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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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La pâquerette is actually labelled a chanson, a simple daisy of a song, without any attempt at passing it off as mélodie. Like Augier, the poet Alexandre Dumas fils is a man of the theatre rather than a poet, but his lines are effective enough to summon a trifle of great charm from the composer. Although it may seem that Gounod was losing his vocation as a serious song composer because of his success in the theatre, it must be admitted that we have here a waltz song by one of the kings of the waltz; the music is of an elegance and an art concealing art which is reminiscent of Tchaikovsky in the same vein. Thoughts of the Russian master are evoked by a particularly wonderful set of sequences here, each of which seems to flower inevitably from the preceding garland of notes. The culminative sum of these fragments of tune, each a bar long, seems to be a flawlessly inevitable vocal line. As always one has to say ‘Clever old Gounod’.
Pâquerette gentille, Sur qui brille Un matin seulement, La goutte de rosée, Déposée Par Phoebus, ton amant! Ma belle pâquerette Si coquette, Penchant sur le sillon Ta charmante corolle D’où s’envole Quelque blanc papillon!
Sais-tu, pauvre petite Marguerite, Quel sort te fait le ciel? Avant que ta corbeille À l’abeille Ait donné tout son miel! Avant que tu fanes, Des profanes, Par ici passeront, Foulant d’un pas alerte L’herbe verte Où se cache ton front!
Ou tu verras, peut-être, Apparaître, Là-bas près du buisson Quelque vieille glaneuse, Moissonneuse Récoltant sa moisson! Il faut que toute chose, Fille ou rose. Soit brisée à son tour, À l’une c’est la feuille Que l’on cueille, À l’autre c’est l’amour!
Alexandre Dumas (1824-1895)
Sweet daisy, On whom for a morning only There gleams The bead of dew, Dropped by Phoebus, Your lover! My beautiful daisy, So coquettish, On the fields you incline Your charming corolla, From which some white butterfly Takes wing.
Do you know, poor little Daisy, The fate that heaven has in store for you? Before your crown Has given to the bee All its honey: Before you fade, Philistines Will pass by here, And swiftly trample The green grass Where your brow is hidden.
Or you will see, perhaps, Appear, Near yonder bush, Some old gleaner woman, Some old reaper woman, Gathering in the harvest! All things— Be they girl or rose— Must meet their end. One loses the leaf That is picked, The other loses love.