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La chanson de la rose

composer
author of text

 
The famous librettist Barbier was one of the dignitaries who gave a speech at Bizet’s funeral, so it is hardly surprising that he, like Mendès, was brought into the 1886 project of providing new words for the songs (really opera fragments) of the second recueil. (Barbier had certainly performed a similar task for Gounod when he provided French words for quite a number of songs that the composer had written in English. It had suited Gounod to sever all connections with his English publishers in the 1870s, so many a lyric by Shelley or Longfellow is credited as being by Barbier in that composer’s mélodies.) On the other hand, Barbier was also old enough to have been the co-librettist of Bizet’s early opera La guzla de l’émir (1862), and it seems possible that La chanson de la rose was part of that work and allowed to keep its original words. It is an elegant little song, deft and almost neo-Classical in the economy of its part-writing; if its sophistication and lightness of touch would seem to suggest a later date than 1862, we have to remind ourselves that this composer was extremely precocious, and the exquisite Symphony in C was written as early as 1855. The piano writing suggests an orchestration of flutes, oboes and clarinets backed up by gentle strings. All this falls gratefully beneath the pianist’s fingers however, rather too deftly and authentically to suggest someone else’s arrangement of an orchestral score. Of the songs in the second recueil, this seems the happiest addition to the mélodie repertoire.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1998

Le célèbre librettiste Barbier fut l’un des dignitaires qui prononcèrent une allocution lors des funérailles de Bizet. Il avait été le co-librettiste de son opéra La guzla de l’émir (1862), dont la présente chanson est peut-être issue. Cette élégante petite pièce, qui parut dans le Deuxième recueil avec ses paroles d’origine, est adroite, presque néo-classique dans l’économie de sa conduite des parties; si sa sophistication et sa légèreté de touche semblent suggérer une date postérieure à 1862, nous devons nous rappeler que Bizet fut très précoce – l’exquise Symphonie en ut fut écrite dès 1855. L’écriture pianistique évoque une orchestration de flûtes, de hautbois et de clarinettes, soutenus par des cordes douces. Cependant, tout ceci tombe avec reconnaissance sous les doigts du pianiste, presque trop habilement et trop authentiquement pour suggérer l’arrangement d’une partition orchestrale par quelqu’un d’autre. De toutes les chansons du Deuxième recueil, celle-ci semble constituer l’ajout le plus heureux au répertoire des mélodies.

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

Recordings

Bizet: Songs
CDA66976Archive Service

Details

Track 16 on CDA66976 [3'06] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66976 track 16

Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-97-97616
Duration
3'06
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 16
    Release date: February 1998
    Deletion date: January 2013
    Archive Service
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