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Track(s) taken from CDA66248

La Cigale et la Fourmi

First line:
La Cigale ayant chanté, tout l'été
author of text
Fables (Book 1 No 1)

Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: March 1987
St Paul's Church, New Southgate, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1988
Total duration: 1 minutes 57 seconds

Other recordings available for download

François Le Roux (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)


'This generously-filled disc will afford many, many quarts d'heure of pleasure' (Gramophone)
It is not known when exactly this was composed, but as the listener to this disc may have already noticed, the dates of these songs are not of prime importance in understanding them. For all we know, it may come from the very beginning of the composer’s career, it may date from the 1860s, or it may just as easily be contemporary with Suzette et Suzon from the 1880s. The important thing is that it is a perfect little setting of La Fontaine, and it entirely fits the pithy and acerbic nature of the words. The schadenfreude which was so much part of Saint-Saëns’ personality is here given glorious reign with the malicious tone of the dressing-down by the ant coming straight from the composer’s heart. There are numerous felicitous details: the scurrying motif for the busy, industrious ant (Saint-Saëns himself, always prudent and hard-working); the pathetic little appoggiatura on the word ‘famine’; the little self-indulgent cantilena for the cicada, and the triumphant quotation of ‘J'ai du bon tabac’ in the accompaniment at the end.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 1997

Other albums featuring this work

Saint-Saëns: Songs
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