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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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The poem for Envoi de fleurs is by Émile Augier who was a celebrated playwright and the librettist of Gounod’s first opera Sapho. The piano introduction is to be played somewhat faster than the vocal refrain and this gives an impression of an old-fashioned chanson with interludes rather than an organic mélodie. There is a hint of the calculatedly charming naughty-cum-innocent little girl in this song—the elongations of words and the pauses in the middle of phrases (the prosody is cleverly worked out) suggest the pout of a temptress. In any case the song would not be out of place on the operetta stage. It is dedicated to ‘mon ami et confrère Ambroise Thomas’.
Si l’on veut savoir qui m’envoie
Ces belles fleurs,
Elles me viennent d’où la joie
Et les douleurs;
Elles me viennent d’où ma vie
De celle-là pour qui j’oublie
Ceux que j’aimais!
Si l’on cherche pourquoi je l’aime
À cet excès
Hélas! je n’en sais rien moi-même.
Ce que je sais,
C’est que dans ses yeux on voit luire
Tout son esprit
Et qu’au coin de son fin sourire
Mon cœur se prit!
Comme un oiseau qui s’effarouche,
Et fuit dans l’air,
Plus je le cherche sur sa bouche
Plus il se perd.
C’est pourquoi celle qui m’envoie
Ces belles fleurs
Est celle d’où me vient la joie
Et les douleurs!
Émile Augier (1820-1889)
If you wish to know who is sending me
These beautiful flowers,
They come to me from whence come joy
They come to me from whence
Hangs my life,
From her for whom I forget
All that I loved!
If you should seek to know why I love her
To such excess,
Alas! I do not know myself.
All I know is
That in her eyes can be seen
Her whole spirit shining,
And that on the corner of her subtle smile
My heart is caught!
Like a bird that is startled
And flies up into the air,
The more I search for her smile
The more it hides.
That is why she who sends me
These beautiful flowers
Is she from whom comes joy