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Trois Chansons

author of text

Ravel’s musical response to the horror of World War I (in which he participated as a transport corps driver) was characteristic: rather than wave flags in any obvious manner, in two wartime pieces he asserted the values of French culture as it had been in an earlier and more civilized era. Le tombeau de Couperin, completed in 1917 in its piano version, took the form of a Baroque dance suite, and the Trois Chansons (1914–15) paid homage to the Renaissance chanson, a form characterized by its pastoral atmosphere and simple tunefulness. The texts are Ravel’s own and just as typical of his personality as the music he wrote for them, Nicolette with its wry humour, Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis with its tender fairy-tale symbolism (the three colours of the birds being those of the French flag), and Ronde, a virtuosic display of tongue-twisting verbal dexterity worthy of Stephen Sondheim (whose Into the Woods inhabits a similar imaginative world to the Trois Chansons). The inventiveness and skill of Ravel’s handling of the a cappella medium makes it all the more regrettable that the Trois Chansons is his only work for unaccompanied choir.

from notes by Collegium Records © 2002


Cambridge Singers A Cappella
CSCD509Download only


No 1: Nicolette
Track 12 on CSCD509 [1'32] Download only
No 2: Trois beaux oiseaux du Paradis
Track 13 on CSCD509 [2'21] Download only
No 3: Ronde  N'allez pas au bois d'Ormonde
Track 14 on CSCD509 [1'40] Download only

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