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Vieille chanson

composer
? 1865
author of text

 
This song is among the more conservative delights of the first recueil. Its suggestions of the charms and gallantries of the ancien régime are beautifully etched; one is reminded that the composer’s grandfather would have lived in the reign of Louis XVI. Bizet has found an old-fashioned style to fit the poet’s epoch, a gift shared by Schubert when setting eighteenth-century verse. It is the most significant song to be written before the outburst of song-writing that was to occur in 1866, and it shows the composer’s legendary skills as a pasticheur at parties, improvising at the piano. It also shows his feeling for the voice and an unforced vocal line, and his ever-so-slightly amused affection for the courtly cadences of a past century. The musical depiction of the ‘fauvette’ (‘song-bird’) as a coloratura diva-influenced singer with a line in gently tripping semiquavers is a charming touch from Bizet’s own epoch. The poem is sexually suggestive in a gentle manner (without resorting to open ribaldry), and the music is faintly reminiscent of Mozart’s Dans un bois solitaire.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1998

Cette mélodie compte parmi les ravissements les plus conventionnels du premier Recueil. Ses suggestions des charmes et des galanteries de l’Ancien régime sont magnifiquement gravées; l’on se souvient que le grand-père du compositeur avait vécu sous le règne de Louis XVI. Bizet a trouvé un style convenant à l’époque du poète, un don qu’il partage avec Schubert mettant en musique des vers du XVIIIe siècle. Cette mélodie, la plus importante avant l’explosion de ce style de compositions, en 1866, témoigne des légendaires talents de pasticheur du compositeur improvisant au piano, lors de soirées. Elle illustre également son goût pour la voix et une ligne vocale non forcée, ainsi que son affection un rien amusée pour les cadences courtoises d’une époque révolue. Le portrait musical de la fauvette sous les traits d’une chanteuse coloratura, avec une ligne en doubles croches doucement sautillantes, est une touche ravissante de l’époque même de Bizet. Le poème est paisiblement évocateur (sans recours à la moindre grivoiserie ouverte), et la mélodie rappelle un peu Dans un bois solitaire de Mozart.

extrait des notes rédigées par Graham Johnson © 1998
Français: Hypérion

Recordings

Bizet: Songs
CDA66976Archive Service

Details

Track 2 on CDA66976 [3'42] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66976 track 2

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-97602
Duration
3'42
Recording date
7 May 1997
Recording venue
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Bizet: Songs (CDA66976)
    Disc 1 Track 2
    Release date: February 1998
    Deletion date: January 2013
    Archive Service
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