The arrow and the song
seems to have been composed in 1885 and specifically for the English market; there was no French version published, which is surprising considering the very French musical fluidity of the setting. This type of semiquaver accompaniment, gently restless, is reminiscent of Fauré songs like Nell
or Notre amour
. The music flows from start to finish—the strophic song is dead, long live the through-composed! In his relatively unproductive late sixties Gounod had to acknowledge that the mantle of the mélodie had passed to Fauré’s shoulders, but the old dog can still imitate new tricks better than anyone else.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 1993