Like Duparc, Godard sets only the first and last of Baudelaire’s strophes. Although this music lacks the visionary nature of Duparc (someone who was not afraid to admit his debt to Wagner while preserving the utterly French character of his own mélodies), it shows Godard at his most suave and charming. This is music for a voyage of intoxicated romance—it gently gyrates forward in triple measure, and at the end of the song it is as if we see (and hear) the two lovers disappear over the horizon. In this swaying rhythm one feels that Godard has aimed at creating a rather exotic, even louche, musical atmosphere to go with the seductive text. Neither as sublime as Duparc, nor as risqué as Chabrier, we hear in this music both the high points as well as the limits of Godard’s musical spectrum.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes