If Silvestre was not a poet of the very first rank, most composers of the time found themselves in sympathy with his irrepressible enthusiasm for women and his ability to cloak erotic thoughts in an acceptably high-flown way (cf Chabrier’s Credo d’amour). The setting of this poem seems to coincide with the composer’s own loneliness and his frustration at being unable to find a suitable mate (the situation was resolved with Chausson’s marriage in 1883). It is highly unusual for this composer to double the vocal line with the accompaniment in this way (‘comme deux personages fondus en un seul’ as Isabelle Bretaudeau puts it), and there is nothing elsewhere in the songs quite like the sumptuous descent in to the abyss of the final cadence at ‘ta première larme!’. This is attractive music, with the prosody of the poem well reflected by the vocal line’s stopping and starting. In short, a perfect salon song which nevertheless bears genuine trademarks of the Chausson style.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2001