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The markings seldom rise above pianissimo and the piece dies away in ppp. The melody is somewhat like a schoolyard jingle or nursery-rhyme, simple music for bird-brains and absolutely enchanting nevertheless. What surrounds the melody is more sophisticated: subtly harmonised chords in the twittering right-hand music and a doubling of the vocal melody in the left hand, a dangerous device which Chabrier, like Ravel after him, is able to use to the most eloquent effect. Here such doublings suggest suspense and intrigue. As with all the songs from this period the composer has a penchant for high held notes which are turned into pedal points underneath which the piano writing moves in unexpected directions. Add to this concoction such Chabrierian trademarks as rumbling tremolos deep in the bass (still pianissimo), staccato left-hand chords like pizzicato strings, sudden elongations of phrases (the insertion of bars in 4/16), and we have a song which could have been written by no one else.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2002
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