Le plus beau présent
dates from 1917. It has the same air of masochistic melancholy that we find in the Verlaine Offrande
updated by thirty years of amatory experience and disappointment. The poem by Maurice Magre is magazine verse, but Reynaldo seems to empathise with this story of the man who has everything from his amourette except an acknowledgement of love. The adjectival endings show us that the object of the poet’s adoration is a girl with plenty of money, but it is not hard to imagine Reynaldo longing for a sign of emotional depth or commitment from a spoiled and rich young man of his acquaintance. The accompaniment is an incessant quaver movement shared between the hands which is reminiscent Infidélité
. This and the limited range of the vocal line emphasise both the obsessional nature of the attachment and its secrecy. There is something decadent about this music, as if the relationship is somehow unhealthy and doomed. The postlude ends in a distant key as if what is to happen in the future remains an unanswered question.
from notes by Maurice Magre ©