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Chanson d'avril

composer
1866
author of text

 
The first recueil is full of interesting music, although certain mélodies stand out effortlessly. The delightfully fresh Chanson d’avril opens the collection with its wonderful melody, and it is not hard to see why Bizet chose to place the song at the head of the collection; it seems a suitable motto for the lightness of his touch and the subtlety of his art. It looks back to Gounod’s ecstatic springtime evocation Chanson de printemps, but it points to the future as well. How Fauré must have loved this music, open-hearted yet delicate; his own Nell was born of this lineage only twelve years later. The piano rustles with just the right amount of semiquaver frisson to suggest the stirrings of spring, and the voice rides these gentle undulations with excursions up and down the stave which are deliciously meandering, seemingly spontaneous, but cleverly planned. We seem to be following the will-o’-the-wisp of springtime fancy, but the composer is always in control. This piano writing could only have been conceived by someone deeply acquainted with the instrument. It charms the ear right up to the delicious postlude which evaporates into thin air as it floats up to the top of the stave. If the song has been equalled in charm by other mélodie composers in springtime mood, it has very seldom been bettered.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1998

La délicieusement fraîche Chanson d’avril inaugure, avec sa merveilleuse mélodie, le Premier recueil de mélodies, et il n’est pas difficile de deviner pourquoi Bizet choisit de la placer en tête du recueil: elle constitue un motif conducteur en parfaite adéquation avec la légèreté de touche et la subtilité de l’art du compositeur. Elle regarde vers l’extatique évocation printanière de la Chanson de printemps de Gounod, tout en se tournant vers le futur. Comme Fauré dut aimer cette musique, franche et pourtant délicate, lui dont le Nell surgit de cette lignée seulement douze ans plus tard. Le piano bruit avec juste ce qu’il faut de frisson de doubles croches pour suggérer les frémissements du printemps, tandis que la voix chevauche ces douces ondulations avec des excursions qui montent et descendent la portée, délectablement serpentantes, apparemment spontanées mais intelligemment prévues. Si d’autres compositeurs de mélodies printanières égalèrent le charme de cette chanson, fort peu le surpassèrent.

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

Recordings

Bizet: Songs
CDA66976Archive Service

Details

Track 4 on CDA66976 [2'51] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66976 track 4

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-97604
Duration
2'51
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 4
    Release date: February 1998
    Deletion date: January 2013
    Archive Service
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