This song has the subtitle Ronde provençale
and was composed in 1873. The writer Jean Aicard (1848–1921) was a friend of the composer and he introduced Provençal themes into Parisian literary life, above all with his later invention of the fantastic figure of Maurin des Maures, a kind of Robin Hood of the French south. La chansons des blondes
appears in Aicard’s Poèmes de Provence
(1874), a book adorned with an illustration of a cicada and the rubric Tout l’été
. The song’s title is deceptive—this is no hymn to Aryan femininity. Provence is famous for its olive-skinned women, but this song celebrates other aspects of provencal life—wine, oil, the perpetually chirping cicada and the sea glinting in the sunlight. Much later, in 1907, Paladilhe wrote a song cycle, La chanson de l’enfant
, to Aicard’s words.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2006
English: Richard Stokes