as a Lothario are numbered. If he can no longer promise his lady friends the passion of La bonne chanson, he can at least offer civilized companionship, and this compliment galant.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2005