Alongside Les filles de Cadix
, this is Delibes’s most famous song where a musical portrait of the flirtatious Suzon is incorporated into her suitor’s serenade. For this reason it has often crossed the gender barrier—one of its most famous advocates was the Italian soprano Claudia Muzio. The music is written in the castanet-accompanied manner of the south, a prophecy of music to be found in Bizet’s Carmen
. Musset’s poem was published in his Oeuvres posthumes
(1860) and the composer provided the music a year later. The pendant poem, Adieux à Suzon
(she was probably a real girlfriend of the poet in the middle 1840s when Musset visited friends in the Vosges) was set by Georges Bizet in his cycle Feuilles d’album
(1866). This is an indication of the friendship between Delibes and Bizet and their mutual admiration.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes