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Ma vie a son secret

composer
1868
author of text
1833; Sonnet imité de l'Italien

 
Arvers’ poem (published in 1833 and titled Sonnet imité de l’Italien) was quite famous in its day. Not famous enough, however, for Bizet to respect the poet’s first line which is ‘Mon âme a son secret, ma vie a son mystère’. Bizet was obviously a gifted transposer. We find ourselves wondering what the secret behind the composer’s life was – almost certainly a series of infidelities which kept him as far as possible from his wife. The song has a beautifully serene melody with a generously eloquent span, and we are reminded that this composer could unfold a long-breathed tune like few others when he was in the mood. Perhaps only Gounod can match him in this regard, and there is more than a small element of affectionate parody here as Bizet bows to the older composer’s style with a Gou-nod and a wink. The extended piano interludes with their searchingly beautiful modulations (they too have a seraphic quality worthy of Gounod) are prophetic of Don José’s flower song in Carmen.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1998

Le poème d’Arvers (publié en 1833 sous le titre Sonnet imité de l’Italien) fut extrêmement célèbre en son temps – Saint-Saëns dit à son propos: «un souffle de Pétrarque y a passé». Pas assez, cependant, pour que Bizet respecte le premier vers du poète, savoir «Mon âme a son secret, ma vie a son mystère». Cette chanson recèle une mélodie magnifiquement sereine, d’une envergure généreusement éloquente, et nous nous rappelons que ce compositeur pouvait, lorsqu’il le désirait, éployer une longue mélodie comme peu de ses confrères. Seul Gounod parvient peut-être à l’égaler sur ce point, et il règne ici plus qu’un peu de parodie tendre, qui voit Bizet s’incliner devant le style de son aîné. Les interludes pianistiques prolongés annoncent, avec leurs modulations d’une magnificence rigoureuse (qui présentent, elles aussi, un séraphisme digne de Gounod), la chanson de la fleur de Don José, dans Carmen.

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

Recordings

Bizet: Songs
CDA66976Archive Service

Details

Track 13 on CDA66976 [3'43] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66976 track 13

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-97613
Duration
3'43
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 13
    Release date: February 1998
    Deletion date: January 2013
    Archive Service
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