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20th Century French Art Songs Hal Leonard Online - French Art Songs 20th CENTURY FRENCH ART SONGS Mélodies française du XXe siècle Edited by Carol Kimball Published by Éditions Durand DF 16250/HL 50565798 High Voice edition DF 16251/HL 50565799 Medium/Low Voice edition Distributed in Europe and Asia by Hal Leonard MGB Distributed in North and South America by Hal Leonard Distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Hal Leonard Australia Download & Print Introductory Notes Complete Online Introductory Notes, Unabridged copyright © 2015 Editions Durand An abridged version of editor Carol Kimball’s “Introduction” appears in the High Voice and Medium/Low Voice publications. Her complete length “Introduction” appears below. See the publications for the poetry texts in French and translations in English. GEORGES AURIC CLAUDE DEBUSSY HENRI DUTILLEUX GABRIEL FAURÉ REYNALDO HAHN ARTHUR HONEGGER JACQUES LEGUERNEY OLIVIER MESSIAEN DARIUS MILHAUD FRANCIS POULENC MAURICE RAVEL ALBERT ROUSSEL ERIK SATIE DÉODAT DE SÉVERAC GEORGES AURIC (1899-1983) George Auric was something of a child prodigy, performing a piano recital at the Musicale Indépendante at the age of fourteen. The following year, the Société Nationale de Musique performed several songs he had composed. He studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Georges Caussade, and later with Vincent d’Indy and Albert Roussel at the Schola Cantorum de Paris. Before he was twenty, Auric had orchestrated and written incidental music for several stage productions and ballets. He composed a significant amount of avant-garde music during the years between 1910-20. Around 1914, he widened his acquaintances to include members of Les Six, a group of composers informally associated with Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau, and became a part of their group. Auric and Francis Poulenc became fast friends and remained so for life. Music criticism was an important part of Auric’s career; his writing focused on promoting the ideals of Les Six and Cocteau. He was also especially known for his film scores, which are consistently imaginative. He forged a major career in the English movies of the 1940s and ’50s. Among his most well-known scores is the music for the film Moulin Rouge. Other popular film titles with scores by Auric include The Lavender Hill Mob, Roman Holiday, Beauty and the Beast, and Bonjour Tristesse. In 1962 he became the director of the Opéra National de Paris and later, chairman of SACEM, the French Performing Rights Society. Auric continued to write classical chamber music until his death. Le Jeune sanguine (1940) from Trois Poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin poem by Louise de Vilmorin (1902-1969) This mélodie is the second song in Auric’s cycle titled Trois poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin. Vilmorin’s poetry reverberates with sensitivity to affairs of the heart. She was one of Poulenc’s preferred poets; he set her poetry when writing specifically for the female voice, such as in Fiançailles pour rire. A sort of veiled humor is at the heart of this text that describes a young hussy whose lover departs early with the dawn’s first light, leaving her weeping disconsolately. Auric provides a prelude and postlude for formal balance as the miserable young woman mourns her loss. He also inserts several unexpected and amusing measures of a tango as the young man arches his back and leaves the sound of her sobbing. For his three Vilmorin songs, Auric used the style of a chansonette, or more popular song. Printemps (1935) Poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) Auric composed this lilting waltz song for a play by Edouard Bourdet titled La Reine Margot (1935). The celebrated musical theatre actress-singer Yvonne Printemps created the role of Queen Margot of Navarre at Théâtre de la Michodière. Auric and Francis Poulenc collaborated on the incidental music for this play; Poulenc took the second act, Auric the first. Poulenc composed the Suite française and the song “A sa guitare”; Auric’s contribution was “Printemps.” Yvonne Printemps sang both songs in the play. Both composers used texts by Pierre de Ronsard, and the musical style of each is reminiscent of the Renaissance. Ronsard’s original poem had twenty-three stanzas. Auric set only the first three. BACK TO TOP CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Claude Debussy wrote expertly for the voice and was acutely responsive to transforming poetic nuance into musical expression. Possibly no other French composer was as attuned to blending poetry and music. His literary taste was highly refined and he maintained a visible and active role in the literary and artistic circles of his time. He chose to set poetry of his contemporaries, notably Verlaine and Mallarmé. Verlaine’s verse with its inherent musical qualities, provided Debussy with poetry for numerous works. For Debussy, poetry as poetry was the paramount determinant of the musical texture. His ability to detect the essence of a poem and perfectly transform it into musical expression makes his mélodies unique in the history of French song. Le promenoir des deux amants (1904, 1910) poems by Tristan l’Hermite (c. 1601-1656) “Auprès de cette grotte sombre,” the first song, made its first appearance with the title “La Grotte,” song two of Trois chansons de France of 1904. In 1910, it was retitled and combined with two other poems by Tristan l’Hermite (“Crois mon conseil, chère Climène” and “Je tremble en voyant ton visage”) to form the miniature cycle Le Promenoir de deux amants, which has been called the finest of all Debussy’s works for voice and piano. It is also the least-often performed. Debussy chose the texts from Les Amours de Tristan, a collection by the seventeenth-century poet Tristan l’Hermite. The poems are set close to a grotto, secluded and silent. The transparent, barely stirring waters mingle with the silence of the cloistered spot, creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Debussy establishes an intimate, tender mood immediately and maintains this fragile mix of sound and color throughout the three mélodies. The interplay of resonance and texture in voice and piano results in an exquisite blend of light and shade, perfectly complementing l’Hermite’s poetic images. Subtly inflected vocal phrases are key to recreating the infinite calm and Pelléas-like atmosphere of the poetry, a perfect fusion of stillness and sensuality. Fêtes galantes II (1904) poems by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) Debussy’s fascination with the work of the French Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine resulted in his setting to music no fewer than seventeen of Verlaine’s texts. He composed two sets of three songs each, both titled Fêtes galantes, the first in 1892, and the second in 1904. Fêtes galantes II, Debussy’s last setting of Verlaine, closely following the composition of his opera Pélleas et Mélisande, is representative of the composer’s mature vocal works. It is marked by sparser textures, freer tonalities and a more concentrated compositional style than the first set; but like the first set, Fêtes galantes II presents three unrelated songs. None of the Watteau-like scenes are found here; rather, these three poems are filled with mystery, and are without sentimentality. The theme of time appears in each of the poems: the first, sentimental youthful remembrances; the second, inexorable fleeting time; and finally in the last song, time never to be reclaimed. “Les Ingénus” recalls the first awakenings of sexual attraction, and deals with the breathless awe with which a group of unsophisticated young men of the mid-nineteenth century view their similarly naïve female companions. The scene unfolds in a highly chromatic texture, skillfully balanced to preserve the delicate, poignant images in Verlaine’s verse. Debussy’s free-floating harmonies are carefully contrived to complement the uncertain emotions and repressed sensations of the youths in the poem. “Le Faune” begins with a prelude; time unravels in an inflexible dance featuring a rhythmic, hypnotic figure in the piano, imaging the traditional reed pipe and “tambourin,” a small drum played with a stick. The old terra-cotta statue in Verlaine’s poem is probably the woodland god Pan, playing a monotonous rhythm that is both sensual and slightly menacing, matching the mood of the two mélancolique pélerins. Mesmerized by the repetitive rhythms of drum and reed flute, the dejected travelers are caught in the whirlpool of passing time, which spins past as they watch helplessly. “Colloque sentimental.” Colloquial (colloque) refers to ordinary speech or conversation. This disturbing poem is the touchstone of one of Debussy’s great mélodies. It is the last poem in Verlaine’s collection titled Fêtes galantes, and provides a chilling climax. It blends themes of despair, death and disillusion. In this extraordinary song, the ghosts of two lovers meet in a wintry park. As they speak of their former love, their words match the setting: glacial and detached from feeling. Throughout the song their wintry words are enhanced by Debussy’s simple and subtle vocal treatment: one voice urgent and persistent, the other stonily indifferent. Debussy’s manipulation of musical texture between voice and piano is masterful. The sparse vocal lines are almost speech-like, and the piano figures mirror the frozen landscape in which this conversation–equally cold–takes place. The song’s kinship to Debussy’s opera Pélleas et Mélisande is unmistakable. The listener becomes one with the poem’s narrator, straining to see and hear the couple’s conversation in the icy cold of the deserted, frozen park. Debussy reaches back to “En sourdine” (the first mélodie of Fêtes galantes I), takes the wistful song of the nightingale, and inserts it into this song at various points. The nightingale’s melody (“voix de nôtre dessespoir, le rossignol chantera”) provides a touching and melancholy association, linking the two sets of Fêtes galantes together symbolically and musically, foreshadowing the disenchantment of love hinted at in “En sourdine” with the lovers’ conversation in “Colloque sentimental,” and unifying the two sets by a subtle musical component. This panel of three mélodies was Debussy’s last setting of the poetry of Paul Verlaine. Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maisons (1915) poem by the composer This is Debussy’s last song, written to his own text, a Christmas carol for children made homeless by World War I. Its intensity comes from its simple sincerity. Debussy composed it on the eve of his first operation for the cancer that would end his life two years later. It was his personal protest against the invasion of northern France by the German armies. When asked for permission to orchestrate the song, Debussy refused, saying, “I want this piece to be sung with the most discreet accompaniment. Not a word of the text must be lost, inspired as it is by the rapacity of our enemies. It is the only way I have to fight the war.” Originally composed in 1915 for piano and voice, Debussy also created a version for children’s chorus, and in 1916, a version for piano and two sopranos. BACK TO TOP HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Henri Dutilleux studied at the Paris Conservatory with Maurice Emmanuel. He received the Prix de Rome in 1938 at age twenty-two, and went on to work at the Paris Opéra and the French Radio. France’s musical institutions defined his career: in 1961, he joined the faculty at the école Normale de Musique, teaching composition. In 1970, he taught at the Paris Conservatoire. He destroyed many of his early works, considering them derivative of Ravel, the preeminent composer in France during his youth. His music that had been published avoided demolition. After World War II, Dutilleux concentrated almost exclusively on instrumental and orchestral music, much of which has been widely programmed and recorded. His songs are not well known. In the chronological catalogue of his compositions, beginning in 1929, the Quatre mélodies for mezzo soprano or baritone is only the eleventh entry. It also exists in an orchestral version. The collection is dedicated to the French baritone Charles Panzéra and his wife, pianist Magdeleine Panzéra-Baillot, prominent interpreters of French song in the interwar years. Gabriel Fauré dedicated his last cycle, L’horizon chimérique, to Panzéra. Quatre mélodies (1942) uses poems by four different poets and presents a delightful collection of moods, although it must be admitted that the level of the poetry is not uniformly high: “Féérie au clair de lune” (poem by Raymond Genty), a graceful scherzo of dancing fairies that evokes Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; “Pour une amie perdue” (Edmond Borsent); “Regards sur l’infini” (Anna de Noailles); and “Fantasio” (André Bellessort). The last mélodie is the most successful of the set and is one of two songs from the set (the other being “Pour une amie perdue”) that Dutilleux acknowledged. He wanted to exclude the first and third songs because their poetry was relatively mediocre. Fantasio (1942) from Quatre Mélodies poem by André Bellessort (1866-1942) “Fantasio” (the original title of Bellessort’s poem is “Les funérailles de Fantasio”) is a colorful poem that chronicles the funeral of the titled character, who has expired before the text begins. The poem, set in Venice during Carnival, is full of glittering and compelling imagery that changes quickly, following the pace of the Carnival. Musical textures are skillfully handled and exhibit some of Dutilleux’s developing style. “Pauvre Fantasio,” is heard several times during the text, acting as both a funereal chant that unifies the proceedings and perhaps as well, keeping the mourners’ footsteps marching together. BACK TO TOP GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924) Gabriel Fauré was one of the great composers of French song who, with Duparc and Debussy, perfected the mélodie as a true art song form. He composed about a hundred songs, all original in conception, constantly developing in style, and pointing the way to future works. His songs express a broad range of emotion and a great variety of musical textures, extending the musical parameters of the genre and inspiring new techniques of song compositions. His songs are often divided into three compositional periods for purposes of study and definition. Fauré has been characterized as a skillful watchmaker; with great precision his songs, which overflow with subtle nuances and delicate detail. His approach is in keeping with the French musical aesthetic: elegant and rational, dealing with sentiment rather than literal sensation. He was able to capture the entire poetic mood of each poem he set and to create an aura around it with his musical setting. Dans la fôret de septembre, Op. 85, No. 1 (1902) poem by Catulle Mendès (1841-1909) This touching poem symbolizes the onset of old age. Mendès was among the founders of a literary magazine, La Revue fantaisiste, which published many poems of the Parnassian poets. Fauré’s musical style perfectly suited this style of poetry: elegance of style, richness of rhyme, regularity and symmetry of rhythm. The Parnassians avoided the excessively romantic and aimed for “art-for-art’s sake.” Fauré was nearly sixty years old when he composed this mélodie, and his reaction to this poem is beautifully poignant. The words describe the poet’s reflective walk through a quiet, somber forest, capturing the chill of mortality and the overall mood of the turning point of life. The ancient forest, sensing a kindred spirit, provides the walker with a sign of friendship and understanding. Fauré set this contemplative poem in a rich harmonic musical texture with a vocal line that borders on quasi-recitative-like shapes. The solemn thoughts of old age call forth a melancholy, but it is a subtle melancholy. It is almost hymn-like in the fusion of words, emotions, and musical texture. This mélodie may be considered as marking the threshold to the final period of Fauré’s compositions. Accompagnement, Op. 85, No. 3 (1902) poem by Albert Victor Samain (1858-1900) This mélodie is a beautiful barcarolle–a nighttime scene, silvery and hazy, alluring but unreal. The image of the poet rowing on the lake is reflected in the musical texture. Fauré had a lifelong fascination with water imagery in music; this poem offers a little reel of unfolding pictures of a moonlight journey a dark lake. The words “dans le rêve” tell us that this is all a dream. This is a rarely sung Fauré mélodie that yields great rewards for the performer. Chanson, Op. 94 (1906) poem by Henri di Régnier (1864-1936) This poem has a gentle charm and a calm simplicity. It is the last of Fauré’s madrigals that include delicate love songs such as “Lydia,” and “Clair de lune.” It has a wonderful fluidity that is a perfect foil for the poetic images The text is a simple set of variations on one theme: nothing on earth has any meaning unless the beloved somehow touches it. Fauré’s reaction to the words called forth a musical setting of delicate transparency and limited range. It is not well known; like “Le Don silencieux,” “Chanson” was published as a single song and therefore not widely disseminated. It is an example of exquisitely planned musical economy, and definitely belongs in Fauré’s third period of musical compositions. Le Don silencieux, Op. 92 (1906) poem by Marie Closset (1875-1952), under the pseudonym Jean Dominique Here is another little known Fauré song, a rarity because it was published separately and was never included in any of the Fauré recueils. The poem has a gentle melancholy–the plea of a timid lover, a mixture of hope and imagined disappointment. The words are tender and flowing, but the overall mood is one of unrelieved sadness. This song marks the beginning of Fauré’s third compositional period, which includes the cycles La Chanson d’Eve, Le Jardin clos, Mirages, and L’Horizon chimérique. Writing of this mélodie in a letter to his wife, Fauré said, It does not in the least resemble any of my previous works, nor anything that I am aware of; I am very pleased about this...It translates the words gradually as they unfold themselves; it begins, opens out, and finishes, nothing more, nevertheless it is unified. 1 NOTES: Quoted in Graham Johnson, Gabriel Fauré: The Songs and their Poets (London: Guildhall School of Music and Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2009), 291. Quotation from Jean-Michel Nectoux, Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life, trans. Roger Nichols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 304. This is a translation of Fauré’s letter to his wife of 17 August 1906. BACK TO TOP REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947) Reynaldo Hahn, Venezuelan by birth, came to Paris with his family at age four and made a brilliant career. In addition to his career as a composer and singer, he was director of the Paris Opéra, music critic for the newspaper Figaro, and conductor of the Salzburg Festival. He was enough of a scholar to edit some of the works of Rameau. He maintained close friendships throughout his life with actress Sarah Bernhardt and writer Marcel Proust. During the Belle époque, French mélodie was at the height of its development. Hahn was a habitué of the most fashionable salons, where he was in demand as a performer. On these occasions, he usually sang and played his own accompaniment, often with a cigarette dangling from his lips. The art of singing was one of his major passions, and he wrote three books on singing (Du chant, Thèmes varies, and L’oreille au guet), as well as a memoir of Sarah Bernhardt. Hahn’s songs are models of French restraint–devoid of overt display, with beautiful melodies in a modest vocal range. They reflect the style of his teacher, Jules Massenet. Hahn composed approximately ninety-five works for solo voice: eighty-four mélodies, five English songs to texts of Robert Louis Stevenson, and six Italian songs in the Venetian dialect. After 1912, Hahn composed in larger forms: opera, operetta, and film music. Perhaps his most famous work is his operetta Ciboulette (1923), which is still performed. À Chloris (1916) poem by Théophile de Viau (1590-1626) “À Chloris” is No. 14 in Deuxième volume de vingt mélodies, the last major publication of Hahn’s songs during his lifetime. In many of his later songs, he turned to a deliberately archaic style. “À Chloris” features an elegant vocal line above a piano texture that features Baroque musical characteristics; it is its own piece, with ornamented melody and chaconne-like bass. Vocal line and piano piece are woven into a musical tapestry that is both declarative and intimate. Poet Théophile de Viau was considered one of the most influential libertin poets during Louis XIII’s reign. The libertins’ verses had a unique charm that is instantly appealing, but somewhat artificial. Despite this, de Viau’s love poetry is not bland, but full of suggestive passion and elegant wit. BACK TO TOP ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955) Arthur Honegger composed over forty mélodies for voice and piano. Taken as a whole, they are diverse and imaginative. For his texts, he favored contemporary poets such as Jean Cocteau, Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Claudel, and Paul Fort. He also chose to set unrelated poems by a single poet, such as his Poesies (Cocteau) and Alcools (Apollinaire). Poetry with strong imagery appealed to the dramatist in his personality. For Honegger, as for most successful mélodie composers, the word provides the starting place. He is quoted as saying: For me, the music a song is always dependent upon the poetic model. It must join so closely with the poetry, that they become inseparable and one can picture the poem in wholly musical terms. This is not to say that the music becomes subservient. It must be so crafted that it can stand on its own merits, playable without the text, logical and complete. 1 Born of Swiss parents in Le Havre, France, Arthur Honegger initially studied for two years at the Zurich Conservatory, but enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire from 1911 to 1918, studying with Charles-Marie Widor and Vincent d’Indy. Some of his more familiar large vocal works include the dramatic psalm Le roi David (King David), composed in 1921 and still in the choral repertoire; and his dramatic oratorio of 1935, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Joan of Arc at the stake), with text by Paul Claudel, considered to be one of his finest works. Between the world wars, he composed nine ballets and three vocal stage works, among works in other genres. His total compositional catalog is an impressive list of music: orchestral works, chamber music, concertos, ballets, operas, operettas, and oratorios. Widely known as a train enthusiast, he was passionately interested in locomotives, to which he attributed almost human characteristics. His “mouvement symphonique,” Pacific 231, gained him early acclaim in 1923. Honegger’s musical style is a fascinating mixture of impressionistic effects peppered with penetrating dissonances. He had a fondness for mixing tonalities and using modality. His compositions for the voice display an eclectic focus of coloristic harmonies and architectural clarity. He was a member of Les Six, but unlike most of that group, did not share their overwhelming reaction against German romanticism. Honegger’s musical style is fuller and more serious than his colleagues. He and Darius Milhaud were close friends. Honegger’s generous body of song has proved of enduring interest to contemporary performers. His was a distinctive voice in the vocal music of the twentieth-century French mélodie. Trois Psaumes (1940-41) from the Huguenot Psalter Psaumes XXXIV and CXL translated by Théodore de Bèze (1519-1605) Psaume CXXXVIII translated by Clément Marot (1496-1544) The spirit of Bach shines in the first psaume, “Psalm 34,” in which a chant-like vocal line alternates with a gently moving episodic keyboard part. This call and response continues until the last three vocal phrases, when the vocal line merges with the instrumental texture in a psalm of praise. The second song is “Psalm 140,” “ô Dieu donne-moi la déliverance de cet homme pernicieux” (O God, deliver me from this evil man). Honegger’s biographer, Harry Halbreich, suggests that the “evil man” who was oppressing Europe in those last days of 1940 might be the reason for Honegger’s text choice. This piece was composed before the first and third songs. Its emotional mood peaks with the chorale tune “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” 2 The last song in the set, “Psalm 138,” has the Latin title “Confiteor tibi, Domine” (I thank thee, O Lord) and is a paraphrase by Clément Marot, one of the greatest of the French Renaissance poets. It contains a familiar chorale tune, which is used in canon between voice and piano. NOTES: Arthur Canter and Rachel Joselson, Liner notes, The Songs of Arthur Honegger and Jacques Leguerney. Rachel Joselson, Réne Lecuona , piano. Albany Records, TROY691, 2004. Harry Halbreich, trans. Roger Nichols, Arthur Honegger (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1999), 165. BACK TO TOP JACQUES LEGUERNEY (1906-1997) Most of Jacques Leguerney’s sixty-eight mélodies were composed and published from 1940 to 1964. Many were commissioned and premiered by French baritone Gérard Souzay, his sister, soprano Geneviève Touraine, and pianist Jacqueline Bonneau. Early songs are comparable in mood and style with Ravel or Roussel (who encouraged Leguerney’s composition); later songs have been compared to those of his contemporary, Poulenc. Leguerney writes virtuoso piano parts–often dramatic, and with such an individual sense of harmonic style and color that Pierre Bernac reportedly described them as “mélodies de pianist.” 1 When asked about Leguerney’s songs, Gérard Souzay wrote, “How does one describe this music which is, at the same time, classic and modern? It is pure, but colorfully nuanced; it speaks to the heart as well as the mind–at times calm at times witty–wise, yet sensual...” 2 Many of Leguerney’s songs deal with themes of love and nature, expressing a huge range of emotions from deeply felt meditation to wild, ribald humor. Leguerney stopped composing in 1964, and his songs became neglected. The quality of Leguerney’s text setting, lyrical beauty, and harmonic innovations all call for his songs to be better known and more widely performed. Jacques Leguerney was drawn to the work of Renaissance poets, notably Ronsard. There are eight collections titled Poèmes de la Pléaide, representing settings of sixteenth and seventeenth-century French poetry and totaling thirty-two songs. Additionally, there are cycles and other collections [for a complete listing of Leguerney’s songs, see Dibbern, Kimball, and Choukroun, Interpreting the Songs of Jacques Leguerney]. 3 They may be thought of as the last in the great mainstream of twentieth-century French song. La Caverne d’écho (1954) from Poèmes de la Pléiade, Volume 7 poem by Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant (1594-1661) Dedication: Josiane and Jean Cier. First performance: Bernard Kruysen, baritone; Jean-Charles Richard, pianist. 29 May 1965, Radio France Culture. Marc-Antoine Girard, sieur de Saint-Amant, wrote poetry of great descriptive power, and his use of language set him apart from the other seventeenth-century poets. He was also an adept musician and skillful lute player, writing verses that often describe musical sounds linked to visual images. The poem takes place in a dark cave, home of the nymph, Echo; it is a charmed place, absolutely still and peaceful. The poet’s lute resounds inside the cavern as he tries to soothe the inconsolable Echo, who mourns for her lover Narcissus. Leguerney creates the grotto’s mysterious resonance with bitonality. Piano figures illustrate the strumming of the lute. The text contains many sounds with the consonant “r.” The rolling quality of this speech sonority re-creates the cavern’s resonance. The closing measures of the mélodie produce a striking effect as the singer’s voice echoes eerily in the cavern, blending with the piano’s resonance and creating a remarkably realistic echo. À son page (1944) from Poèmes de la Pléiade, Volume 2 poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) Dedicated to Gérard Souzay. First performance: Gérard Souzay, baritone; Jacqueline Robin (Bonneau). 3 May 1945, Salle Gaveau, Paris. This is a lusty scene with four characters: a nobleman tipsy from drink, his page, and two women, Jeanne and Barbe. Carpe diem is the theme here. The singer philosophizes on this idea while enjoying his wine and the tender companionship of the two beautiful women. Leguerney evokes the crackling staccato of a stylized harpsichord with rhythmic accents in the piano. The text is brilliantly set with jagged vocal lines and driving rhythms that illustrate the singer’s intoxication. It ends with Leguerney’s repetition of the last poetic line and the addition of nonsense syllables which fit beautifully into the imagery and mood of Ronsard’s colorful characters. Je me lamente (1943) from Poèmes de la Pléiade, Volume 1 poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) Dedicated to Geneviève Touraine. First performance: Paul Derenne, tenor; Jeanne Blancard, pianist. 29 March 1944, Salle de l’Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris. This is one of Leguerney’s most beautiful songs, setting Pierre de Ronsard’s text from his collection of love poems for Marie Dupin, a country girl from a small village in southern France. She was half his age and probably represented the youth he constantly pursued. It has been suggested that the Marie in question was probably Marie de Clèves, passionately adored by Henri III. 4 Leguerney called this mélodie a constant crescendo from beginning to end. 5 Ronsard’s anguish is captured with a texture of stark chords, crowned by a regal and sustained vocal line. As the song progresses, the poet’s anguish is embodied in a more expansive texture, bidding Marie a happy resting place near God or in the Elysian fields. NOTES: Liner notes by Mary Dibbern. Mélodies sur poèmes de la Renaissance (Jacques Leguerney).Harmonia Mundi France. LP recording HMC 1171. Letter to the author. Quoted in Mary Dibbern, Carol Kimball, and Patrick Choukroun. Interpreting the Songs of Jacques Leguerney (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2001), 3. Ibid., 289-295. Ibid., 69. See note 20. Ibid., 70. BACK TO TOP OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Olivier Messiaen was born in 1908 in Avignon, France, into a literary family. He grew up around words and absorbed their shapes, colors and sounds naturally. His father, Pierre Messiaen, was a well-known translator of Shakespeare, and his mother, Cécile Sauvage, was a poet. As a youngster, before beginning to compose music, he had an especially perceptive ear attuned to the unique prosody of the French language. Early in his compositional career, he published a book titled Technique de mon langage musical (1944). About his musical setting of words, Jane Manning observes: ...the syllables themselves create a glittering mosaic of sonorities and subtle resonances, in addition to their actual meaning (many of the poems do not translate at all satisfactorily). The composer’s awareness of the minutiae of verbal enunciations and articulations is miraculous. Each vocal sound can be precisely placed as intended, all dynamics are scrupulously plotted, and the performer’s involvement and intimate connection to the music is enhanced by the sensual nature of words projection... 1 He often used stained glass to explain his music. When viewed from a distance, the myriad details blend into a single entity, whose purpose is to dazzle the listener. Understanding is not necessary, feeling is the prime requisite. The music of Olivier Messiaen is a skillfully designed and unique language, with meaning and form kept separate. Its meaning is unchangeable, harkening back to Gregorian chant, culminating in instruments that are able to prolong sound (organ, strings, or the ondes Martenot). Messiaen’s musical language is defined by its rhythms and tone colors. His uncanny instinct for associating sound with color produced works unique in their concept of the combination of sounds. He said that when he heard or read music, his mind’s eye saw colors that move with the music; he sensed these colors, and at times he precisely indicated their arrangements in his scores. His fascination with birdsong was lifelong; he referred to himself as an ornithologist and tracked birds and their songs all over the world. He considered their resonances as songs and not merely sounds. He notated these on manuscript paper and they found their way into his music. Trois mélodies (1930) poems by Olivier Messiaen, Cécile Sauvage (1883-1927) This little cycle of songs is Messiaen’s first recognized work for voice and piano. The songs are modest in length and not typical of Messiaen’s later style, but show influences of late Fauré and Duparc in the overall musical texture. There is only one song in his vocal compositions in which Messiaen set the poetry of another poet. It is found in this cycle, which uses the text of his mother, the poet Cécile Sauvage, who died three years before the composition of this work. The three movements form a warm and delicate little triptych. Two of Messiaen’s own poems stand on either side of the poem by Cécile Sauvage, throwing that charming little poem into high relief. “Pourquoi?” introduces a litany of the pleasures of nature: birdsong, the unfolding seasons, and water images. The poet becomes emotional, asking why all these bring him no joy. “La Sourire,” the shortest song of the set, is a beautiful microcosm of intimate and spiritual understanding between two people. It is a delicate example of musical economy and word setting in a quasi-recitative style. The last song, “La fiancée perdue,” offers fleeting hints of Messiaen’s cycle to come, Poèmes pour Mi–most specifically, the final song. Here, the poet prays for divine blessing on the soul of the “fiancée” in the title. The fervent incantation illuminates and affirms man’s connection to a higher authority. Examining the poetic content of the three texts, we are struck by the images that underlie the words: the emotional outburst “pourquoi,” (why?), perhaps questioning the death of Cécile, followed by Cécile’s tender affirmation of love, and finally, the prayer asking for Divine grace and the blessing of the soul of the departed. NOTES: Jane Manning, “The Songs and Song Cycles,” in The Messiaen Companion, ed. Peter Hill (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1995), 107. BACK TO TOP DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974) Darius Milhaud was probably the most prolific composer of the group known as Les Six (Francis Poulenc, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Germaine Tailleferre, Georges Auric, and Milhaud). The group was unified by friendship rather than a single musical style. Championed by influential writer Jean Cocteau and composer Erik Satie, Les Six often presented their works at the same concerts and met with great regularity–often at Milhaud’s house–to make music and exchange ideas. Louis Durey observed that it was the wide diversity in their personalities and musical styles that gave the group its rich depth and permitted its development. Embodied in the credo of their musical thought was relative sparseness of texture and clarity. Turn-of-the-century France offered popular entertainments that drew the French to an environment of merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries, outdoor concerts, circuses, and a jumble of excitement. Milhaud was fascinated by Parisian street life, and could hear the sounds of the Montmartre fair from his apartment. Often on their group outings, Les Six went together to the Cirque de Médrano to see the Fratellinis, a famous family of clowns of that day. Milhaud observed that their acts were worthy of the Commedia dell’arte. 1 Trois Poèmes de Jean Cocteau, Op. 59 (1920) poems by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) Trois poèmes de Jean Cocteau is like lyric fragments. The small-range vocal lines have a sparse lyricism–one of emotional mood rather than overt melody. The little mélodies are skillful studies in brevity. These match Cocteau’s rather enigmatic poems that exemplify the style termed dépouillé (stripped to the essentials), his aesthetic creed. Milhaud dedicated the songs to Satie. The three miniatures are a colorful kaleidoscope of the circus and the outdoor fairs that entranced the French during this period. “Fumée” describes the equestrienne of the Cirque Médrano atop a horse, jumping through hoops, captured in Toulouse-Lautrec’s familiar painting titled “L’écuyère au Cirque Fernando (1888); “Fête de Bordeaux” is a description of the merry-go-round at the Bordeaux fair; and “Fête de Montmartre” evokes the nighttime boats and sailors, possibly having to do with a game involving camouflaged ships found at the Montmartre fair. Milhaud infuses stylistic and melodic elements of folk songs and children’s tunes into the tiny pieces, tying the innate excitement of these popular destinations to simple, childlike reactions. NOTES: Laurence Davies, The Gallic Muse (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1967), 164. BACK TO TOP FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963) Francis Poulenc’s 150 mélodies form the largest body of songs to be added to French vocal literature in the twentieth century. Poulenc’s flair for the dramatic, combined with his superb skill in mixing poetry and music, produced songs that singers find immensely gratifying, not only for their musical value, but for their heightened sense of drama. Poulenc’s mélodies reflect concern and feeling for declamation, inflection, breathing, and above all, show extraordinary warmth of feeling for the human voice. He was fond of saying, “J’aime la voix humaine!” The sophistication of Poulenc’s songs spring from their poetic inspirations. Poulenc was quite knowledgeable about poetry, and chose his texts carefully. His gift of divining the inner life of the texts he set produced songs that do more than merely illustrate the poems. His gift for melody is at the very heart of all his songs and seems to assert itself naturally in shaping the color, weight, and meaning of the texts he set. Ce doux petit visage (1938) poem by Paul éluard (1895-1952) Paul Eluard was one of Poulenc’s three main poets. This is a beautiful introduction to Eluard’s poetry, lyrical and passionately intense. The simplicity of Poulenc’s setting allows the poem to shine. It is one of Poulenc’s tiny gems, and he admitted his partiality to the short song. Eluard’s skill at evoking nostalgia and melancholy are seen here, linked to lost youth. The mélodie is dedicated to the memory of Raymonde Linossier, Poulenc’s most intimate childhood friend, who influenced his literary taste and musical tendencies. He said: “I have a great liking for this short song. Raymonde Linossier was my best advisor for the music of my youth. How many times, during the years since her death, I would have liked to have had her opinion on this or the other of my works.” 1 La Grenouillère (1938) poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) “La Grenouillère” is an outstanding example of Poulenc’s romantic lyricism. This is a text by Guillaume Apollinaire describing the Ile de Croissy, an island in the Seine on the outskirts of Paris, frequented by artists and their models, and celebrated in paintings by Monet, Manet, and Renoir. “The Froggery” was a restaurant on the island. The overall images of happy days that cannot be relived can be seen in Pierre Auguste Renoir’s paintings Les Déjeuner des canotiers (The Boatman’s Luncheon), or La Grenouillère. In this lament for boating parties on the Seine, vocal phrases are sustained and languid, floating over a slowly rocking piano accompaniment. The lazy piano figures mirror the empty tethered boats rocking on the water, bumping against each other, and give expression to the sweet melancholy of the poet’s words. Montparnasse (1945) poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) Apollinaire’s poem is dated 1912. Poulenc writes in his journal of songs that it took him four years to complete “Montparnasse,” almost phrase by phrase, and that he had no regrets about the length of time it took because “it is one of my best songs.” 2 It is a sentimental and heartfelt tribute to Paris. Both Apollinaire and Poulenc loved the city and it played a continuing role in their work. “Montparnasse” is about the idyllic artistic existence lived at the edge of Paris. Poulenc wrote in his diary: “Let us imagine this Montparnasse all at once discovered by Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Apollinaire.” 3 The mélodie has a carefree nonchalance about it; it is not sad, but thoughtful– a beautiful blend of poetic and musical lyricism. Poulenc’s vocal and harmonic textures are full of surprising harmonic details that bind this song–which he composed in fragments–together into a touching and expressive picture of Paris in the early years of the twentieth century. Bleuet (1939) poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) Guillaume Apollinaire was one of Poulenc’s preferred poets. This is a wartime poem that Apollinaire penned in 1917 in Paris in convalescence after a head injury; both Apollinaire and Poulenc served in World War II. There are several word plays at work here. “Bleuet” was the nickname for French soldiers in World War I, because their uniforms were blue, like the color of a little cornflower, which is a “bleuet.” Also, “Un bleu” was the term used for a raw recruit. “Bleuet” is one of Poulenc’s most moving songs– agonizing in its emotional content yet noble in its message. It is a quiet and private moment in which a twenty-year-old boy who does not yet know all that life can be, is characterized–and addressed–by the poet in a sweetly serious speech. Poulenc wrote that for him, the key to the poem were the words, “It is five o’clock and you would know how to die.” 4 This song is simple, intimate, and poignant. Les Chemins de l’amour (1940) poem by Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) Poulenc composed this valse chantée as incidental music for Léocadia, a play by Jean Anouilh. Within the play, the song was described as a pseudo Viennese waltz, and functioned as a leitmotiv in the plot. Sung by Yvonne Printemps, one of France’s most celebrated musical theatre stars, “Les Chemins de l’amour” became a popular success. It embodies the relaxed elegance of a self-styled Viennese waltz style, encased in one of Poulenc’s haunting melodies. Banalités (1940) poems by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) Banalités is not a cycle, but a group of five songs. The poems have no connection with each other; however, their order provides a well-constructed recital group. They may be performed separately. The work is one of Poulenc’s most popular vocal works, and deservedly so. Poulenc chose contrasting poems, placing them so that the collection begins briskly and ends with lyrical gravity. “Chanson d’Orkenise” is Poulenc’s title for the poem contained in the strange mixture of prose and poetry that Apollinaire called Onirocritique. Orkenise is a road in Autun leading to the Roman gate of the same name. The musical setting has the feeling of a popular folk song. The narrator sings of a tramp leaving the city and a carter who is entering it - one leaving his heart there, one bringing his heart to be married. There is a word in the poem with a double meaning: “grise” can be translated as “gray” or “tipsy.” The merry quality of the song opens the set with gaiety, but both Apollinaire and Poulenc offer a little food for thought. “Hôtel” is a poem that immediately represented for Poulenc a hotel room in Montparnassse, where the idle poet wants only to bask in the sun’s warmth and smoke. Pierre Bernac referred to it as “the laziest song ever written.” 5 The piano figures are fashioned of Poulenc’s luxuriant chromatic harmonies, stacked as if to cushion the lethargy of the singer. “Fagnes de Wallonie” is set in the gloomy, desolate uplands of the Ardennes with a terrain of vast heaths, twisted trees, and peat bogs, swept by winds of considerable force. Its gloomy setting complements the melancholy mood of the poet. Poulenc’s spiky musical setting is a whirlwind that sweeps from beginning to end in a turbulent texture that demands precise articulation from singer and pianist. Sandwiched between Songs 3 and 5 is a tiny bonbon, “Voyage à Paris.” It resembles a little commercial jingle about Paris–“which one day love must have created”–an invitation to the pleasures of that beautiful city, away from “the dreary countryside.” Poulenc sprinkles his quicksilver setting–a valse-musette–with indications of “amiable” and “avec charme.” The composer referred to it as having “deliciously stupid lines...Anything that concerns Paris I approach with tears in my eyes and my head full of music.” 6 The cycle concludes with “Sanglots”, one of Apollinaire’s finest poems about the universality of lost love, a theme that Poulenc matches with exquisite modulations in a setting that embodies the essence of the words. The vocal lines are eloquently lyrical. The poem is difficult to understand because of the juxtaposition of the main narrative and the interior “asides,” that in effect form a poem within a poem. 7 The song has an elegant serenity that culminates in a stunning climactic point at the words: “Est mort d’amour ou c’est tout comme/ Est mort d’amour et le voici.” The ending lines of the song sustain the profoundly calm mood, bringing Banalités to its close. La Courte Paille (1960) poems by Maurice Carême (1899-1978) The last song cycle Poulenc composed was La Courte paille, on seven poems of Belgian poet Maurice Carême. Poulenc composed the songs for soprano Denise Duval, creator of leading roles in his three operas, hoping that she would sing them to her young son. Poulenc considered the mélodies very poetic and whimsical; unfortunately, Duval disliked the music and never did sing the cycle. Poulenc asked Carême to provide an overall title for the work and requested permission to change the titles of several selected poems: the original title of “Quelle aventure!” is “Une puce et l’éléphant”; “Le Reine de cœur” is “Vitres de lune”; “Le carafon” is “La carafe et le carafon.” For the cycle’s title, Carême chose La Courte Paille (The Short Straw), referring to drawing lots by the method of a short straw. Poulenc was delighted, saying the title symbolized his little musical game exactly. He also wrote in his diary, “They must be sung tenderly; that is the surest way to touch the heart of a child.” 8 The cycle is full of child-like innocence, whimsy and imagination, with a few shadowy undertones. The first song, “Le Sommeil,” is a beautiful lullaby to a restless child who cannot go to sleep, tossing and turning in his small bed. He seems ill, crying and perspiring, but hopefully will finally surrender to slumber. In “Quelle aventure!” the child describes an absurd happening: he saw a flea driving a carriage with a small elephant in it. The story grows more bizarre but the rhythmic pace never wavers, careening to the end of the song when the child wonders how on earth he’ll ever be able to persuade “Mama” that it really happened. The verses are witty, yet the shrieks of “Mon Dieu!” are laced with a feeling of childish terror. “La Reine du cœur” is a beautiful, languid melody that paints a picture of the mysterious Queen of Hearts, beckoning to visitors from her frosty castle, where she reigns over a court of lovers, including the young dead. In “Ba, Be, Bi, Bo, Bu...,” the child is chided “on all sides” about studying. The title of the song presents the French vowels, and the text contains words that make their plural with an “x” (“pou, chou, genou, hibou”). The formidable cat of the poem’s opening lines is none other than that tricky feline Puss-in-Boots! The entire song is a little tongue-twister, an exercise in diction and accuracy. “Les anges musiciens” are none other than the school children staying home on Thursday, the half-day school holiday in France in Poulenc’s time, practicing Mozart on their harps, just like good little angel musicians should do. “Le carafon” is a crazy little story of a carafe that longs for a baby carafe (carafon) just like the giraffe at the zoo, who has a girafon. This is a ridiculous rhyming game like those that children love to play. The text is full of whimsical characters: the carafe, a giraffe, a sorcerer astride a phonograph, Merlin, and finally, a carafon. “Lune d’Avril” is another lullaby, very slow and otherworldly, which serves as an epilogue. Bound together in a musical texture that features a syncopated pedal point, it is filled with enchanted images the child wishes to dream about: a land of joy, light, and flowers where all guns are silent. The ending leaves the listener suspended in a mood of unfinished magic. La Courte Paille is the last vocal music Poulenc composed. NOTES: Quoted in Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1977), 125. Francis Poulenc, Journal de mes mélodies, trans. Winifred Radford (London: Victor Gollancz, 1985), 75. Ibid., 75. Ibid., 57. Bernac, 72. Poulenc, 67. The English translation of “Sanglots” has parentheses that delineate the “asides” so that both “poems” may be seen. These may be found in Pierre Bernac’s books Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs, page 75, or The Interpretation of French Song, pages 284-85 Poulenc, 109. BACK TO TOP MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937) The songs of Maurice Ravel represent a transition between the mature mélodies of Debussy and the vocal literature that followed, notably the songs of Les Six. Debussy dominated the French musical scene from the turn of the century until his death in 1918. It was Ravel who was regarded as the leading musical spokesman for France following World War I. He was a skillful craftsman and his songs have a sense of evenness of rhythmic structure and flow that call for scrupulous execution. The fusion of music and text into a logical whole was of utmost importance to him. He composed elegant and subtle mélodies, using classical phrase structure. His melodic phrases often tend toward modality. His songs range from those with a folk-like style to more to those that are more speech-like, and those that encompass a melodic romanticism. He was precise in his thought and his scoring, and scrupulous in his musical execution. His music encompassed some of the fascinating influences of the post-Wagnerian era. Ravel’s musical contributions were of utmost importance to this exciting and new era in French cultural history. He made notable contributions to musical literature for the piano, the French art song, opera, chamber music, orchestral literature, and the ballet. Sur l’herbe (1907) poem by Paul Verlaine (1833-1896) This mélodie is Ravel’s only setting of Verlaine. It has often been suggested that this poem was probably inspired by Watteau’s painting L’île enchantée. There is also a reference to a famous eighteenth-century dancer, Marie-Anne Cuppi, known as (La) Camargo, who was immortalized on canvas by the painter Nicolas Lancret. The scene is an outside gathering, elegant and artificial. A number of people are there, chief among them, a licentious abbé, slightly tipsy from a bit too much Cyprian wine. He exchanges a few disconnected gallantries with the ladies–innocent conversations on the surface, but sensuous in undertone. The conversation is disconnected; we do not know exactly who is speaking. Ravel shapes very flexible vocal phrases, in keeping with the abbé’s intoxicated state, underscored with graceful piano figures that evoke an eighteenth-century dance. In a letter to Jean-Aubrey, Ravel commented on “Sur l’herbe”: “In this piece, as in the Histoires naturelles, the impression must be given that one is almost not singing. A bit of preciosity is found there which is indicated moreover by the text and the music.” 1 Noël des jouets (1905) poem by the composer This is the only solo song for which Ravel wrote the text. It describes a Christmas manger scene, replete with the Virgin and Christ-child, animals, and angels. It embodies Ravel’s delight with tiny mechanical toys and figures, and his fascination with the unspoiled world of child-like experience. His genius for text painting is displayed in the delightful mélodie. The mechanical toys come to life in the piano figures. Ravel’s charming text creates the images around and over the crèche, with not a word wasted. Ravel commented that the music is “clear and plain, like the mechanical toys of the poem.” 2 This little song foreshadows other Ravel settings of make-believe, beginning with the song cycle Histoires naturelles and culminating with his opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges. The music of menacing dog Belzébuth foreshadows the music of the Beast in the Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mère lOye). Rêves (1927) poem by Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) The poetry of Léon-Paul Fargue has been described as reflecting the union of dream and memory. This mélodie has a tender lyricism within a sparse musical texture. The text is fashioned of a series of miniature images that pass by rather quickly, unrelated, like the images found in dreams. For all their differences, they have a simplicity about them that seems timeless, existing together, as the poet says, “in a vague countryside.” When the dreamer finally awakens, the little fleeting pictures “die quietly.” The piano postlude perpetuates the dream state, creating an ethereal little microcosm that continues to draw the dreamer to it. Ronsard à son âme (1924) poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) In his Abrégé de l’art poétique français (1565) Pierre de Ronsard advocated the union of poetry and music, and Renaissance composers frequently set his poems. 3 In this strikingly simple mélodie, Ronsard speaks to his soul, calling it by a series of diminutives: little soul, dainty little one, sweet little one. Ravel uses a series of parallel fifths in the piano figures to invoke a Renaissance mood. This is Ronsard’s last poem, and Ravel’s last adaptation of Renaissance poetry. Ravel’s setting recalls the elegance of his early mélodie, “D’Anne qui me jecta de la neige,” to a poem of Clément Marot. Manteau de fleurs (1903) poem by Paul Barthélemy Jeulin (1863-1936) The poem notes everything in the garden that is pink–all the flowers that will become a beautiful cloak to complement the beauty of the lady of the poem. Ravel usually had very sophisticated taste in choosing texts; this particular poem is an unusual choice. It is a simple text, somewhat banal, but Ravel’s shimmering musical texture imparts a dramatic character for each flower in the poem. The overall piano texture suggests orchestral colors. The last section of the mélodie changes course slightly, with the piano harmonies creating a slightly wistful mood. Clearly, Ravel lavished a beautiful musical setting on a rather ordinary set of words. Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1932-33) [Medium/Low Voice edition only] poems by Paul Morand (1888-1976) This miniature cycle was Ravel’s last vocal work. His musical portrait of the noble Spanish knight, Don Quixote, is embodied in three mélodies, all based on characteristic Spanish or Basque dance rhythms: (1) the guajira, alternating 6/8 and 3/4 meter; (2) the zorzica, a Basque dance in quintuple meter; and (3) the jota, a lively triple-metered Spanish dance. “Chanson Romanesque” presents the chivalrous idealist Don Quixote, confidently promising to rearrange everything in nature to his lady Dulcinea’s liking in order to win her favor. Dulcinea is in reality a poor farm girl, but the Don’s illusion will not be shaken. He remains authoritative and focused in his quest for her love. “Chanson épique” is Quixote’s reverent prayer to Saint Michael and Saint George, beseeching them to bless his sword and his Lady. Ravel creates a beautifully sustained and prayerful vocal line over a simple accompaniment. “Chanson à boire” is a exuberant drinking song. Although the Don’s tippling has made him overly boisterous, he never oversteps the bounds of his noble bearing. His robust laughter is heard in the piano figures and even a hiccup intrudes between “lorsque j’ai” and “lorsque j’ai bu.” NOTES: Maurice Ravel, in a letter to Jean-Aubrey written in September, 1907. Quoted in Arbie Orenstein, Ravel: Man and Musician (New York: Dover Publications, 1991), 165-66. Quoted in Orenstein, 161. Orenstein, 192. BACK TO TOP ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1937) In 1894 Albert Roussel left a highly successful career as a naval officer to pursue music. After completing his studies, he became professor of counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. Satie and Varèse were among his students. Roussel was one of the most prominent French composers of the interwar period. He composed almost forty mélodies as well as chamber music, ballets, and operas. His style is eclectic but highly individual. Early works show the influence of Vincent d’Indy, works dating from 1910 to 1920 exhibit influences of Debussy and Ravel, but he turned to neoclassicism in his later compositions. His love for the sea was almost a spiritual attraction and continued to influence his music throughout his career. He had a fascination for distant places; his extended tour of Southeast Asia in 1909 had a tremendous influence on his composition. “Sarabande” and “Cœur en peril” are mélodies to texts of René Chalupt, a close friend. They are found in op. 20 and 50, respectively. Roussel’s overall musical catalogue is not extensive, but its quality is of an extremely high level, and his vocal writing in particular contains some mélodies of great delicacy and style, squarely in the French tradition. For Roussel, the word held primacy in his mélodies, being both transformed by its musical setting and merging with it to create a perfect union. Commenting on the quality of Roussel’s songs, composer Charles Koechlin is quoted as saying: “The sense of austerity pervading them, stemming simply from the composer’s natural reserve, heightens their expressiveness and further embellishes them; in language and content they are absolutely personal. This collection of songs is one which will last because its essence is undying sensitivity.” 1 Sarabande (1919) from Deux mélodies, Op. 20, No. 2 poem by René Chalupt This is surely one of Roussel’s most delicate and magical creations. His writing for the piano is particularly outstanding, placing Chalupt’s poem in an overall texture of elegance and veiled sensuality. There is an Oriental delicacy in Roussel’s musical evocation of the fluttering doves, feathers drifting into a pool, and the gentle drift of chestnut blossoms onto bare flesh. Cœur en péril (1933-34) from Deux mélodies, Op. 50, No. 1 poem by René Chalupt This mélodie is much different in mood–witty and flirtatious. It is the narrative of a young man eager to convince his ladylove of his fidelity. Vocal phrases are tuneful, with a spirited piano texture of Iberian flavor. NOTES: Liner notes, Dom Angelico Surchamp, trans. Elisabeth Carroll, Roussel Mélodies, Colette Alliot-Lugaz, Mady Mesplé, Kurt Ollmann, José Van Dam; Dalton Baldwin, Patrick Gallois. EMI Digital. CDS 7492712, 1987 BACK TO TOP ERIK SATIE (1866-1925) Erik Satie wrote very few songs and most of them date from late in his life. The eccentric father figure of the French avant-garde of the twentieth century had a wildly independent spirit that found its way into his musical compositions. Throughout his life, he kept a great deal of childlike inquisitiveness and innocence. He was a curious personality of unconventional habits whose sense of the absurd and whimsy permeated both his life and his music. Quintessential Satie compositions are laconic and witty. It was Satie who named Les Nouveaux Jeunes, soon known as Les Six, and influenced the early development of the group. La Statue de bronze (1916) from Trois Mélodies poem by Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) This is Satie’s first setting of the poetry of Léon-Paul Fargue, the “Bohemian poet of Paris.” Satie used Fargue’s witty verses again for Ludions. The scene is a garden game–the jeu de tonneau. A bronze frog, perched atop a cabinet with numbered chambers, grows impatient of being the target of the game where metal disks are tossed into her mouth. She dreams of being freed from her pedestal and being able to use her wide-open mouth to utter “LE MOT.” 1 She wants to be free to join the other frogs gathered near the rust-colored washhouse “blowing musical bubbles from the soapy moonlight.” But the game continues, the disks rattle through her mouth into numbered compartments and at night, insects sleep in her mouth. This mélodie can be linked musically to “La Grenouille américaine,” found in Ludions. Both songs share piano figures derived from the café-concert chanson. Ludions (1923) poems by Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) Ludions is the last of Satie’s purely vocal works, composed two years before his death, and is perhaps his finest set of songs. It epitomizes his lifelong quest for musical simplicity and his irreverence for the intricate compositional techniques and overactive emotions of the Impressionists. Ludions is translated as “bottle imps” (a ludion is a little figure suspended in a hollow ball, which descends or rises in a vase filled with water when one presses down on the elastic membrane covering the mouth of the vase). The cycle is a kaleidoscopic set of musical miniatures, riddled with puns and illogical phrases. Fargue’s nonsensical verse complements Satie’s musical aesthetic, and the two friends’ personalities closely matched one another. All the mélodies in Ludions are short, like tiny cameos. They are colorful, saucy, fantastic, and defy translation. “Air du rat,” “La Grenouille américaine,” and “Chanson du chat” are right out of the music hall, and Satie uses with a mock-serious “tongue-in-cheek” treatment for “Spleen” and “Air du poète.” Je te veux (1902) poem by Henry Pacory (1873-?) The valse chantée, or sung waltz was a favorite of the café concerts, for which Satie composed a number of works. Café concerts were a form of Parisian popular entertainment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The all-musical programs were held outside; French popular singers presented repertoire that catered to lower and middle-class audiences who came to talk, eat, drink, and observe the long informal programs, for which there was no admission charge. “Je te veux” was composed for Paulette Darty, dubbed “the Queen of the slow waltz.” It was one of her signature musical presentations for the caf’conc (café concerts), and one that Darty remained associated with throughout her career. A statuesque blonde with an ample figure, Darty was a commanding performer who kept the most boisterous of the Saturday night audiences enthralled. Lyricist Henry Pacory’s rather explicit poem was watered down at Satie’s request before the song was published. La Diva de l’Empire (1904) poem by Charles Bessat, named Numa Blès (1871-1917) The “Diva de l’Empire,” 2 one of Satie’s café-concert songs, was another work written for and performed by Paulette Darty. It was composed for a Bonnaud-Blès music-hall revue called Dévidons la Bobine (Let’s Unwind the Bobbin) that toured several seaside resort towns. The British “diva” is a femme fatale performer who enchants all who see her. The song is a syncopated cakewalk describing her seductive beauty as she struts her stuff “showing the wiggling of her legs and some pretty frilly underwear.” Interspersed at points along the way with English words: Greenaway, baby, little girl, etc. The piano provides a jaunty ragtime rhythm throughout that melds perfectly with the suggestive text. NOTES: ”Le mot” has a double meaning. It was the title of a broadsheet published by Jean Cocteau between 1914-15 and is short for “le mot de Cambronne,” a polite way of saying “merde.” Cambronne was a famous French general who replied “Merde!” when asked to surrender. In Steven Moore Whiting, Satie the Bohemian: From Cabaret to Concert Hall. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 43. Empire refers to the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Square, London. BACK TO TOP DÉODAT DE SÉVERAC (1872-1921) Déodat de Séverac, of aristocratic lineage, was born in the Languedoc region of southwest France in Saint-Félix-Caraman (now Saint-Félix Lauragais), near Toulouse. After studies in Paris with Vincent d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum, he returned home and remained there. He was a contemporary of Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, but was considered a petit maître in their company, possibly because of his return to Languedoc at the completion of his musical studies. Séverac composed piano and orchestral music, operas and songs. The culture of his native Languedoc figured prominently in his music, which is highly descriptive. He often wrote parts for regional folk music in his scores. Many considered him provincial and unsophisticated, but his music displays his skill in integrating folk elements–and often, regional folk instruments–of his native Languedoc into his works. He often referred to himself as “the peasant musician.” Influences of Debussy, Mussorgsky, and Bizet may be found in his mélodies. Although his music is rather conservative in style, Séverac fused folk elements with the musical styles of the day in a unique and individual manner. Ma poupée chérie (1914) poem by the composer Composed in 1914 (and published in 1916) for his daughter Magali and dedicated to her, this little cradlesong is probably de Séverac’s best loved and most performed mélodie. Séverac’s fresh musical setting contains just the right combination of simplicity and delightful childlike honesty. Despite the subject matter, the composer’s heartfelt poem avoids an overly cloying atmosphere. BACK TO TOP OTHER SOURCES CONSULTED: Jane Bathori, On the Interpretation of the Mélodies of Claude Debussy, transl. and with an introduction by Linda Laurent (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1998). Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs, transl. by Winifred Radford (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977). Pierre Bernac, The Interpretation of French Song, transl. by Winifred Radford(New York: W.W. Norton, 1978). Elaine Brody, Paris: The Musical Kaleidoscope 1870-1925 (New York: George Braziller, 1987). Mary Dibbern, Carol Kimball, and Patrick Choukroun, Interpreting the Songs of Jacques Leguerney (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2001) Alan M. Gillmor, Erik Satie (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1992). James Harding, The Ox on the Roof: Scenes from musical life in Paris in the Twenties (New York: Da Capo Press, 1986). Peter Hill, ed., The Messiaen Companion (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1995). Graham Johnson, Gabriel Fauré: The Songs and their Poets (London: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, 2009) Graham Johnson and Richard Stokes, A French Song Companion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Carol Kimball, Song: A Guide to Art Song Style and Literature (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 2005). Carol Kimball and Richard Walters, eds., The French Song Anthology (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 2001). Timothy LeVan, Masters of the French Art Song (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991). Barbara Meister, Nineteenth-Century French Song (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1980). Wilfrid Mellers, Francis Poulenc (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). Arbie Orenstein, Ravel: Man and Musician (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975). Nancy Perloff, Art and the Everyday: Popular Entertainment in the Circle of Erik Satie(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) Caroline Potter, Henri Dutilleux: His Life and Works (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 1997). Francis Poulenc, Moi et mes amis: Confidences recueilles par Stéphane Audel (Paris: La Palatine, 1963). Francis Poulenc, Diary of my Songs [Journal de mes mélodies] transl. by Winifred Radford (London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 1985) Marie-Claire Rohinsky, ed., The Singer’s Debussy (New York: Pelion Press, 1987) Roger Shattuck, The Banquet Years (New York: Vintage Books, 1968). 20TH CENTURY FRENCH ART SONGS Mélodies française du XXe siècle Edited by Carol Kimball Published by Éditions Durand DF 16250/HL 50565798 High Voice edition DF 16251/HL 50565799 Medium/Low Voice edition Distributed in Europe and Asia by Hal Leonard MGB Distributed in North and South America by Hal Leonard Distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Hal Leonard Australia Download & Print Introductory Notes Complete Online Introductory Notes, Unabridged copyright © 2015 Editions Durand An abridged version of editor Carol Kimball’s “Introduction” appears in the High Voice and Medium/Low Voice publications. Her complete length “Introduction” appears below. See the publications for the poetry texts in French and translations in English. GEORGES AURIC CLAUDE DEBUSSY HENRI DUTILLEUX GABRIEL FAURÉ REYNALDO HAHN ARTHUR HONEGGER JACQUES LEGUERNEY OLIVIER MESSIAEN DARIUS MILHAUD FRANCIS POULENC MAURICE RAVEL ALBERT ROUSSEL ERIK SATIE DÉODAT DE SÉVERAC GEORGES AURIC (1899-1983) George Auric was something of a child prodigy, performing a piano recital at the Musicale Indépendante at the age of fourteen. The following year, the Société Nationale de Musique performed several songs he had composed. He studied composition at the Paris Conservatoire with Georges Caussade, and later with Vincent d’Indy and Albert Roussel at the Schola Cantorum de Paris. Before he was twenty, Auric had orchestrated and written incidental music for several stage productions and ballets. He composed a significant amount of avant-garde music during the years between 1910-20. Around 1914, he widened his acquaintances to include members of Les Six, a group of composers informally associated with Erik Satie and Jean Cocteau, and became a part of their group. Auric and Francis Poulenc became fast friends and remained so for life. Music criticism was an important part of Auric’s career; his writing focused on promoting the ideals of Les Six and Cocteau. He was also especially known for his film scores, which are consistently imaginative. He forged a major career in the English movies of the 1940s and ’50s. Among his most well-known scores is the music for the film Moulin Rouge. Other popular film titles with scores by Auric include The Lavender Hill Mob, Roman Holiday, Beauty and the Beast, and Bonjour Tristesse. In 1962 he became the director of the Opéra National de Paris and later, chairman of SACEM, the French Performing Rights Society. Auric continued to write classical chamber music until his death. Le Jeune sanguine (1940) from Trois Poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin poem by Louise de Vilmorin (1902-1969) This mélodie is the second song in Auric’s cycle titled Trois poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin. Vilmorin’s poetry reverberates with sensitivity to affairs of the heart. She was one of Poulenc’s preferred poets; he set her poetry when writing specifically for the female voice, such as in Fiançailles pour rire. A sort of veiled humor is at the heart of this text that describes a young hussy whose lover departs early with the dawn’s first light, leaving her weeping disconsolately. Auric provides a prelude and postlude for formal balance as the miserable young woman mourns her loss. He also inserts several unexpected and amusing measures of a tango as the young man arches his back and leaves the sound of her sobbing. For his three Vilmorin songs, Auric used the style of a chansonette, or more popular song. Printemps (1935) Poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) Auric composed this lilting waltz song for a play by Edouard Bourdet titled La Reine Margot (1935). The celebrated musical theatre actress-singer Yvonne Printemps created the role of Queen Margot of Navarre at Théâtre de la Michodière. Auric and Francis Poulenc collaborated on the incidental music for this play; Poulenc took the second act, Auric the first. Poulenc composed the Suite française and the song “A sa guitare”; Auric’s contribution was “Printemps.” Yvonne Printemps sang both songs in the play. Both composers used texts by Pierre de Ronsard, and the musical style of each is reminiscent of the Renaissance. Ronsard’s original poem had twenty-three stanzas. Auric set only the first three. BACK TO TOP CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918) Claude Debussy wrote expertly for the voice and was acutely responsive to transforming poetic nuance into musical expression. Possibly no other French composer was as attuned to blending poetry and music. His literary taste was highly refined and he maintained a visible and active role in the literary and artistic circles of his time. He chose to set poetry of his contemporaries, notably Verlaine and Mallarmé. Verlaine’s verse with its inherent musical qualities, provided Debussy with poetry for numerous works. For Debussy, poetry as poetry was the paramount determinant of the musical texture. His ability to detect the essence of a poem and perfectly transform it into musical expression makes his mélodies unique in the history of French song. Le promenoir des deux amants (1904, 1910) poems by Tristan l’Hermite (c. 1601-1656) “Auprès de cette grotte sombre,” the first song, made its first appearance with the title “La Grotte,” song two of Trois chansons de France of 1904. In 1910, it was retitled and combined with two other poems by Tristan l’Hermite (“Crois mon conseil, chère Climène” and “Je tremble en voyant ton visage”) to form the miniature cycle Le Promenoir de deux amants, which has been called the finest of all Debussy’s works for voice and piano. It is also the least-often performed. Debussy chose the texts from Les Amours de Tristan, a collection by the seventeenth-century poet Tristan l’Hermite. The poems are set close to a grotto, secluded and silent. The transparent, barely stirring waters mingle with the silence of the cloistered spot, creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Debussy establishes an intimate, tender mood immediately and maintains this fragile mix of sound and color throughout the three mélodies. The interplay of resonance and texture in voice and piano results in an exquisite blend of light and shade, perfectly complementing l’Hermite’s poetic images. Subtly inflected vocal phrases are key to recreating the infinite calm and Pelléas-like atmosphere of the poetry, a perfect fusion of stillness and sensuality. Fêtes galantes II (1904) poems by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) Debussy’s fascination with the work of the French Symbolist poet Paul Verlaine resulted in his setting to music no fewer than seventeen of Verlaine’s texts. He composed two sets of three songs each, both titled Fêtes galantes, the first in 1892, and the second in 1904. Fêtes galantes II, Debussy’s last setting of Verlaine, closely following the composition of his opera Pélleas et Mélisande, is representative of the composer’s mature vocal works. It is marked by sparser textures, freer tonalities and a more concentrated compositional style than the first set; but like the first set, Fêtes galantes II presents three unrelated songs. None of the Watteau-like scenes are found here; rather, these three poems are filled with mystery, and are without sentimentality. The theme of time appears in each of the poems: the first, sentimental youthful remembrances; the second, inexorable fleeting time; and finally in the last song, time never to be reclaimed. “Les Ingénus” recalls the first awakenings of sexual attraction, and deals with the breathless awe with which a group of unsophisticated young men of the mid-nineteenth century view their similarly naïve female companions. The scene unfolds in a highly chromatic texture, skillfully balanced to preserve the delicate, poignant images in Verlaine’s verse. Debussy’s free-floating harmonies are carefully contrived to complement the uncertain emotions and repressed sensations of the youths in the poem. “Le Faune” begins with a prelude; time unravels in an inflexible dance featuring a rhythmic, hypnotic figure in the piano, imaging the traditional reed pipe and “tambourin,” a small drum played with a stick. The old terra-cotta statue in Verlaine’s poem is probably the woodland god Pan, playing a monotonous rhythm that is both sensual and slightly menacing, matching the mood of the two mélancolique pélerins. Mesmerized by the repetitive rhythms of drum and reed flute, the dejected travelers are caught in the whirlpool of passing time, which spins past as they watch helplessly. “Colloque sentimental.” Colloquial (colloque) refers to ordinary speech or conversation. This disturbing poem is the touchstone of one of Debussy’s great mélodies. It is the last poem in Verlaine’s collection titled Fêtes galantes, and provides a chilling climax. It blends themes of despair, death and disillusion. In this extraordinary song, the ghosts of two lovers meet in a wintry park. As they speak of their former love, their words match the setting: glacial and detached from feeling. Throughout the song their wintry words are enhanced by Debussy’s simple and subtle vocal treatment: one voice urgent and persistent, the other stonily indifferent. Debussy’s manipulation of musical texture between voice and piano is masterful. The sparse vocal lines are almost speech-like, and the piano figures mirror the frozen landscape in which this conversation–equally cold–takes place. The song’s kinship to Debussy’s opera Pélleas et Mélisande is unmistakable. The listener becomes one with the poem’s narrator, straining to see and hear the couple’s conversation in the icy cold of the deserted, frozen park. Debussy reaches back to “En sourdine” (the first mélodie of Fêtes galantes I), takes the wistful song of the nightingale, and inserts it into this song at various points. The nightingale’s melody (“voix de nôtre dessespoir, le rossignol chantera”) provides a touching and melancholy association, linking the two sets of Fêtes galantes together symbolically and musically, foreshadowing the disenchantment of love hinted at in “En sourdine” with the lovers’ conversation in “Colloque sentimental,” and unifying the two sets by a subtle musical component. This panel of three mélodies was Debussy’s last setting of the poetry of Paul Verlaine. Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maisons (1915) poem by the composer This is Debussy’s last song, written to his own text, a Christmas carol for children made homeless by World War I. Its intensity comes from its simple sincerity. Debussy composed it on the eve of his first operation for the cancer that would end his life two years later. It was his personal protest against the invasion of northern France by the German armies. When asked for permission to orchestrate the song, Debussy refused, saying, “I want this piece to be sung with the most discreet accompaniment. Not a word of the text must be lost, inspired as it is by the rapacity of our enemies. It is the only way I have to fight the war.” Originally composed in 1915 for piano and voice, Debussy also created a version for children’s chorus, and in 1916, a version for piano and two sopranos. BACK TO TOP HENRI DUTILLEUX (1916-2013) Henri Dutilleux studied at the Paris Conservatory with Maurice Emmanuel. He received the Prix de Rome in 1938 at age twenty-two, and went on to work at the Paris Opéra and the French Radio. France’s musical institutions defined his career: in 1961, he joined the faculty at the école Normale de Musique, teaching composition. In 1970, he taught at the Paris Conservatoire. He destroyed many of his early works, considering them derivative of Ravel, the preeminent composer in France during his youth. His music that had been published avoided demolition. After World War II, Dutilleux concentrated almost exclusively on instrumental and orchestral music, much of which has been widely programmed and recorded. His songs are not well known. In the chronological catalogue of his compositions, beginning in 1929, the Quatre mélodies for mezzo soprano or baritone is only the eleventh entry. It also exists in an orchestral version. The collection is dedicated to the French baritone Charles Panzéra and his wife, pianist Magdeleine Panzéra-Baillot, prominent interpreters of French song in the interwar years. Gabriel Fauré dedicated his last cycle, L’horizon chimérique, to Panzéra. Quatre mélodies (1942) uses poems by four different poets and presents a delightful collection of moods, although it must be admitted that the level of the poetry is not uniformly high: “Féérie au clair de lune” (poem by Raymond Genty), a graceful scherzo of dancing fairies that evokes Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; “Pour une amie perdue” (Edmond Borsent); “Regards sur l’infini” (Anna de Noailles); and “Fantasio” (André Bellessort). The last mélodie is the most successful of the set and is one of two songs from the set (the other being “Pour une amie perdue”) that Dutilleux acknowledged. He wanted to exclude the first and third songs because their poetry was relatively mediocre. Fantasio (1942) from Quatre Mélodies poem by André Bellessort (1866-1942) “Fantasio” (the original title of Bellessort’s poem is “Les funérailles de Fantasio”) is a colorful poem that chronicles the funeral of the titled character, who has expired before the text begins. The poem, set in Venice during Carnival, is full of glittering and compelling imagery that changes quickly, following the pace of the Carnival. Musical textures are skillfully handled and exhibit some of Dutilleux’s developing style. “Pauvre Fantasio,” is heard several times during the text, acting as both a funereal chant that unifies the proceedings and perhaps as well, keeping the mourners’ footsteps marching together. BACK TO TOP GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924) Gabriel Fauré was one of the great composers of French song who, with Duparc and Debussy, perfected the mélodie as a true art song form. He composed about a hundred songs, all original in conception, constantly developing in style, and pointing the way to future works. His songs express a broad range of emotion and a great variety of musical textures, extending the musical parameters of the genre and inspiring new techniques of song compositions. His songs are often divided into three compositional periods for purposes of study and definition. Fauré has been characterized as a skillful watchmaker; with great precision his songs, which overflow with subtle nuances and delicate detail. His approach is in keeping with the French musical aesthetic: elegant and rational, dealing with sentiment rather than literal sensation. He was able to capture the entire poetic mood of each poem he set and to create an aura around it with his musical setting. Dans la fôret de septembre, Op. 85, No. 1 (1902) poem by Catulle Mendès (1841-1909) This touching poem symbolizes the onset of old age. Mendès was among the founders of a literary magazine, La Revue fantaisiste, which published many poems of the Parnassian poets. Fauré’s musical style perfectly suited this style of poetry: elegance of style, richness of rhyme, regularity and symmetry of rhythm. The Parnassians avoided the excessively romantic and aimed for “art-for-art’s sake.” Fauré was nearly sixty years old when he composed this mélodie, and his reaction to this poem is beautifully poignant. The words describe the poet’s reflective walk through a quiet, somber forest, capturing the chill of mortality and the overall mood of the turning point of life. The ancient forest, sensing a kindred spirit, provides the walker with a sign of friendship and understanding. Fauré set this contemplative poem in a rich harmonic musical texture with a vocal line that borders on quasi-recitative-like shapes. The solemn thoughts of old age call forth a melancholy, but it is a subtle melancholy. It is almost hymn-like in the fusion of words, emotions, and musical texture. This mélodie may be considered as marking the threshold to the final period of Fauré’s compositions. Accompagnement, Op. 85, No. 3 (1902) poem by Albert Victor Samain (1858-1900) This mélodie is a beautiful barcarolle–a nighttime scene, silvery and hazy, alluring but unreal. The image of the poet rowing on the lake is reflected in the musical texture. Fauré had a lifelong fascination with water imagery in music; this poem offers a little reel of unfolding pictures of a moonlight journey a dark lake. The words “dans le rêve” tell us that this is all a dream. This is a rarely sung Fauré mélodie that yields great rewards for the performer. Chanson, Op. 94 (1906) poem by Henri di Régnier (1864-1936) This poem has a gentle charm and a calm simplicity. It is the last of Fauré’s madrigals that include delicate love songs such as “Lydia,” and “Clair de lune.” It has a wonderful fluidity that is a perfect foil for the poetic images The text is a simple set of variations on one theme: nothing on earth has any meaning unless the beloved somehow touches it. Fauré’s reaction to the words called forth a musical setting of delicate transparency and limited range. It is not well known; like “Le Don silencieux,” “Chanson” was published as a single song and therefore not widely disseminated. It is an example of exquisitely planned musical economy, and definitely belongs in Fauré’s third period of musical compositions. Le Don silencieux, Op. 92 (1906) poem by Marie Closset (1875-1952), under the pseudonym Jean Dominique Here is another little known Fauré song, a rarity because it was published separately and was never included in any of the Fauré recueils. The poem has a gentle melancholy–the plea of a timid lover, a mixture of hope and imagined disappointment. The words are tender and flowing, but the overall mood is one of unrelieved sadness. This song marks the beginning of Fauré’s third compositional period, which includes the cycles La Chanson d’Eve, Le Jardin clos, Mirages, and L’Horizon chimérique. Writing of this mélodie in a letter to his wife, Fauré said, It does not in the least resemble any of my previous works, nor anything that I am aware of; I am very pleased about this...It translates the words gradually as they unfold themselves; it begins, opens out, and finishes, nothing more, nevertheless it is unified. 1 NOTES: Quoted in Graham Johnson, Gabriel Fauré: The Songs and their Poets (London: Guildhall School of Music and Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2009), 291. Quotation from Jean-Michel Nectoux, Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life, trans. Roger Nichols (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 304. This is a translation of Fauré’s letter to his wife of 17 August 1906. BACK TO TOP REYNALDO HAHN (1875-1947) Reynaldo Hahn, Venezuelan by birth, came to Paris with his family at age four and made a brilliant career. In addition to his career as a composer and singer, he was director of the Paris Opéra, music critic for the newspaper Figaro, and conductor of the Salzburg Festival. He was enough of a scholar to edit some of the works of Rameau. He maintained close friendships throughout his life with actress Sarah Bernhardt and writer Marcel Proust. During the Belle époque, French mélodie was at the height of its development. Hahn was a habitué of the most fashionable salons, where he was in demand as a performer. On these occasions, he usually sang and played his own accompaniment, often with a cigarette dangling from his lips. The art of singing was one of his major passions, and he wrote three books on singing (Du chant, Thèmes varies, and L’oreille au guet), as well as a memoir of Sarah Bernhardt. Hahn’s songs are models of French restraint–devoid of overt display, with beautiful melodies in a modest vocal range. They reflect the style of his teacher, Jules Massenet. Hahn composed approximately ninety-five works for solo voice: eighty-four mélodies, five English songs to texts of Robert Louis Stevenson, and six Italian songs in the Venetian dialect. After 1912, Hahn composed in larger forms: opera, operetta, and film music. Perhaps his most famous work is his operetta Ciboulette (1923), which is still performed. À Chloris (1916) poem by Théophile de Viau (1590-1626) “À Chloris” is No. 14 in Deuxième volume de vingt mélodies, the last major publication of Hahn’s songs during his lifetime. In many of his later songs, he turned to a deliberately archaic style. “À Chloris” features an elegant vocal line above a piano texture that features Baroque musical characteristics; it is its own piece, with ornamented melody and chaconne-like bass. Vocal line and piano piece are woven into a musical tapestry that is both declarative and intimate. Poet Théophile de Viau was considered one of the most influential libertin poets during Louis XIII’s reign. The libertins’ verses had a unique charm that is instantly appealing, but somewhat artificial. Despite this, de Viau’s love poetry is not bland, but full of suggestive passion and elegant wit. BACK TO TOP ARTHUR HONEGGER (1892-1955) Arthur Honegger composed over forty mélodies for voice and piano. Taken as a whole, they are diverse and imaginative. For his texts, he favored contemporary poets such as Jean Cocteau, Guillaume Apollinaire, Paul Claudel, and Paul Fort. He also chose to set unrelated poems by a single poet, such as his Poesies (Cocteau) and Alcools (Apollinaire). Poetry with strong imagery appealed to the dramatist in his personality. For Honegger, as for most successful mélodie composers, the word provides the starting place. He is quoted as saying: For me, the music a song is always dependent upon the poetic model. It must join so closely with the poetry, that they become inseparable and one can picture the poem in wholly musical terms. This is not to say that the music becomes subservient. It must be so crafted that it can stand on its own merits, playable without the text, logical and complete. 1 Born of Swiss parents in Le Havre, France, Arthur Honegger initially studied for two years at the Zurich Conservatory, but enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire from 1911 to 1918, studying with Charles-Marie Widor and Vincent d’Indy. Some of his more familiar large vocal works include the dramatic psalm Le roi David (King David), composed in 1921 and still in the choral repertoire; and his dramatic oratorio of 1935, Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Joan of Arc at the stake), with text by Paul Claudel, considered to be one of his finest works. Between the world wars, he composed nine ballets and three vocal stage works, among works in other genres. His total compositional catalog is an impressive list of music: orchestral works, chamber music, concertos, ballets, operas, operettas, and oratorios. Widely known as a train enthusiast, he was passionately interested in locomotives, to which he attributed almost human characteristics. His “mouvement symphonique,” Pacific 231, gained him early acclaim in 1923. Honegger’s musical style is a fascinating mixture of impressionistic effects peppered with penetrating dissonances. He had a fondness for mixing tonalities and using modality. His compositions for the voice display an eclectic focus of coloristic harmonies and architectural clarity. He was a member of Les Six, but unlike most of that group, did not share their overwhelming reaction against German romanticism. Honegger’s musical style is fuller and more serious than his colleagues. He and Darius Milhaud were close friends. Honegger’s generous body of song has proved of enduring interest to contemporary performers. His was a distinctive voice in the vocal music of the twentieth-century French mélodie. Trois Psaumes (1940-41) from the Huguenot Psalter Psaumes XXXIV and CXL translated by Théodore de Bèze (1519-1605) Psaume CXXXVIII translated by Clément Marot (1496-1544) The spirit of Bach shines in the first psaume, “Psalm 34,” in which a chant-like vocal line alternates with a gently moving episodic keyboard part. This call and response continues until the last three vocal phrases, when the vocal line merges with the instrumental texture in a psalm of praise. The second song is “Psalm 140,” “ô Dieu donne-moi la déliverance de cet homme pernicieux” (O God, deliver me from this evil man). Honegger’s biographer, Harry Halbreich, suggests that the “evil man” who was oppressing Europe in those last days of 1940 might be the reason for Honegger’s text choice. This piece was composed before the first and third songs. Its emotional mood peaks with the chorale tune “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” 2 The last song in the set, “Psalm 138,” has the Latin title “Confiteor tibi, Domine” (I thank thee, O Lord) and is a paraphrase by Clément Marot, one of the greatest of the French Renaissance poets. It contains a familiar chorale tune, which is used in canon between voice and piano. NOTES: Arthur Canter and Rachel Joselson, Liner notes, The Songs of Arthur Honegger and Jacques Leguerney. Rachel Joselson, Réne Lecuona , piano. Albany Records, TROY691, 2004. Harry Halbreich, trans. Roger Nichols, Arthur Honegger (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1999), 165. BACK TO TOP JACQUES LEGUERNEY (1906-1997) Most of Jacques Leguerney’s sixty-eight mélodies were composed and published from 1940 to 1964. Many were commissioned and premiered by French baritone Gérard Souzay, his sister, soprano Geneviève Touraine, and pianist Jacqueline Bonneau. Early songs are comparable in mood and style with Ravel or Roussel (who encouraged Leguerney’s composition); later songs have been compared to those of his contemporary, Poulenc. Leguerney writes virtuoso piano parts–often dramatic, and with such an individual sense of harmonic style and color that Pierre Bernac reportedly described them as “mélodies de pianist.” 1 When asked about Leguerney’s songs, Gérard Souzay wrote, “How does one describe this music which is, at the same time, classic and modern? It is pure, but colorfully nuanced; it speaks to the heart as well as the mind–at times calm at times witty–wise, yet sensual...” 2 Many of Leguerney’s songs deal with themes of love and nature, expressing a huge range of emotions from deeply felt meditation to wild, ribald humor. Leguerney stopped composing in 1964, and his songs became neglected. The quality of Leguerney’s text setting, lyrical beauty, and harmonic innovations all call for his songs to be better known and more widely performed. Jacques Leguerney was drawn to the work of Renaissance poets, notably Ronsard. There are eight collections titled Poèmes de la Pléaide, representing settings of sixteenth and seventeenth-century French poetry and totaling thirty-two songs. Additionally, there are cycles and other collections [for a complete listing of Leguerney’s songs, see Dibbern, Kimball, and Choukroun, Interpreting the Songs of Jacques Leguerney]. 3 They may be thought of as the last in the great mainstream of twentieth-century French song. La Caverne d’écho (1954) from Poèmes de la Pléiade, Volume 7 poem by Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant (1594-1661) Dedication: Josiane and Jean Cier. First performance: Bernard Kruysen, baritone; Jean-Charles Richard, pianist. 29 May 1965, Radio France Culture. Marc-Antoine Girard, sieur de Saint-Amant, wrote poetry of great descriptive power, and his use of language set him apart from the other seventeenth-century poets. He was also an adept musician and skillful lute player, writing verses that often describe musical sounds linked to visual images. The poem takes place in a dark cave, home of the nymph, Echo; it is a charmed place, absolutely still and peaceful. The poet’s lute resounds inside the cavern as he tries to soothe the inconsolable Echo, who mourns for her lover Narcissus. Leguerney creates the grotto’s mysterious resonance with bitonality. Piano figures illustrate the strumming of the lute. The text contains many sounds with the consonant “r.” The rolling quality of this speech sonority re-creates the cavern’s resonance. The closing measures of the mélodie produce a striking effect as the singer’s voice echoes eerily in the cavern, blending with the piano’s resonance and creating a remarkably realistic echo. À son page (1944) from Poèmes de la Pléiade, Volume 2 poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) Dedicated to Gérard Souzay. First performance: Gérard Souzay, baritone; Jacqueline Robin (Bonneau). 3 May 1945, Salle Gaveau, Paris. This is a lusty scene with four characters: a nobleman tipsy from drink, his page, and two women, Jeanne and Barbe. Carpe diem is the theme here. The singer philosophizes on this idea while enjoying his wine and the tender companionship of the two beautiful women. Leguerney evokes the crackling staccato of a stylized harpsichord with rhythmic accents in the piano. The text is brilliantly set with jagged vocal lines and driving rhythms that illustrate the singer’s intoxication. It ends with Leguerney’s repetition of the last poetic line and the addition of nonsense syllables which fit beautifully into the imagery and mood of Ronsard’s colorful characters. Je me lamente (1943) from Poèmes de la Pléiade, Volume 1 poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) Dedicated to Geneviève Touraine. First performance: Paul Derenne, tenor; Jeanne Blancard, pianist. 29 March 1944, Salle de l’Ecole Normale de Musique, Paris. This is one of Leguerney’s most beautiful songs, setting Pierre de Ronsard’s text from his collection of love poems for Marie Dupin, a country girl from a small village in southern France. She was half his age and probably represented the youth he constantly pursued. It has been suggested that the Marie in question was probably Marie de Clèves, passionately adored by Henri III. 4 Leguerney called this mélodie a constant crescendo from beginning to end. 5 Ronsard’s anguish is captured with a texture of stark chords, crowned by a regal and sustained vocal line. As the song progresses, the poet’s anguish is embodied in a more expansive texture, bidding Marie a happy resting place near God or in the Elysian fields. NOTES: Liner notes by Mary Dibbern. Mélodies sur poèmes de la Renaissance (Jacques Leguerney).Harmonia Mundi France. LP recording HMC 1171. Letter to the author. Quoted in Mary Dibbern, Carol Kimball, and Patrick Choukroun. Interpreting the Songs of Jacques Leguerney (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2001), 3. Ibid., 289-295. Ibid., 69. See note 20. Ibid., 70. BACK TO TOP OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908-1992) Olivier Messiaen was born in 1908 in Avignon, France, into a literary family. He grew up around words and absorbed their shapes, colors and sounds naturally. His father, Pierre Messiaen, was a well-known translator of Shakespeare, and his mother, Cécile Sauvage, was a poet. As a youngster, before beginning to compose music, he had an especially perceptive ear attuned to the unique prosody of the French language. Early in his compositional career, he published a book titled Technique de mon langage musical (1944). About his musical setting of words, Jane Manning observes: ...the syllables themselves create a glittering mosaic of sonorities and subtle resonances, in addition to their actual meaning (many of the poems do not translate at all satisfactorily). The composer’s awareness of the minutiae of verbal enunciations and articulations is miraculous. Each vocal sound can be precisely placed as intended, all dynamics are scrupulously plotted, and the performer’s involvement and intimate connection to the music is enhanced by the sensual nature of words projection... 1 He often used stained glass to explain his music. When viewed from a distance, the myriad details blend into a single entity, whose purpose is to dazzle the listener. Understanding is not necessary, feeling is the prime requisite. The music of Olivier Messiaen is a skillfully designed and unique language, with meaning and form kept separate. Its meaning is unchangeable, harkening back to Gregorian chant, culminating in instruments that are able to prolong sound (organ, strings, or the ondes Martenot). Messiaen’s musical language is defined by its rhythms and tone colors. His uncanny instinct for associating sound with color produced works unique in their concept of the combination of sounds. He said that when he heard or read music, his mind’s eye saw colors that move with the music; he sensed these colors, and at times he precisely indicated their arrangements in his scores. His fascination with birdsong was lifelong; he referred to himself as an ornithologist and tracked birds and their songs all over the world. He considered their resonances as songs and not merely sounds. He notated these on manuscript paper and they found their way into his music. Trois mélodies (1930) poems by Olivier Messiaen, Cécile Sauvage (1883-1927) This little cycle of songs is Messiaen’s first recognized work for voice and piano. The songs are modest in length and not typical of Messiaen’s later style, but show influences of late Fauré and Duparc in the overall musical texture. There is only one song in his vocal compositions in which Messiaen set the poetry of another poet. It is found in this cycle, which uses the text of his mother, the poet Cécile Sauvage, who died three years before the composition of this work. The three movements form a warm and delicate little triptych. Two of Messiaen’s own poems stand on either side of the poem by Cécile Sauvage, throwing that charming little poem into high relief. “Pourquoi?” introduces a litany of the pleasures of nature: birdsong, the unfolding seasons, and water images. The poet becomes emotional, asking why all these bring him no joy. “La Sourire,” the shortest song of the set, is a beautiful microcosm of intimate and spiritual understanding between two people. It is a delicate example of musical economy and word setting in a quasi-recitative style. The last song, “La fiancée perdue,” offers fleeting hints of Messiaen’s cycle to come, Poèmes pour Mi–most specifically, the final song. Here, the poet prays for divine blessing on the soul of the “fiancée” in the title. The fervent incantation illuminates and affirms man’s connection to a higher authority. Examining the poetic content of the three texts, we are struck by the images that underlie the words: the emotional outburst “pourquoi,” (why?), perhaps questioning the death of Cécile, followed by Cécile’s tender affirmation of love, and finally, the prayer asking for Divine grace and the blessing of the soul of the departed. NOTES: Jane Manning, “The Songs and Song Cycles,” in The Messiaen Companion, ed. Peter Hill (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1995), 107. BACK TO TOP DARIUS MILHAUD (1892-1974) Darius Milhaud was probably the most prolific composer of the group known as Les Six (Francis Poulenc, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Germaine Tailleferre, Georges Auric, and Milhaud). The group was unified by friendship rather than a single musical style. Championed by influential writer Jean Cocteau and composer Erik Satie, Les Six often presented their works at the same concerts and met with great regularity–often at Milhaud’s house–to make music and exchange ideas. Louis Durey observed that it was the wide diversity in their personalities and musical styles that gave the group its rich depth and permitted its development. Embodied in the credo of their musical thought was relative sparseness of texture and clarity. Turn-of-the-century France offered popular entertainments that drew the French to an environment of merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries, outdoor concerts, circuses, and a jumble of excitement. Milhaud was fascinated by Parisian street life, and could hear the sounds of the Montmartre fair from his apartment. Often on their group outings, Les Six went together to the Cirque de Médrano to see the Fratellinis, a famous family of clowns of that day. Milhaud observed that their acts were worthy of the Commedia dell’arte. 1 Trois Poèmes de Jean Cocteau, Op. 59 (1920) poems by Jean Cocteau (1889-1963) Trois poèmes de Jean Cocteau is like lyric fragments. The small-range vocal lines have a sparse lyricism–one of emotional mood rather than overt melody. The little mélodies are skillful studies in brevity. These match Cocteau’s rather enigmatic poems that exemplify the style termed dépouillé (stripped to the essentials), his aesthetic creed. Milhaud dedicated the songs to Satie. The three miniatures are a colorful kaleidoscope of the circus and the outdoor fairs that entranced the French during this period. “Fumée” describes the equestrienne of the Cirque Médrano atop a horse, jumping through hoops, captured in Toulouse-Lautrec’s familiar painting titled “L’écuyère au Cirque Fernando (1888); “Fête de Bordeaux” is a description of the merry-go-round at the Bordeaux fair; and “Fête de Montmartre” evokes the nighttime boats and sailors, possibly having to do with a game involving camouflaged ships found at the Montmartre fair. Milhaud infuses stylistic and melodic elements of folk songs and children’s tunes into the tiny pieces, tying the innate excitement of these popular destinations to simple, childlike reactions. NOTES: Laurence Davies, The Gallic Muse (New York: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1967), 164. BACK TO TOP FRANCIS POULENC (1899-1963) Francis Poulenc’s 150 mélodies form the largest body of songs to be added to French vocal literature in the twentieth century. Poulenc’s flair for the dramatic, combined with his superb skill in mixing poetry and music, produced songs that singers find immensely gratifying, not only for their musical value, but for their heightened sense of drama. Poulenc’s mélodies reflect concern and feeling for declamation, inflection, breathing, and above all, show extraordinary warmth of feeling for the human voice. He was fond of saying, “J’aime la voix humaine!” The sophistication of Poulenc’s songs spring from their poetic inspirations. Poulenc was quite knowledgeable about poetry, and chose his texts carefully. His gift of divining the inner life of the texts he set produced songs that do more than merely illustrate the poems. His gift for melody is at the very heart of all his songs and seems to assert itself naturally in shaping the color, weight, and meaning of the texts he set. Ce doux petit visage (1938) poem by Paul éluard (1895-1952) Paul Eluard was one of Poulenc’s three main poets. This is a beautiful introduction to Eluard’s poetry, lyrical and passionately intense. The simplicity of Poulenc’s setting allows the poem to shine. It is one of Poulenc’s tiny gems, and he admitted his partiality to the short song. Eluard’s skill at evoking nostalgia and melancholy are seen here, linked to lost youth. The mélodie is dedicated to the memory of Raymonde Linossier, Poulenc’s most intimate childhood friend, who influenced his literary taste and musical tendencies. He said: “I have a great liking for this short song. Raymonde Linossier was my best advisor for the music of my youth. How many times, during the years since her death, I would have liked to have had her opinion on this or the other of my works.” 1 La Grenouillère (1938) poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) “La Grenouillère” is an outstanding example of Poulenc’s romantic lyricism. This is a text by Guillaume Apollinaire describing the Ile de Croissy, an island in the Seine on the outskirts of Paris, frequented by artists and their models, and celebrated in paintings by Monet, Manet, and Renoir. “The Froggery” was a restaurant on the island. The overall images of happy days that cannot be relived can be seen in Pierre Auguste Renoir’s paintings Les Déjeuner des canotiers (The Boatman’s Luncheon), or La Grenouillère. In this lament for boating parties on the Seine, vocal phrases are sustained and languid, floating over a slowly rocking piano accompaniment. The lazy piano figures mirror the empty tethered boats rocking on the water, bumping against each other, and give expression to the sweet melancholy of the poet’s words. Montparnasse (1945) poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) Apollinaire’s poem is dated 1912. Poulenc writes in his journal of songs that it took him four years to complete “Montparnasse,” almost phrase by phrase, and that he had no regrets about the length of time it took because “it is one of my best songs.” 2 It is a sentimental and heartfelt tribute to Paris. Both Apollinaire and Poulenc loved the city and it played a continuing role in their work. “Montparnasse” is about the idyllic artistic existence lived at the edge of Paris. Poulenc wrote in his diary: “Let us imagine this Montparnasse all at once discovered by Picasso, Braque, Modigliani, Apollinaire.” 3 The mélodie has a carefree nonchalance about it; it is not sad, but thoughtful– a beautiful blend of poetic and musical lyricism. Poulenc’s vocal and harmonic textures are full of surprising harmonic details that bind this song–which he composed in fragments–together into a touching and expressive picture of Paris in the early years of the twentieth century. Bleuet (1939) poem by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) Guillaume Apollinaire was one of Poulenc’s preferred poets. This is a wartime poem that Apollinaire penned in 1917 in Paris in convalescence after a head injury; both Apollinaire and Poulenc served in World War II. There are several word plays at work here. “Bleuet” was the nickname for French soldiers in World War I, because their uniforms were blue, like the color of a little cornflower, which is a “bleuet.” Also, “Un bleu” was the term used for a raw recruit. “Bleuet” is one of Poulenc’s most moving songs– agonizing in its emotional content yet noble in its message. It is a quiet and private moment in which a twenty-year-old boy who does not yet know all that life can be, is characterized–and addressed–by the poet in a sweetly serious speech. Poulenc wrote that for him, the key to the poem were the words, “It is five o’clock and you would know how to die.” 4 This song is simple, intimate, and poignant. Les Chemins de l’amour (1940) poem by Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) Poulenc composed this valse chantée as incidental music for Léocadia, a play by Jean Anouilh. Within the play, the song was described as a pseudo Viennese waltz, and functioned as a leitmotiv in the plot. Sung by Yvonne Printemps, one of France’s most celebrated musical theatre stars, “Les Chemins de l’amour” became a popular success. It embodies the relaxed elegance of a self-styled Viennese waltz style, encased in one of Poulenc’s haunting melodies. Banalités (1940) poems by Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) Banalités is not a cycle, but a group of five songs. The poems have no connection with each other; however, their order provides a well-constructed recital group. They may be performed separately. The work is one of Poulenc’s most popular vocal works, and deservedly so. Poulenc chose contrasting poems, placing them so that the collection begins briskly and ends with lyrical gravity. “Chanson d’Orkenise” is Poulenc’s title for the poem contained in the strange mixture of prose and poetry that Apollinaire called Onirocritique. Orkenise is a road in Autun leading to the Roman gate of the same name. The musical setting has the feeling of a popular folk song. The narrator sings of a tramp leaving the city and a carter who is entering it - one leaving his heart there, one bringing his heart to be married. There is a word in the poem with a double meaning: “grise” can be translated as “gray” or “tipsy.” The merry quality of the song opens the set with gaiety, but both Apollinaire and Poulenc offer a little food for thought. “Hôtel” is a poem that immediately represented for Poulenc a hotel room in Montparnassse, where the idle poet wants only to bask in the sun’s warmth and smoke. Pierre Bernac referred to it as “the laziest song ever written.” 5 The piano figures are fashioned of Poulenc’s luxuriant chromatic harmonies, stacked as if to cushion the lethargy of the singer. “Fagnes de Wallonie” is set in the gloomy, desolate uplands of the Ardennes with a terrain of vast heaths, twisted trees, and peat bogs, swept by winds of considerable force. Its gloomy setting complements the melancholy mood of the poet. Poulenc’s spiky musical setting is a whirlwind that sweeps from beginning to end in a turbulent texture that demands precise articulation from singer and pianist. Sandwiched between Songs 3 and 5 is a tiny bonbon, “Voyage à Paris.” It resembles a little commercial jingle about Paris–“which one day love must have created”–an invitation to the pleasures of that beautiful city, away from “the dreary countryside.” Poulenc sprinkles his quicksilver setting–a valse-musette–with indications of “amiable” and “avec charme.” The composer referred to it as having “deliciously stupid lines...Anything that concerns Paris I approach with tears in my eyes and my head full of music.” 6 The cycle concludes with “Sanglots”, one of Apollinaire’s finest poems about the universality of lost love, a theme that Poulenc matches with exquisite modulations in a setting that embodies the essence of the words. The vocal lines are eloquently lyrical. The poem is difficult to understand because of the juxtaposition of the main narrative and the interior “asides,” that in effect form a poem within a poem. 7 The song has an elegant serenity that culminates in a stunning climactic point at the words: “Est mort d’amour ou c’est tout comme/ Est mort d’amour et le voici.” The ending lines of the song sustain the profoundly calm mood, bringing Banalités to its close. La Courte Paille (1960) poems by Maurice Carême (1899-1978) The last song cycle Poulenc composed was La Courte paille, on seven poems of Belgian poet Maurice Carême. Poulenc composed the songs for soprano Denise Duval, creator of leading roles in his three operas, hoping that she would sing them to her young son. Poulenc considered the mélodies very poetic and whimsical; unfortunately, Duval disliked the music and never did sing the cycle. Poulenc asked Carême to provide an overall title for the work and requested permission to change the titles of several selected poems: the original title of “Quelle aventure!” is “Une puce et l’éléphant”; “Le Reine de cœur” is “Vitres de lune”; “Le carafon” is “La carafe et le carafon.” For the cycle’s title, Carême chose La Courte Paille (The Short Straw), referring to drawing lots by the method of a short straw. Poulenc was delighted, saying the title symbolized his little musical game exactly. He also wrote in his diary, “They must be sung tenderly; that is the surest way to touch the heart of a child.” 8 The cycle is full of child-like innocence, whimsy and imagination, with a few shadowy undertones. The first song, “Le Sommeil,” is a beautiful lullaby to a restless child who cannot go to sleep, tossing and turning in his small bed. He seems ill, crying and perspiring, but hopefully will finally surrender to slumber. In “Quelle aventure!” the child describes an absurd happening: he saw a flea driving a carriage with a small elephant in it. The story grows more bizarre but the rhythmic pace never wavers, careening to the end of the song when the child wonders how on earth he’ll ever be able to persuade “Mama” that it really happened. The verses are witty, yet the shrieks of “Mon Dieu!” are laced with a feeling of childish terror. “La Reine du cœur” is a beautiful, languid melody that paints a picture of the mysterious Queen of Hearts, beckoning to visitors from her frosty castle, where she reigns over a court of lovers, including the young dead. In “Ba, Be, Bi, Bo, Bu...,” the child is chided “on all sides” about studying. The title of the song presents the French vowels, and the text contains words that make their plural with an “x” (“pou, chou, genou, hibou”). The formidable cat of the poem’s opening lines is none other than that tricky feline Puss-in-Boots! The entire song is a little tongue-twister, an exercise in diction and accuracy. “Les anges musiciens” are none other than the school children staying home on Thursday, the half-day school holiday in France in Poulenc’s time, practicing Mozart on their harps, just like good little angel musicians should do. “Le carafon” is a crazy little story of a carafe that longs for a baby carafe (carafon) just like the giraffe at the zoo, who has a girafon. This is a ridiculous rhyming game like those that children love to play. The text is full of whimsical characters: the carafe, a giraffe, a sorcerer astride a phonograph, Merlin, and finally, a carafon. “Lune d’Avril” is another lullaby, very slow and otherworldly, which serves as an epilogue. Bound together in a musical texture that features a syncopated pedal point, it is filled with enchanted images the child wishes to dream about: a land of joy, light, and flowers where all guns are silent. The ending leaves the listener suspended in a mood of unfinished magic. La Courte Paille is the last vocal music Poulenc composed. NOTES: Quoted in Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1977), 125. Francis Poulenc, Journal de mes mélodies, trans. Winifred Radford (London: Victor Gollancz, 1985), 75. Ibid., 75. Ibid., 57. Bernac, 72. Poulenc, 67. The English translation of “Sanglots” has parentheses that delineate the “asides” so that both “poems” may be seen. These may be found in Pierre Bernac’s books Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs, page 75, or The Interpretation of French Song, pages 284-85 Poulenc, 109. BACK TO TOP MAURICE RAVEL (1875-1937) The songs of Maurice Ravel represent a transition between the mature mélodies of Debussy and the vocal literature that followed, notably the songs of Les Six. Debussy dominated the French musical scene from the turn of the century until his death in 1918. It was Ravel who was regarded as the leading musical spokesman for France following World War I. He was a skillful craftsman and his songs have a sense of evenness of rhythmic structure and flow that call for scrupulous execution. The fusion of music and text into a logical whole was of utmost importance to him. He composed elegant and subtle mélodies, using classical phrase structure. His melodic phrases often tend toward modality. His songs range from those with a folk-like style to more to those that are more speech-like, and those that encompass a melodic romanticism. He was precise in his thought and his scoring, and scrupulous in his musical execution. His music encompassed some of the fascinating influences of the post-Wagnerian era. Ravel’s musical contributions were of utmost importance to this exciting and new era in French cultural history. He made notable contributions to musical literature for the piano, the French art song, opera, chamber music, orchestral literature, and the ballet. Sur l’herbe (1907) poem by Paul Verlaine (1833-1896) This mélodie is Ravel’s only setting of Verlaine. It has often been suggested that this poem was probably inspired by Watteau’s painting L’île enchantée. There is also a reference to a famous eighteenth-century dancer, Marie-Anne Cuppi, known as (La) Camargo, who was immortalized on canvas by the painter Nicolas Lancret. The scene is an outside gathering, elegant and artificial. A number of people are there, chief among them, a licentious abbé, slightly tipsy from a bit too much Cyprian wine. He exchanges a few disconnected gallantries with the ladies–innocent conversations on the surface, but sensuous in undertone. The conversation is disconnected; we do not know exactly who is speaking. Ravel shapes very flexible vocal phrases, in keeping with the abbé’s intoxicated state, underscored with graceful piano figures that evoke an eighteenth-century dance. In a letter to Jean-Aubrey, Ravel commented on “Sur l’herbe”: “In this piece, as in the Histoires naturelles, the impression must be given that one is almost not singing. A bit of preciosity is found there which is indicated moreover by the text and the music.” 1 Noël des jouets (1905) poem by the composer This is the only solo song for which Ravel wrote the text. It describes a Christmas manger scene, replete with the Virgin and Christ-child, animals, and angels. It embodies Ravel’s delight with tiny mechanical toys and figures, and his fascination with the unspoiled world of child-like experience. His genius for text painting is displayed in the delightful mélodie. The mechanical toys come to life in the piano figures. Ravel’s charming text creates the images around and over the crèche, with not a word wasted. Ravel commented that the music is “clear and plain, like the mechanical toys of the poem.” 2 This little song foreshadows other Ravel settings of make-believe, beginning with the song cycle Histoires naturelles and culminating with his opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges. The music of menacing dog Belzébuth foreshadows the music of the Beast in the Mother Goose Suite (Ma Mère lOye). Rêves (1927) poem by Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) The poetry of Léon-Paul Fargue has been described as reflecting the union of dream and memory. This mélodie has a tender lyricism within a sparse musical texture. The text is fashioned of a series of miniature images that pass by rather quickly, unrelated, like the images found in dreams. For all their differences, they have a simplicity about them that seems timeless, existing together, as the poet says, “in a vague countryside.” When the dreamer finally awakens, the little fleeting pictures “die quietly.” The piano postlude perpetuates the dream state, creating an ethereal little microcosm that continues to draw the dreamer to it. Ronsard à son âme (1924) poem by Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585) In his Abrégé de l’art poétique français (1565) Pierre de Ronsard advocated the union of poetry and music, and Renaissance composers frequently set his poems. 3 In this strikingly simple mélodie, Ronsard speaks to his soul, calling it by a series of diminutives: little soul, dainty little one, sweet little one. Ravel uses a series of parallel fifths in the piano figures to invoke a Renaissance mood. This is Ronsard’s last poem, and Ravel’s last adaptation of Renaissance poetry. Ravel’s setting recalls the elegance of his early mélodie, “D’Anne qui me jecta de la neige,” to a poem of Clément Marot. Manteau de fleurs (1903) poem by Paul Barthélemy Jeulin (1863-1936) The poem notes everything in the garden that is pink–all the flowers that will become a beautiful cloak to complement the beauty of the lady of the poem. Ravel usually had very sophisticated taste in choosing texts; this particular poem is an unusual choice. It is a simple text, somewhat banal, but Ravel’s shimmering musical texture imparts a dramatic character for each flower in the poem. The overall piano texture suggests orchestral colors. The last section of the mélodie changes course slightly, with the piano harmonies creating a slightly wistful mood. Clearly, Ravel lavished a beautiful musical setting on a rather ordinary set of words. Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1932-33) [Medium/Low Voice edition only] poems by Paul Morand (1888-1976) This miniature cycle was Ravel’s last vocal work. His musical portrait of the noble Spanish knight, Don Quixote, is embodied in three mélodies, all based on characteristic Spanish or Basque dance rhythms: (1) the guajira, alternating 6/8 and 3/4 meter; (2) the zorzica, a Basque dance in quintuple meter; and (3) the jota, a lively triple-metered Spanish dance. “Chanson Romanesque” presents the chivalrous idealist Don Quixote, confidently promising to rearrange everything in nature to his lady Dulcinea’s liking in order to win her favor. Dulcinea is in reality a poor farm girl, but the Don’s illusion will not be shaken. He remains authoritative and focused in his quest for her love. “Chanson épique” is Quixote’s reverent prayer to Saint Michael and Saint George, beseeching them to bless his sword and his Lady. Ravel creates a beautifully sustained and prayerful vocal line over a simple accompaniment. “Chanson à boire” is a exuberant drinking song. Although the Don’s tippling has made him overly boisterous, he never oversteps the bounds of his noble bearing. His robust laughter is heard in the piano figures and even a hiccup intrudes between “lorsque j’ai” and “lorsque j’ai bu.” NOTES: Maurice Ravel, in a letter to Jean-Aubrey written in September, 1907. Quoted in Arbie Orenstein, Ravel: Man and Musician (New York: Dover Publications, 1991), 165-66. Quoted in Orenstein, 161. Orenstein, 192. BACK TO TOP ALBERT ROUSSEL (1869-1937) In 1894 Albert Roussel left a highly successful career as a naval officer to pursue music. After completing his studies, he became professor of counterpoint at the Schola Cantorum in Paris. Satie and Varèse were among his students. Roussel was one of the most prominent French composers of the interwar period. He composed almost forty mélodies as well as chamber music, ballets, and operas. His style is eclectic but highly individual. Early works show the influence of Vincent d’Indy, works dating from 1910 to 1920 exhibit influences of Debussy and Ravel, but he turned to neoclassicism in his later compositions. His love for the sea was almost a spiritual attraction and continued to influence his music throughout his career. He had a fascination for distant places; his extended tour of Southeast Asia in 1909 had a tremendous influence on his composition. “Sarabande” and “Cœur en peril” are mélodies to texts of René Chalupt, a close friend. They are found in op. 20 and 50, respectively. Roussel’s overall musical catalogue is not extensive, but its quality is of an extremely high level, and his vocal writing in particular contains some mélodies of great delicacy and style, squarely in the French tradition. For Roussel, the word held primacy in his mélodies, being both transformed by its musical setting and merging with it to create a perfect union. Commenting on the quality of Roussel’s songs, composer Charles Koechlin is quoted as saying: “The sense of austerity pervading them, stemming simply from the composer’s natural reserve, heightens their expressiveness and further embellishes them; in language and content they are absolutely personal. This collection of songs is one which will last because its essence is undying sensitivity.” 1 Sarabande (1919) from Deux mélodies, Op. 20, No. 2 poem by René Chalupt This is surely one of Roussel’s most delicate and magical creations. His writing for the piano is particularly outstanding, placing Chalupt’s poem in an overall texture of elegance and veiled sensuality. There is an Oriental delicacy in Roussel’s musical evocation of the fluttering doves, feathers drifting into a pool, and the gentle drift of chestnut blossoms onto bare flesh. Cœur en péril (1933-34) from Deux mélodies, Op. 50, No. 1 poem by René Chalupt This mélodie is much different in mood–witty and flirtatious. It is the narrative of a young man eager to convince his ladylove of his fidelity. Vocal phrases are tuneful, with a spirited piano texture of Iberian flavor. NOTES: Liner notes, Dom Angelico Surchamp, trans. Elisabeth Carroll, Roussel Mélodies, Colette Alliot-Lugaz, Mady Mesplé, Kurt Ollmann, José Van Dam; Dalton Baldwin, Patrick Gallois. EMI Digital. CDS 7492712, 1987 BACK TO TOP ERIK SATIE (1866-1925) Erik Satie wrote very few songs and most of them date from late in his life. The eccentric father figure of the French avant-garde of the twentieth century had a wildly independent spirit that found its way into his musical compositions. Throughout his life, he kept a great deal of childlike inquisitiveness and innocence. He was a curious personality of unconventional habits whose sense of the absurd and whimsy permeated both his life and his music. Quintessential Satie compositions are laconic and witty. It was Satie who named Les Nouveaux Jeunes, soon known as Les Six, and influenced the early development of the group. La Statue de bronze (1916) from Trois Mélodies poem by Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) This is Satie’s first setting of the poetry of Léon-Paul Fargue, the “Bohemian poet of Paris.” Satie used Fargue’s witty verses again for Ludions. The scene is a garden game–the jeu de tonneau. A bronze frog, perched atop a cabinet with numbered chambers, grows impatient of being the target of the game where metal disks are tossed into her mouth. She dreams of being freed from her pedestal and being able to use her wide-open mouth to utter “LE MOT.” 1 She wants to be free to join the other frogs gathered near the rust-colored washhouse “blowing musical bubbles from the soapy moonlight.” But the game continues, the disks rattle through her mouth into numbered compartments and at night, insects sleep in her mouth. This mélodie can be linked musically to “La Grenouille américaine,” found in Ludions. Both songs share piano figures derived from the café-concert chanson. Ludions (1923) poems by Léon-Paul Fargue (1876-1947) Ludions is the last of Satie’s purely vocal works, composed two years before his death, and is perhaps his finest set of songs. It epitomizes his lifelong quest for musical simplicity and his irreverence for the intricate compositional techniques and overactive emotions of the Impressionists. Ludions is translated as “bottle imps” (a ludion is a little figure suspended in a hollow ball, which descends or rises in a vase filled with water when one presses down on the elastic membrane covering the mouth of the vase). The cycle is a kaleidoscopic set of musical miniatures, riddled with puns and illogical phrases. Fargue’s nonsensical verse complements Satie’s musical aesthetic, and the two friends’ personalities closely matched one another. All the mélodies in Ludions are short, like tiny cameos. They are colorful, saucy, fantastic, and defy translation. “Air du rat,” “La Grenouille américaine,” and “Chanson du chat” are right out of the music hall, and Satie uses with a mock-serious “tongue-in-cheek” treatment for “Spleen” and “Air du poète.” Je te veux (1902) poem by Henry Pacory (1873-?) The valse chantée, or sung waltz was a favorite of the café concerts, for which Satie composed a number of works. Café concerts were a form of Parisian popular entertainment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The all-musical programs were held outside; French popular singers presented repertoire that catered to lower and middle-class audiences who came to talk, eat, drink, and observe the long informal programs, for which there was no admission charge. “Je te veux” was composed for Paulette Darty, dubbed “the Queen of the slow waltz.” It was one of her signature musical presentations for the caf’conc (café concerts), and one that Darty remained associated with throughout her career. A statuesque blonde with an ample figure, Darty was a commanding performer who kept the most boisterous of the Saturday night audiences enthralled. Lyricist Henry Pacory’s rather explicit poem was watered down at Satie’s request before the song was published. La Diva de l’Empire (1904) poem by Charles Bessat, named Numa Blès (1871-1917) The “Diva de l’Empire,” 2 one of Satie’s café-concert songs, was another work written for and performed by Paulette Darty. It was composed for a Bonnaud-Blès music-hall revue called Dévidons la Bobine (Let’s Unwind the Bobbin) that toured several seaside resort towns. The British “diva” is a femme fatale performer who enchants all who see her. The song is a syncopated cakewalk describing her seductive beauty as she struts her stuff “showing the wiggling of her legs and some pretty frilly underwear.” Interspersed at points along the way with English words: Greenaway, baby, little girl, etc. The piano provides a jaunty ragtime rhythm throughout that melds perfectly with the suggestive text. NOTES: ”Le mot” has a double meaning. It was the title of a broadsheet published by Jean Cocteau between 1914-15 and is short for “le mot de Cambronne,” a polite way of saying “merde.” Cambronne was a famous French general who replied “Merde!” when asked to surrender. In Steven Moore Whiting, Satie the Bohemian: From Cabaret to Concert Hall. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 43. Empire refers to the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Square, London. BACK TO TOP DÉODAT DE SÉVERAC (1872-1921) Déodat de Séverac, of aristocratic lineage, was born in the Languedoc region of southwest France in Saint-Félix-Caraman (now Saint-Félix Lauragais), near Toulouse. After studies in Paris with Vincent d’Indy at the Schola Cantorum, he returned home and remained there. He was a contemporary of Fauré, Debussy and Ravel, but was considered a petit maître in their company, possibly because of his return to Languedoc at the completion of his musical studies. Séverac composed piano and orchestral music, operas and songs. The culture of his native Languedoc figured prominently in his music, which is highly descriptive. He often wrote parts for regional folk music in his scores. Many considered him provincial and unsophisticated, but his music displays his skill in integrating folk elements–and often, regional folk instruments–of his native Languedoc into his works. He often referred to himself as “the peasant musician.” Influences of Debussy, Mussorgsky, and Bizet may be found in his mélodies. Although his music is rather conservative in style, Séverac fused folk elements with the musical styles of the day in a unique and individual manner. Ma poupée chérie (1914) poem by the composer Composed in 1914 (and published in 1916) for his daughter Magali and dedicated to her, this little cradlesong is probably de Séverac’s best loved and most performed mélodie. Séverac’s fresh musical setting contains just the right combination of simplicity and delightful childlike honesty. Despite the subject matter, the composer’s heartfelt poem avoids an overly cloying atmosphere. BACK TO TOP OTHER SOURCES CONSULTED: Jane Bathori, On the Interpretation of the Mélodies of Claude Debussy, transl. and with an introduction by Linda Laurent (Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon Press, 1998). Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs, transl. by Winifred Radford (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977). Pierre Bernac, The Interpretation of French Song, transl. by Winifred Radford(New York: W.W. Norton, 1978). Elaine Brody, Paris: The Musical Kaleidoscope 1870-1925 (New York: George Braziller, 1987). Mary Dibbern, Carol Kimball, and Patrick Choukroun, Interpreting the Songs of Jacques Leguerney (Hillsdale, NY: Pendragon Press, 2001) Alan M. Gillmor, Erik Satie (New York: W.W. Norton Co., 1992). James Harding, The Ox on the Roof: Scenes from musical life in Paris in the Twenties (New York: Da Capo Press, 1986). Peter Hill, ed., The Messiaen Companion (Portland, OR: Amadeus Press, 1995). Graham Johnson, Gabriel Fauré: The Songs and their Poets (London: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, 2009) Graham Johnson and Richard Stokes, A French Song Companion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000). Carol Kimball, Song: A Guide to Art Song Style and Literature (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 2005). Carol Kimball and Richard Walters, eds., The French Song Anthology (Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corp., 2001). Timothy LeVan, Masters of the French Art Song (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1991). Barbara Meister, Nineteenth-Century French Song (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1980). Wilfrid Mellers, Francis Poulenc (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993). Arbie Orenstein, Ravel: Man and Musician (New York: Columbia University Press, 1975). Nancy Perloff, Art and the Everyday: Popular Entertainment in the Circle of Erik Satie(Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991) Caroline Potter, Henri Dutilleux: His Life and Works (Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 1997). Francis Poulenc, Moi et mes amis: Confidences recueilles par Stéphane Audel (Paris: La Palatine, 1963). Francis Poulenc, Diary of my Songs [Journal de mes mélodies] transl. by Winifred Radford (London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 1985) Marie-Claire Rohinsky, ed., The Singer’s Debussy (New York: Pelion Press, 1987) Roger Shattuck, The Banquet Years (New York: Vintage Books, 1968).
About Us CORPORATE HISTORY AND PROFILE In the late 1930s in Winona, Minnesota, the late Harold "Hal" Edstrom, his brother Everett "Leonard" Edstrom and their friend Roger Busdicker had formed a very popular dance band. Concerned that their conservative father wouldn't approve of using the family name for a band, Harold and Ev took parts of their names and called the band Hal Leonard. As leader of the Hal Leonard Band, Ev eventually became known as "Hal Leonard." The company Hal Leonard was founded in 1947, after the Hal Leonard Band broke up. At the time, Ev started a music store using the Hal Leonard name while Roger and Harold were both directing award-winning high school bands in Winona. In those days, most school bands played serious literature, but Harold and Roger had the unique ability (because of their professional experience) to arrange "popular" music for school bands. Soon band directors across the US wanted their arrangements. They started to mimeograph copies and sell them. They realized that to successfully (and legally!) launch a new publishing company, they needed to license songs, so they ventured to New York's Tin Pan Alley in search of copyrights. What they got on their trip was an education in publishing and the rights to "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now," one of the most popular songs of the day. Eventually, many music publishers in New York were licensing Hal Leonard to do school band arrangements of their songs. Thus began their publishing business and an entirely new industry. The company grew and soon choral arrangements and a wider variety of band arrangements were added to their catalog of publications. In the early 1950s, the home organ industry began to grow rapidly That is when Hal Leonard published The Pointer System for organ, which eventually became the best-selling organ instruction method ever created. That method soon led to the first organ "benchpack," which featured instruction books and songbooks packaged in the bench of an organ. In the late 1950s, The Pointer Systems for Guitar and Piano were produced, introducing millions of beginners to instant playing success. In the mid-1960s, Hal Leonard began marketing band and choral music to educators by sending recordings of arrangements through the mail. This unique promotion is now used by virtually every print music publisher in the industry. In 1970, Keith Mardak and associates started a new division of Hal Leonard called Learning Unlimited, to create the first book/audio music instructional products. This division soon outgrew the company, and Mardak became general manager for the entire company. Shortly afterward, the Hal Leonard Guitar Method was launched, becoming one of the first methods to incorporate popular music. Today, this method is the leading guitar method in the world, having taught millions how to play guitar. Hal Leonard continued to grow throughout the 1970s, and in 1980 made the giant leap into popular music print publishing when it established a unique and very close relationship with Chappell Music, the world's largest music publisher. Shortly thereafter, Hal Leonard increased its presence in virtually every music print market around the world. As a result, facilities in both Milwaukee and Winona were expanded to accommodate corporate growth. In 1985, Hal Leonard was purchased from the original founders by an internal management team led by Keith Mardak, who then became president. Since then, it has experienced consistent, dramatic growth due to creative, innovative and aggressive publishing and marketing. Today, Hal Leonard is the world's largest educational music publisher, with the #1 methods for learning guitar (the Hal Leonard Guitar Method), piano (the Faber Piano Method), and school music instruments (Essential Elements for Band and Strings), plus publications for learning virtually every instrument imaginable. Hal Leonard is also the leading publisher of songbooks; Real Books and fake books; sheet music; band, orchestra and choral arrangements for schools; music reference publications; children's music products; educational magazines; and more. Many new titles are enhanced with supplemental audio and video files online for download and streaming. The company leads the way in technology, developing eBooks, digital sheet music, apps and more. Hal Leonard operates many popular websites including SheetMusicDirect with thousands of songs arranged for different instruments available for download, and GuitarInstructor.com for online guitar lessons and tab. In 2014, Hal Leonard made a substantial investment in Noteflight, LLC, an innovative music technology company dedicated to reinventing the way people create, share and use digital sheet music. This online community allows users to edit, display, play back and share music notation in a cloud-based web browser, on any device. Noteflight has an active subscriber base of nearly 3 million music enthusiasts and educators. In its catalog of more than 1 million available titles, Hal Leonard represents many of the world's best known and most respected publishers, artists, songwriters, arrangers and musical instrument manufacturers. Its products are sold in more than 65 countries throughout the world through Hal Leonard offices and a large network of distributors. Domestically, the company markets to more than 7,500 music stores in the United States and Canada through a team of 50 in-house sales representatives. Hal Leonard operates out of two main facilities — its corporate headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a state-of-the-art administration, production and distribution facility in Winona, Minnesota. The company also has domestic offices in Boston, Austin, and San Francisco, and offices abroad in Australia, Belgium, China, Germany, Holland, India, Italy, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom in London and Bury St. Edmunds. Chairman Keith Mardak, CEO Larry Morton, and the more than 800 talented Hal Leonard employees around the world remain dedicated to providing the very best in music products and services. A summary of Hal Leonard corporate history from the Milwaukee Public Television interview with CEO Keith Mardak for their show "I Remember Milwaukee."
Hal Leonard Vocal Competition - 2012 Winners THE 2012 HAL LEONARD VOCAL COMPETITION WINNERS Hal Leonard, the world's largest print music publisher and the world leader in vocal music, launched the exciting and innovative concept of a serious music competition for voice students comprised entirely of YouTube video entries. We believe this to be the first legitimate music competition for musicians of various ages, children through college, to be held entirely on the Internet. The required repertoire was drawn from art song and musical theatre literature. The deadline for entry was February 1, 2012. Judging has been concluded, and we are pleased to announce the art song and musical theatre results in the four age categories of competition. Congratulations to the prize winners! We were encouraged by the commitment and seriousness of purpose shown in the video entries. If these are a representative sampling, there are clearly many dedicated students and teachers at all levels who have embraced our heritage of music literature. We thank all those who entered for confirming that this experimental venture was more than worthwhile. And we also thank the teachers and parents who guided the voice students in this competition. Thank you also to all the accompanists for their key participation. View the Winning Videos from our Previous Years Choose a Previous Year 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 ART SONG WINNERS College/University Voices High School Voices Early Teen Voices Children's Voices MUSICAL THEATRE WINNERS Young Adult Voices High School Voices Early Teen Voices Children's Voices COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY VOICES, ART SONG - Undergraduates (AGES 18-23) First Place ERIC JURENAS School: College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) at the University of Cincinnati Voice Teacher: William McGraw Second Place ERIN ALCORN School: Oberlin Conservatory of Music Voice Teacher: Daune Mahy Third Place (tie) NICHOLAS BROWNLEE School: University of South Alabama Voice Teacher: Dr. Thomas Rowell Third Place (tie) CHRISTIAN KETTER School: DePaul University Voice Teacher: Carl Lawrenz Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) AUSTIN BRADLEY Watch Video MARCEL D'ENTREMONT Watch Video ADAM FIELDSON Watch Video KATY HARTH Watch Video HANNAH KURTH Watch Video HIGH SCHOOL VOICES, ART SONG - AGES 16-18 First Place CLAUDIA OH Location: New York, New York Voice Teacher: Lorraine Nubar Second Place (tie) GRACE CANFIELD Location: Naperville, Illinois Voice Teacher: Nancy Gustafson Second Place (tie) KELSEY LAURITANO Location: San Francisco, California Voice Teacher: Lois Jane Roberts Third Place (tie) CLARE DEMER Location: Tucson, Arizona Voice Teacher: Stephanie Fox Third Place (tie) KRISTOFER HANSEN Location: Glenview, Illinois Voice Teacher: Mary Jean Allen Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) SHAFALI JALOTA Watch Video KATARINA WILSON Watch Video EARLY TEEN VOICES, ART SONG - AGES 13-15 First Place HAYLEY BOGGS Location: Oakland, Michigan Voice Teacher: Cathy Zucker Second Place (tie) LISA LOUW Location: Greer, South Carolina Voice Teacher: Tina Thompson-Broussard Third Place (tie) ANNIE DRYSDALE Location: Oakville, Ontario Voice Teacher: Linda Fletcher Third Place (tie) LAURA GUIDUCCI Location: Oakville, Ontario Voice Teacher: Linda Fletcher Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) MISTY BIRTCHER Watch Video NATHAN ESTIPONA Watch Video CIARA MARIE WALLACE Watch Video ALASDAIR PAYTEN Location: San Francisco, CA Watch Video CHILDREN'S VOICES, ART SONG - AGES 12 AND UNDER First Place NICOLE KELLY Location: Lake Worth, Florida Voice Teacher: Craig Wich Second Place (tie) CARLY COONEY Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon Voice Teacher: Dan Buchanon Second Place (tie) KARLI FORTE Location: Fremont, Indiana Voice Teacher: Lynn Syler Third Place (tie) JAMIE BRADLEY Location: Lexington, Kentucky Voice Teacher: Mary Joy Nelson Third Place (tie) SAGE HAMMOND Location: Tucson, Arizona Voice Teacher: Stephanie Fox Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) ALLISON BAUMGARTNERE Watch Video MIRA MEIKLE Watch Video JULIA PULO Watch Video ANDREW SHROLL Watch Video YOUNG ADULT VOICES, MUSICAL THEATRE - Undergraduates (AGES 18-23) First Place ADAM FIELDSON School: University of Nebraska in Lincoln Voice Teacher: Alisa Belflower Second Place KATY HARTH School: Lawrence University Voice Teacher: Karen Leigh-Post Third Place MICHAEL HEWITT School: Otterbein University Voice Teacher: Helen Allen Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) ARICA COLEMAN Watch Video MARCEL D'ENTREMONT Watch Video SAM HARTLEY Watch Video HIGH SCHOOL VOICES, MUSICAL THEATRE - AGES 16-18 First Place KRISTOFER HANSEN Location: Glenview, Illinois Voice Teacher: Mary Jean Allen Second Place (tie) RACHEL HORNER Location: Voorhees, New Jersey Voice Teacher: Melissa Daniels McCann Second Place (tie) MARINA KONDO Location: Rochester Hills, Michigan Voice Teacher: Jeff Norris Third Place (tie) LAUREN MATLACK Location: Voorhees, New Jersey Voice Teacher: Melissa Daniels McCann Third Place (tie) MICHAEL WILLIAMS Location: McKinney, Texas Voice Teacher: David Gaschen Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) LINDSAY ROLLAND-MILLS Watch Video CHRISTOPHER NORWOOD Watch Video EARLY TEEN VOICES, MUSICAL THEATRE - AGES 13-15 First Place BEN WALKER Location: Wilmington, Delaware Voice Teacher: Marian Johnson-Healy Second Place (tie) LISA LOUW Location: Greer, South Carolina Voice Teacher: Tina Thompson-Broussard Second Place (tie) STEVIE KEESE Location: Greer, South Carolina Voice Teacher: Tina Thompson-Broussard Third Place (tie) HAYLEY BOGGS Location: Oakland, Michigan Voice Teacher: Cathy Zucker Third Place (tie) COURTNEY STRAUB Location: Laurel Springs, New Jersey Voice Teacher: Melissa Daniels McCann Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) GABI LEIBOWITZ Watch Video ANYA OLSEN Watch Video JACKLYN SUMMERS Watch Video CHILDREN'S VOICES, MUSICAL THEATRE - AGES 12 AND UNDER First Place GRACE ROBERTSON Location: St. Louis, Missouri Voice Teacher: Lisa Casciola Second Place (tie) CARLY COONEY Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon Voice Teacher: Dan Buchanon Second Place (tie) JOHN HEALY Location: Arvada, Colorado Voice Teacher: Becky Bradley Third Place (tie) AGNE GIEDRAITYTE Location: Downers Grove, Illinois Voice Teacher: Nida Grigalaviciute Third Place (tie) MARIA KNASEL Location: St. Louis, Missouri Voice Teacher: Lisa Casciola Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically) ALIYAH DOUGLAS Watch Video AVERY KADISH Watch Video GIANNA LEONEN Watch Video PAIGE NORTHRUP Watch Video Back To Top
Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale For Mr. Dicken's Jr. - Broadway Junior Menu LEARN MORE About Broadway Junior What Comes With the Showkit™? How to License a Broadway Junior Musical Order an Audio Sampler Frequently Asked Questions 60-Min.ute Musicals [JR.] 60-Minute Musicals Aladdin Jr. (Disney) Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Disney) Annie Jr. Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Disney) Bugsy Malone Jr. Children Of Eden Jr. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. Dear Edwina Jr. Doctor Dolittle Jr. Elf The Musical Jr. Fame Jr. Fiddler on the Roof Jr. Finian's Rainbow Jr. Flat Stanley Jr. Frozen Jr. (Disney) A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. (Magic Tree House) Godspell Jr. Guys and Dolls Jr. Hairspray Jr. High School Musical Jr. (Disney) High School Musical 2 Jr. (Disney) Honk! Jr. Into the Woods Jr. James and the Giant Peach Jr. (Roald Dahl) Junie B. Jones Jr. Legally Blonde Jr. The Lion King Jr. (Disney) The Little Mermaid Jr. (Disney) Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr. Mary Poppins Jr. (Disney/Cameron Mackintosh) Matilda Jr. (Roald Dahl) Moana Jr. (Disney) The Music Man Jr. My Son Pinocchio Jr. (Disney) Once on This Island Jr. Peter Pan Jr. (Broadway) The Phantom Tollbooth Jr. The Pirates of Penzance Jr. Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. Seussical Jr. Shrek Jr. Singin' In The Rain Jr. Sister Act Jr. Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. Willy Wonka Jr. (Roald Dahl) Xanadu Jr. 30-Min.ute Musicals [KIDS] 30-Minute Musicals 101 Dalmatians KIDS (Disney) Aladdin KIDS (Disney) Annie KIDS Aristocats KIDS (Disney) Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS (Magic Tree House) Frozen KIDS (Disney) The Jungle Book KIDS (Disney) The Knight at Dawn KIDS (Magic Tree House) The Lion King KIDS (Disney) The Music Man KIDS Pirates Past Noon KIDS (Magic Tree House) Seussical KIDS Willy Wonka KIDS (Roald Dahl) Winnie the Pooh KIDS (Disney) A Year with Frog and Toad KIDS Product Information Musical Numbers Cast of Characters Credits Book by Jenny Laird and Will Osborne Lyrics by Randy Courts and Will Osborne Music by Randy Courts Based on Magic Tree House #44: A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time by Mary Pope Osborne Overview / Synopsis What would you do if a tree house in your neighborhood could transport you anywhere you wanted to go? The magic tree house whisks Jack and Annie back in time to the foggy streets of Victorian London, where they must help Charles Dickens. But the famous author has everything he could possibly want. How are they supposed to help him? It's not until Mr. Dickens rescues them from being thrown in jail that they discover his secret past and the sad memories that haunt him. Jack and Annie will need all their magic-and help from three ghosts - to save the great writer. Magic Tree House: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens is an adaptation of book #44 of Mary Pope Osborne's award-winning fantasy adventure books from the Magic Tree House book series. The books are number one New York Times bestsellers - more than 100 million copies have been sold in North America alone. The series has been translated into many languages and is available in more than 100 countries around the world. Audio Sampler - HL00149057 $10.00 ShowKit - HL00149047 $695.00 This ShowKit includes: Production Guide Director's Guide P/V Vocal Score 30 Actor Scripts 2 Rehearsal CDs 2 Accompaniment CDs Media Disc Choreographic DVD Cross-curricular Guide 30 Family Matters Booklets 60-Minute JR. Request Individual Components 00149048 - Director's Guide $100.00 00149049 - Piano/Vocal Score $40.00 00149050 - Actor's Script $10.00 00149051 - Actor's Script 10-pak $75.00 00149052 - Perf/Accomp CD pack $75.00 00149053 - Student Rehearsal CD $10.00 00149054 - Student Rehearsal CD 20-pak $100.00 00149055 - Choreography DVD $50.00 00149056 - Media Disc $10.00 00149057 - Audio Sampler $10.00 Hear A Sample Prologue Christmas In the Air [Carolers, Merlin, Morgan] How Far Can You See? [Carolers, Merlin, Morgan] SCENE 1 Two Gentlemen of Means [Annie, Jack, Carriage Driver, People at Inn, Theatre Folk, High Society, Olive, Emma] Trading Places (Parts 1 & 2) [Colin, Harry, Annie, Jack] SCENE 2 Faces In the Mirror [Mr. Dickens, Pickwick, Oliver Twist, Nickleby, Dickens' Characters] SCENE 3 Stop Thief! [Jack, Annie, Olive, Emma, Crowd] SCENE 4 Right This Way [Mrs. Pinch, Mr. Pinch, Waitstaff, Jack, Annie, Fans] Bah! Humbug! (Part 1 & 2) [Mr. Pinch, Restaurant Workers, Mr. Dickens, Jack, Annie, Tiny Tim] SCENE 5 Who Will Hear My Song? [Orphans, Jack, Annie, Mr. Dickens] Come Three Ghosts [Jack, Annie, Ghost Chorus] The White Ghost [White Ghost, Mr. Dickens, Ghost Chorus, Young Dickens, Mrs. Dickens] The Green Ghost [Annie, Green Ghost, Ghost Chorus, Miss Twigby, Class] Enter the Black Ghost [Annie, Ghost Chorus, Mr. Dickens] Who Will Hear My Song? (Reprise) [Ghost Chorus, Mourners] SCENE 6 You Must Give Your Gifts (Part 1 & 2) [Mr. Dickens, Jack, Annie, Dressmaker, Baker, Mrs. Tibbs, Harry, Colin, Policeman, Emma, Olive, Miss Twigby, Henrietta, Newsies, Mr. Pinch, Chorus] Bows [Entire Cast] Jack Jack is a young boy. He is bookish, careful and thoughtful, but he is NOT a nerd! Jack has tremendous curiosity about the world around him and loves to take notes about his observations. Jack tends to be very cautious in new situations, and his adventures in the Magic Tree House help him develop his confidence. He has a good (and protective) relationship with his younger sister, Annie, though her more impetuous nature often gets on his nerves. This is a big role and requires a strong singer and actor. When auditioning, you might mix and match your Jack and Annie hopefuls to see which ones have the best brother-sister chemistry. Vocal Range: A3 - D5 Annie Annie is Jack's younger sister and, in many ways, his opposite in terms of personality. She is a risk taker who often follows her heart instead of her head. She sometimes teases Jack about his careful attitude toward life and often encourages him to be more adventurous. She loves animals of any kind and has a very loving heart. Like Jack, this role requires strong singing and acting. When auditioning, you might mix and match your Jack and Annie hopefuls to see which ones have the best brother-sister chemistry. Vocal Range: A3 - D5 Mr. Dickens Mr. Dickens is a man in his prime and has a flair for the dramatic, both in writing and speech. His public persona is that of a charismatic celebrity, but privately he is deeply depressed by the suffering he sees all around him in Victorian England, particularly the suffering of children. This leading part requires your most mature male performer with strong singing and acting skills (and a changed voice). Vocal Range: Bb3 - E5 Merlin Merlin is a wise old magician who joyfully introduces the play to the audience and sends Jack and Annie on their mission to help Mr. Dickens. Look for a lively actor with a commanding speaking voice. Merlin has the option of singing (or not) on the choral parts of the opening and closing songs, so this would be a good role for a strong actor who may not be an experienced singer. With clever costuming, this role could be played by a girl if necessary Morgan Le Fay Morgan Le Fay is an ageless librarian enchantress. Merlin and Morgan are dear old friends and are playful with one another. Like Merlin, Morgan also has the option of singing (or not) on the choral parts of the opening and closing songs, so this would be another good role for a strong actor who many not be an experienced singer. Vocal Range: Speaking Role The Carolers The Carolers, including Caroler #1, Caroler #2, Caroler #3 and Young Caroler, can be as small as a handful of performers or as large as your stage and theater can accommodate. If your cast is large enough that you are not double-casting your carolers as other named characters, consider assigning Dickensian-sounding names to your Carolers, or even have them invent backstories so that they feel more connected to their roles. Vocal Range: Caroler 1: C4 - C5 Caroler 2: F4 - C5 Young Caroler: F4 - C5 Carriage Driver Carriage Driver is a cheerful, friendly character who is especially impressed by his well-to-do patrons. Costuming would allow for this role to be played by a girl if necessary. Look for an actor who is outgoing, has a strong voice and can move well, as driving a pretend horse-drawn carriage will require some miming and choreographed blocking. Vocal Range: B3 - Eb5 People At Inn, Theatre Folk and High Society People At Inn, Theatre Folk and High Society are non-speaking roles with only a small bit of singing (unless they are double cast), so these are good roles for beginning actors who can sing. Cast as few or as many actors in these roles as your production allows. Emma and Olive Emma and Olive are orphans who must resort to petty thievery to survive on the streets of London. Olive targets Jack and Annie when she notices their expensive-looking bag, and Emma follows her lead in a plot to steal it. These characters do not need to sing much, so these are good roles for younger actors who might want to build confidence before taking on larger singing roles. Vocal Range - Emma: B3 - D5 Vocal Range - Olive: D4 - C5 Harry and Colin Harry and Colin are young chimney sweeps who agree to trade places with Jack and Annie for a day. These comedic characters sing a duet and need to be able to change a few items of clothing (jackets and hats) during their song, so look for actors capable of moving and singing at the same time. Costuming (faces smudged with ashes, etc.) would allow for these roles to played by girls if necessary. Cast two strong actors who get along well onstage and off. Vocal Range - Harry: F3 - C5 Vocal Range - Colin: Gb3 - Eb5 Mrs. Tibbs Mrs. Tibbs is the peculiar and proud housekeeper of the Dickens estate. Look for a strong actor who understands comedy. She does not need to sing if she is not double cast in a singing role, so this is a good part for an actor who may not possess the strongest singing voice. Vocal Range: F4 - A4 Pickwick, Oliver Twist, Nickleby and other Dickens Characters Pickwick, Oliver Twist, Nickleby and other Dickens Characters are the "faces in the mirror" Dickens sees when he is in his office trying to write. These characters have little dialogue, so you can use these roles to cast kids who are more experienced singers than actors. Since the "other Dickens characters" only sing choral parts, you can cast as large a number of kids as you like/ need. For fun, you could assign all of the kids in the chorus names from a variety of books by Dickens - or let them research and pick out their own. If you have a smaller cast, all of these actors could also be double cast as Carolers, High Society, Street Vendors, and Restaurant Workers. Vocal Range: Speaking Roles Newsies, Newsie #1, Baker, Butcher, Bootblacks, Dressmaker, Street Person, Cabbie, Hawkers, Hawker 1 Newsies, Newsie #1, Baker, Butcher, Bootblacks, Dressmaker, Street Person, Cabbie, Hawkers, Hawker 1 are small acting parts, but these roles are essential for creating the feel of Victorian London. Look for actors who can pull off a cockney accent and who can also handle the kind of choreographed blocking required in "Stop Thief!" Vocal Range - Baker: G4 - A4 Vocal Range - Dressmaker: G4 - A4 Policeman The Policeman arrests Jack and Annie, believing they have stolen their own bag. He is chastised by Charles Dickens, and when he realizes his mistake, quickly and humbly apologizes. This is a small role that does not require a lot of subtlety, and singing is optional, so it would be good part for a beginning actor and/or singer. Vocal Range: E4 - F4 Mr. Pinch Mr. Pinch is the mean and miserly owner of the Purple Peacock Inn who refuses to give food scraps to a hungry Tiny Tim and his mother. He is the prototype for Dickens's Scrooge. While the song "Bah! Humbug!" is meant to be comical, the actor playing Pinch doesn't need to be comedic; instead, he should be confident enough to play a shameless misanthrope without needing to wink at the audience. Look for someone who is both a strong actor and singer, but if there is a tough call, lean toward the stronger actor, as much of his solo can be sung/spoken. Vocal Range: G3 - D5 Mrs. Pinch Mrs. Pinch is nothing like her ill-tempered husband; she is warm, hardworking and high-spirited. Though she is not onstage for much of the play, this role requires a good actor/singer who has a strong, energetic, mature presence. Vocal Range: C4 - C5 Francois the Chef Francois the Chef is the chef at Pinch's Purple Peacock Inn. He is proud and passionate and highly sensitive to criticism. This is a small, fun role that does not require any singing, so it would be a good part for an inexperienced singer. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Waitstaff, Restaurant Workers, Restaurant Patrons, Waitress, Dishwasher, Women Fans and Men Fans Waitstaff, Restaurant Workers, Restaurant Patrons, Waitress, Dishwasher, Women Fans and Men Fans are the employees and patrons of Mr. Pinch's Purple Peacock Inn. These roles have little or no spoken dialogue, but "Right This Way" has solo lines as well as choral work and some fairly intricate movement/choreography built into the song, so look for strong singers who can also move/dance. Vocal Range - Waitstaff #1: Bb3 - D5 Vocal Range - Waitstaff #2: Bb3 - E5 Vocal Range - Waitress: Bb3 - Bb4 Vocal Range - Dishwasher: Eb4 - Bb4 Tiny Tim Tiny Tim is a poor and sickly child who will not survive without the charity of others. Though his body is weak, his spirit is robust, and though his family is impoverished, he is rich in love and is remarkably cheerful and good-natured. As the name implies, try to cast your smallest child in this role. A girl dressed as a boy would work. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Roberta Roberta is Tiny Tim's humble, yet proud, mother. This is a small role and singing is optional, so, unless double or triple casting the actor in this role, this would be a good part for a beginner looking to gain some confidence and experience onstage. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Orphans Orphan #1 and the Orphans are street urchins who 'haunt' Mr. Dickens after his disheartening encounter with Mr. Pinch. These are non-speaking roles, so this is a great opportunity to cast singers who are interested in exploring what musical theatre id all about without the pressure of having to memorize lines, etc. However, these roles do require kids who are able to "mime" factory workers during a lengthy speech by Mr. Dickens and who must stay focused and "in character" on stage even when they are not singing. Consider double casting as the Mourners who will sing a reprise of "Who Will Hear My Song?" Vocal Range: Orphan 1: A3 - Bb4 White Ghost, Green Ghost, and Black Ghost White Ghost, Green Ghost, and Black Ghost are conjured by Jack and Annie's magic violin in order to convince Mr. Dickens to keep writing by showing him meaningful scenes from his past, present and future. All three can be played by girls. Although the Black Ghost doesn't speak or sing, the actor needs to have a strong stage presence and must be able to stay focused and in character through the lengthy "Come Three Ghosts" segment. The GHOST CHORUS is made up of your entire ensemble - no need to cast a separate group of students. Vocal Range - White Ghost: C4 - Bb4 Vocal Range - Green Ghost: D4 - Bb4 Mrs. Dickens Mrs. Dickens is the mother of Charles Dickens. This is a small acting role and unless the actor is cast in other roles, requires no singing, so if you have a large pool of actors to cast, this would be an ideal role for a beginner. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Young Dickens Young Dickens is Charles as a small boy who is conjured by the White Ghost to remind Mr. Dickens of his love of reading, his passion for stories and the importance of The Arabian Nights in igniting his imagination as a boy. This is a small speaking role, with no singing required. Consider casting the same actor who plays Tiny Tim. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Miss Twigby, Sara, and the Class Miss Twigby, Sara, and the Class are characters conjured by the Green Ghost to show Mr. Dickens how teachers in Victorian classrooms are using his stories to impart important lessons to their young students. These roles require memorizing and delivering in quick succession actual lines written by Charles Dickens, so cast some of your more confident performers. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Queen Victoria and her Lady in Waiting Queen Victoria and her Lady in Waiting are characters conjured by the Green Ghost to show Mr. Dickens that even the Queen is being moved to make social reforms based on his stories. These are small, speaking-only roles, so look to double cast these actors if they want to sing, or use the roles for beginners who want to be part of the process but don't want a lot of responsibility. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Bookseller, Henrietta and Barber Bookseller, Henrietta and Barber are more characters conjured by the Green Ghost to show how much the "common" people of London are enlivened and changed by the stories of Charles Dickens. Consider casting with the same group of actors who play the Street Vendors, etc., especially the actors capable of pulling off a Cockney accent. Vocal Range: Speaking Role The Mourners The Mourners, including Mourner #1, sing a reprise of "Who Will Hear My Song?" gathered around the gravestone of Charles Dickens and create a mournful tableau during Mary's monologue. Consider using the same actors who played the orphans. If you have a large enough cast that you don't want to double cast, these are good parts for strong singers. Vocal Range: Speaking Role Mary Dickens Mary Dickens is the grown daughter of Charles Dickens. She has a fairly large monologue at her father's gravesite, so look for a strong, confident actor with good memorization skills. Vocal Range: Speaking Role
Shrek Jr. - Broadway Junior Menu LEARN MORE About Broadway Junior What Comes With the Showkit™? How to License a Broadway Junior Musical Order an Audio Sampler Frequently Asked Questions 60-Min.ute Musicals [JR.] 60-Minute Musicals Aladdin Jr. (Disney) Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Disney) Annie Jr. Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Disney) Bugsy Malone Jr. Children Of Eden Jr. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. Dear Edwina Jr. Doctor Dolittle Jr. Elf The Musical Jr. Fame Jr. Fiddler on the Roof Jr. Finian's Rainbow Jr. Flat Stanley Jr. Frozen Jr. (Disney) A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. (Magic Tree House) Godspell Jr. Guys and Dolls Jr. Hairspray Jr. High School Musical Jr. (Disney) High School Musical 2 Jr. (Disney) Honk! Jr. Into the Woods Jr. James and the Giant Peach Jr. (Roald Dahl) Junie B. Jones Jr. Legally Blonde Jr. The Lion King Jr. (Disney) The Little Mermaid Jr. (Disney) Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr. Mary Poppins Jr. (Disney/Cameron Mackintosh) Matilda Jr. (Roald Dahl) Moana Jr. (Disney) The Music Man Jr. My Son Pinocchio Jr. (Disney) Once on This Island Jr. Peter Pan Jr. (Broadway) The Phantom Tollbooth Jr. The Pirates of Penzance Jr. Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. Seussical Jr. Shrek Jr. Singin' In The Rain Jr. Sister Act Jr. Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. Willy Wonka Jr. (Roald Dahl) Xanadu Jr. 30-Min.ute Musicals [KIDS] 30-Minute Musicals 101 Dalmatians KIDS (Disney) Aladdin KIDS (Disney) Annie KIDS Aristocats KIDS (Disney) Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS (Magic Tree House) Frozen KIDS (Disney) The Jungle Book KIDS (Disney) The Knight at Dawn KIDS (Magic Tree House) The Lion King KIDS (Disney) The Music Man KIDS Pirates Past Noon KIDS (Magic Tree House) Seussical KIDS Willy Wonka KIDS (Roald Dahl) Winnie the Pooh KIDS (Disney) A Year with Frog and Toad KIDS Product Information Musical Numbers Cast of Characters Credits Music by Jeanine Tesori Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig Overview / Synopsis One Act, Book Musical, Rated G Everyone's favorite ogre is back in the hilarious stage spectacle based on the Oscar-winning smash hit film. (60-MINUTE VERSION FOR YOUNG PERFORMERS) It's a "big bright beautiful world" for everyone's favorite ogre in Shrek The Musical JR., based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film. Adapted for young performers and featuring a host of over-the-top roles for an expandable cast, there's a part for everyone in this dazzling adventure story. In a faraway kingdom, the green ogre Shrek finds his swamp invaded by banished fairytale misfits, runaways who've been cast off by Lord Farquaad, a tiny terror with big ambitions. When Shrek sets off with a wise-cracking donkey to confront Farquaad, he's handed a task - if he rescues feisty Princess Fiona from the Dragon-guarded tower, his swamp will be returned to him. But, a fairy tale wouldn't be complete without unexpected twists and turns along the way. Part romance and part twisted fairy tale, Shrek JR. is an irreverently fun show for the whole family. With abundant opportunities for imaginative sets and costumes and familiar characters that prove that beauty is in the eye of the ogre, Shrek JR. is a great choice for young performers. The curtain opens on a trio of Storytellers sharing the tale of a little ogre named Shrek. Papa and Mama Ogre sit Shrek down and have a coming-of-age talk with their son, telling him that since he is now seven years old, it is time for him to make his own place in the world, and he must leave home ("Big Bright Beautiful World"). As the years pass, Shrek transforms into an adult and finds contentment living alone in a swamp on the edge of the kingdom of Duloc. Suddenly, the Captain of the Guards appears, leading a large group of Fairy Tale Creatures into the swamp, including Pinocchio, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, the Wicked Witch, Peter Pan, the Ugly Duckling, and the Three Bears. The characters have been exiled from the kingdom of Duloc and banished to live in the swamp ("Story Of My Life"). Shrek returns home to find his once private swamp now teeming with the new inhabitants and angrily sets off to confront the leader of Duloc about the injustice. As Shrek makes his way through a dense forest, he encounters a screaming Donkey under pursuit by more Guards from Duloc. Shrek scares off the guards, and, having lost his way, reluctantly agrees to let Donkey be his guide, despite his better judgment. Meanwhile, in Duloc, the Guards sing of the "gentrification" of the kingdom ("What's Up, Duloc? - Part 1"). Lord Farquadd appears, questioning the captive Gingy as to the whereabouts of an available princess that Farquaad could marry in order to become king and justly gain control of all of Duloc. Threatened with torture, Gingy relinquishes the information - there is a princess in a tower guarded by a dragon and surrounded by boiling-hot lava. Just as Farquaad and the residents of Duloc begin to celebrate their future queen ("What's Up, Duloc? - Part 2"), Shrek and Donkey arrive. Shrek demands the swamp be rightfully returned to him, and seizing an opportunity, Farquaad agrees to find a new home for the Fairy Tale Creatures if Shrek retrieves the princess for him. High in her tower, Young Fiona dreams of being rescued by a handsome prince and living the idyllic fairy tale dream ("I Know It's Today"). The years pass, and Fiona grows more anxious day after day, nervous that the stories she's read have misled her. Despite her frustrations, she remains hopeful. Meanwhile, Donkey passes time on the long journey by singing ("Travel Song"). Shrek and Donkey arrive at the castle, and, donning a knight's helmet he finds in the castle for protection, Shrek tells Donkey to wait while he rescues the princess. Shrek climbs Fiona's tower while she excitedly prepares for the arrival of her prince. The meeting doesn't go quite as Fiona had planned, and she mistakes Shrek for a brave knight due to his helmet. Shrek doesn't have time to correct this oversight, as Donkey is now being pursued by the Dragon. Cornered in the dungeon, four imprisoned Knights warn Donkey that he may wind up like them. The Dragon, frustrated that no one ever pursues her, sings of her loneliness ("Forever"). Falling madly in love with Donkey, the Dragon spares his life, but attacks Shrek when she sees he's freed Fiona. The two battle, and Fiona finally gets her storybook adventure ("This Is How A Dream Comes True"). Having escaped the dragon, the group sets off for Duloc. Shrek reveals to Fiona that he is actually an ogre and has rescued her for Lord Farquaad. As the sun sets, Fiona demands to set up camp and disappears into a cave for the duration of the night. The Storytellers reveal that Fiona has been placed under a curse causing her to live "by day one way, by night another." The next morning, Fiona is chipper and highly caffeinated ("Morning Person"). She greets the woodland creatures, including the Pied Piper and his disorderly Rats, with cheerful optimism. The group continues their journey and Shrek and Fiona bond over their horrible lives thus far ("I Think I Got You Beat"). The song ends in a gassy display of bravado, and the two become friends. Donkey is convinced that their relationship is actually a budding romance ("Make A Move"). Having reached Duloc, Fiona postpones meeting Lord Farquaad for one more night, and retires to a nearby barn to sleep as the sun sets. That night, Donkey stumbles into the barn and discovers Fiona's secret - she has transformed into an ogress. Fiona explains that she has been cursed to live by day as a human and by night as an ogre, and sees Lord Farquaad as her only chance for happiness because no one could ever love an ugly ogre. Shrek, who has worked up the courage to tell Fiona how he feels about her, overhears only the last part of Fiona's conversation with Donkey from outside the barn, and thinks she is talking about him. The next morning, Shrek admits to Fiona the he heard everything she said. Fiona now thinks that he knows her secret and is unable to love her because of it. Just then, Lord Farquaad arrives to claim Fiona. He hands over the deed to Shrek's swamp, and makes plans to marry Fiona that night. Hurt, Fiona accepts and leaves with him. The Fairy Tale Creatures drudge on, having been evicted from the swamp. Donkey pleads with Shrek to try to win back Fiona, and the Fairy Tale Creatures agree that he must be proud of who he is rather than ashamed by it ("Freak Flag"). With a sense of empowerment and a plan of action, the group decides to return to Duloc. Just as the Bishop is about to marry Fiona and Lord Farquaad, Shrek and the Fairy Tale Creatures burst in. Shrek professes his love for Fiona ("Big Bright Beautiful World - Reprise"), and the Fairy Tale Creatures reveal Lord Farquaad's father - a grumpy Dwarf. The discovery that Farquaad is actually a "freak" like the Fairy Tale Creatures he condemned shocks and surprises everyone. During this, the sun has gone down and Fiona has transformed into an ogress. Disgusted, Lord Farquaad claims that the marriage is binding - he is now king and shall lock Fiona back in the tower forever and rule Duloc himself. Just then, the Dragon crashes through the castle wall and heaves a fiery breath at Farquaad. Afterward, all that's left of him is his scorched crown. Shrek and Fiona finally share "true love's kiss," and although the spell is broken, Fiona doesn't turn back into a human. Shrek convinces her that she is beautiful just as she is, and everyone celebrates their individuality ("Finale"). Audio Sampler - HL00127656 $10.00 ShowKit - HL00127646 $695.00 This ShowKit includes: 30 Actor's Books Choreography DVD Director's Guide 30 Family Matters Booklets Media Disk 2 Performance/Accompaniment CDs Piano/Vocal Score 60-Minute JR. Request Individual Components 00127647 - Director's Guide $100.00 00127648 - Piano/Vocal Score $40.00 00127649 - Actor's Script $10.00 00127650 - Actor's Script 10-Pak $75.00 00127651 - Rehearsal/Accompaniment CD $75.00 00127652 - Student Rehearsal CD $10.00 00127653 - Student Rehearsal CD 20-Pak $100.00 00127654 - Choreography DVD $50.00 00127655 - Media Disc $10.00 00127656 - Audio Sampler $10.00 Hear A Sample Big Bright Beautiful World Story of My Life What's Up, Duloc (Part 1) What's Up, Duloc (Part 2) What's Up, Duloc (Reprise) I Know It's Today Travel Song Dragon Roar Forever This Is How A Dream Comes True Morning Person (Reprise) Freak Flag Big Bright Beautiful World (Reprise) Finale I'm A Believer Cast Size Large (over 20), Flexible Cast Type Ensemble Cast - Many featured roles, Star Vehicle - Female, Star Vehicle - Male, Strong/Large Chorus Dance Requirement Standard (Musical Staging/Some Dance/Optional) DONKEY A talking donkey who joins Shrek on the run from Farquaad's guards. Quite the chatterbox, he is not deterred by Shrek's looks and practically forces himself into his good graces. Easily frightened and pushy, but also an optimistic with heart. DRAGON A dragon that has been charged with guarding Princess Fiona in her isolated castle. She eventually falls in love with Donkey and attempts to keep him there forever. Imposing and flirtatious, but tired of her job as the glorified baby-sitter. ENSEMBLE Fairytale Creatures(Big Bad Wolf, Three Little Pigs, White Rabbit, Fairy Godmother, Peter Pan, Wicked Witch, Ugly Duckling, Three Bears, Mad Hatter, Humpty Dumpty, Elf, Dwarf, Three Blind Mice); Angry Mob; Happy People; Guards; Knights; Rats FIONA The beautiful princess of Far Far Away, she transforms into an ogre every night when the sun sets. Rescued by Shrek and eventually falls in love with him. Quirky, blunt, and multitalented, she is not an ordinary princess. GINGY A gingerbread man initially kidnapped by Lord Farquaad. His wit and resolution help him both avoid trouble and inspire the rest of the fairytale creatures. Puppet. Can be operated by actress appearing as Sugar Plum Fairy. LORD FARQUAAD The comically short, ruthless ruler of Duloc. He is in search of a princes to marry so that he can become king. Has an intensely unfair bias against fairytale creatures that stems from a resentment of his father. Self-absorbed, lonely, and cruel. PINOCCHIO The leader of the fairytale creatures. He is an animated puppet whose nose grows every time he lies. Plenty of sass with a penchant for lying. SHREK Our story's title character. A big, green, terrifying ogre who lives alone on a swamp. He embarks on a journey to rid his land of fairytale creatures and, along the way, falls in love with Fiona. Begins as a grumpy hermit, but reveals his layers and eventually becomes the hero.
Sister Act Jr. - Broadway Junior Menu LEARN MORE About Broadway Junior What Comes With the Showkit™? How to License a Broadway Junior Musical Order an Audio Sampler Frequently Asked Questions 60-Min.ute Musicals [JR.] 60-Minute Musicals Aladdin Jr. (Disney) Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Disney) Annie Jr. Beauty and the Beast Jr. (Disney) Bugsy Malone Jr. Children Of Eden Jr. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr. Dear Edwina Jr. Doctor Dolittle Jr. Elf The Musical Jr. Fame Jr. Fiddler on the Roof Jr. Finian's Rainbow Jr. Flat Stanley Jr. Frozen Jr. (Disney) A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens Jr. (Magic Tree House) Godspell Jr. Guys and Dolls Jr. Hairspray Jr. High School Musical Jr. (Disney) High School Musical 2 Jr. (Disney) Honk! Jr. Into the Woods Jr. James and the Giant Peach Jr. (Roald Dahl) Junie B. Jones Jr. Legally Blonde Jr. The Lion King Jr. (Disney) The Little Mermaid Jr. (Disney) Madagascar - A Musical Adventure Jr. Mary Poppins Jr. (Disney/Cameron Mackintosh) Matilda Jr. (Roald Dahl) Moana Jr. (Disney) The Music Man Jr. My Son Pinocchio Jr. (Disney) Once on This Island Jr. Peter Pan Jr. (Broadway) The Phantom Tollbooth Jr. The Pirates of Penzance Jr. Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr. Seussical Jr. Shrek Jr. Singin' In The Rain Jr. Sister Act Jr. Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. Willy Wonka Jr. (Roald Dahl) Xanadu Jr. 30-Min.ute Musicals [KIDS] 30-Minute Musicals 101 Dalmatians KIDS (Disney) Aladdin KIDS (Disney) Annie KIDS Aristocats KIDS (Disney) Dinosaurs Before Dark KIDS (Magic Tree House) Frozen KIDS (Disney) The Jungle Book KIDS (Disney) The Knight at Dawn KIDS (Magic Tree House) The Lion King KIDS (Disney) The Music Man KIDS Pirates Past Noon KIDS (Magic Tree House) Seussical KIDS Willy Wonka KIDS (Roald Dahl) Winnie the Pooh KIDS (Disney) A Year with Frog and Toad KIDS Product Information Musical Numbers Cast of Characters Credits Music by Alan Menken Lyrics by Glenn Slater Book by Bill & Cheri Steinkellner Additional Book Material by Douglas Carter Beane Overview / Synopsis It's Christmas Eve in 1977 Philadelphia, and Deloris is in the middle of a high- energy audition with her backup singers ("Take Me To Heaven (Nightclub)"). She and the girls are performing for Curtis, Deloris's boyfriend, and his thugs, Joey, TJ, Pablo, and Ernie. Despite praise from the thugs, Curtis doesn't believe Deloris and her singers are ready to perform in his club. After this rejection and a disappointing Christmas gift, Deloris decides that she deserves better, walking away from Curtis and his club with confidence ("Fabulous, Baby!"). However, Deloris is unwillingly drawn back in when she accidentally witnesses Curtis murdering Ernie for being a police informant. Curtis confronts her, but she flees. Deloris goes straight to the police station where Officer Eddie Souther takes an interest in what she has to say. Immediately recognizing the officer as "Sweaty Eddie," a boy who had a crush on her in high school, Deloris puts her faith in Eddie, trusting him to find her a place to hide from her dangerous boyfriend. Eddie thinks of "the perfect place," Queen of Angels Cathedral in South Philadelphia. Mother Superior hesitates to take in the "wayward woman" Monsignor O'Hara describes, but upon his insistence, she agrees. Both Deloris and Mother Superior are shocked when they discover Deloris will be hiding there for a month. Mother Superior is especially distressed to discover that Deloris is not religious. She describes Deloris's new environment to her, handing her a nun's habit to wear ("Here Within These Walls"). Mother Superior introduces Deloris to the nuns, referring to her as Sister Mary Clarence "from a more progressive order." The nuns say a prayer and begin to eat dinner, but when Deloris complains about the food, Mother Superior proposes a fast. While Deloris complains, the nuns enthusiastically share all the reasons why they love being nuns ("It's Good To Be A Nun"). Mother Superior and Deloris are left alone, and Mother Superior has a proposition: would Deloris like to join the choir? The singer quickly says she will. The next morning, Deloris arrives at choir practice and is immediately shocked at how terrible the choir sounds. The nuns, however, are amazed at Deloris's musical talent. Taking the musical baton from choir leader Mary Lazarus, Deloris reminds the nuns that they are "rejoicing" and "singing to the Lord." She encourages the nuns to sing louder, to sing on key, and to blend with each other. By the end of the rehearsal, the choir sounds incredible ("Raise Your Voice"). The choir continues to impress at the next church service, where they draw crowds the church hasn't had for a long time ("Take Me To Heaven (Nun Choir Version)"). But not everyone is impressed by the choir's new sound - Mother Superior calls Eddie to the church, asking him to take Deloris away. Eddie relays this command to Deloris, who is frustrated and concerned that Curtis will find her. She is disappointed with Eddie, and Eddie wishes desperately that he could be her knight in shining armor ("I Could Be That Guy"). Deloris approaches Mother Superior about the choir, trying to get her to understand their performances could be beneficial to the church. Mother Superior disagrees... until Monsignor O'Hara reports that the church is receiving a large number of donations. Mother Superior agrees to keep Deloris in the choir, and the next church service is even more energetic than the previous one ("Sunday Morning Fever - Part 2"). Positive publicity flows in, and the choir is even invited to perform for the pope! The nuns are ecstatic. However, all the publicity has a price - Curtis and his thugs recognize Deloris on TV. They hatch a plot to get into the convent and steal her away ("Lady In The Long Black Dress"). Right before their performance for the pope, the nuns nervously gather in Deloris's room. They ask her to lead them in a blessing, and she does ("Bless Our Show"). Suddenly, Mother Superior bursts into the room, telling Deloris she is in danger and must leave. The nuns are confused - who is Deloris? The musician reveals her true identity and the reason she has been staying in the convent. Though the nuns are shocked and saddened by the news, sweet young postulant Mary Robert approaches Deloris and asks to go with her. The young woman is beginning to doubt being a nun is her true calling ("The Life I Never Led"). Deloris tells her she can't make Mary Robert's decision for her; she must figure that out herself. Mary Robert leaves Deloris her rosary, and Deloris expresses her wish to stay with her sisters ("Sister Act"). The nuns are rehearsing for their performance for the pope when Deloris walks into the room. She has chosen to perform with them, and the nuns are overjoyed. But their joy is quickly interrupted when they hear the sound of a window breaking. Curtis has come for Deloris! The nuns scatter, attempting to hide their sister. After a few minutes of antics, Curtis corners Mary Robert, and Deloris steps in to protect her. With her sisters behind her and Curtis coming for her, Deloris kneels and prays ("Sister Act (Reprise)"). Curtis crosses to Deloris, ready to strike, when Eddie jumps out from the middle of the nuns, surprising the thug. The cops handcuff Curtis and take him away, and Deloris rewards Eddie with a kiss. Mother Superior asks if Deloris will come back to the church to visit, and Deloris says she will be back often to sing. The sisters end the show with a rousing performance for the pope ("Spread The Love Around"). Audio Sampler - HL00294768 $10.00 ShowKit - HL00294771 $695.00 This ShowKit includes: 30 Actor's Scripts Piano/Vocal Score Director's Script Performance/Accompaniment & Guide Vocal Audio (Digital Only) Choreography Videos (Digital Only) Downloadable Media Resources (Digital Only) Digital Delivery Update Now you can receive digital access to many of the ShowKit components you know and love. Look forward to easily distributing these crucial components to your cast and creative team: Performance Accompaniment Tracks and Guide Vocal Tracks (Formerly Accompaniment CD & Rehearsal CD, respectively) will now be delivered together as a digital download and easily shared with your entire team, cast, and crew Choreography Videos (formerly the Choreography DVD) will be available to stream directly from mtishows.com. Now not only your choreographer but the entire cast will have access to fantastic step-by-step instruction for every Broadway Junior title! Downloadable Resources (formerly the Resources (or Media) Disc), including Audition Materials, a customizable press release, program and other helpful templates, and more can all be accessed with a click of a button 60-Minute JR. Request Individual Components 00294756 - Director's Guide $100.00 00294757 - Piano/Vocal Score $40.00 00294758 - Actor's Script $10.00 00294759 - Actor's Script 10-pak $75.00 00294768 - Audio Sampler $10.00 MUSICAL NUMBERS TAKE ME TO HEAVEN (NIGHTCLUB) FABULOUS, BABY! THE PERFECT PLACE HERE WITHIN THESE WALLS IT'S GOOD TO BE A NUN RAISE YOUR VOICE TAKE ME TO HEAVEN (NUN CHOIR VERSION) I COULD BE THAT GUY SUNDAY MORNING FEVER TAKE ME TO HEAVEN (NEWSCAST) LADY IN THE LONG BLACK DRESS BLESS OUR SHOW THE LIFE I NEVER LED SISTER ACT SISTER ACT (REPRISE) SPREAD THE LOVE AROUND Deloris Van Cartier A strong, street- wise aspiring singer who gets caught up with the wrong crowd. When she witnesses a crime involving her ex-boyfriend, she is put in witness protection - as a nun! Deloris is reluctant at first, but the more time she spends at the convent, the more she realizes that time with the sisters is exactly what she needed. Cast a great actress and wonderful singer in this powerhouse role. Tina One of Deloris's backup singers. These featured roles are perfect for enthusiastic performers who may not be quite ready to take on a larger role. Cast solid, good singers who are comfortable with speaking lines in this fun girl group! (And feel free to add these actors to your nun ensemble later in the show.) Nina One of Deloris's backup singers. These featured roles are perfect for enthusiastic performers who may not be quite ready to take on a larger role. Cast solid, good singers who are comfortable with speaking lines in this fun girl group! (And feel free to add these actors to your nun ensemble later in the show.) Elle One of Deloris's backup singers. These featured roles are perfect for enthusiastic performers who may not be quite ready to take on a larger role. Cast solid, good singers who are comfortable with speaking lines in this fun girl group! (And feel free to add these actors to your nun ensemble later in the show.) Michelle One of Deloris's backup singers. These featured roles are perfect for enthusiastic performers who may not be quite ready to take on a larger role. Cast solid, good singers who are comfortable with speaking lines in this fun girl group! (And feel free to add these actors to your nun ensemble later in the show.) Curtis Jackson To put it frankly, a complete jerk. He's not only mean and dishonest, he's also dangerous - and he's got Deloris on his radar. Curtis does not sing a solo, so cast a fantastic actor in this role who can make the most out of playing the bad guy. Joey The wise guy of Curtis's group. He's an upbeat charmer who is always ready with a joke - even though he's one of Curtis's criminals. Cast a charismatic, funny actor with a great singing voice in this role. TJ Not the brightest bulb in the bunch, and the audience is meant to have a few laughs at his expense. Cast a solid comedic actor who has great chemistry onstage with Joey and Pablo. Pablo The strong, silent type who definitely leans into his role as the muscle of the group. He has a few lines and sings some, but most importantly, he should make a great third member of the trio with Joey and TJ. Ernie One of Curtis's thugs and, unfortunately, takes the fall for being a police informant. This is a featured role for a good actor! Feel free to double Ernie as an Altar Boy or the Monsignor O'Hara later in the show if your program is short on male actors - just make sure that the audience won't confuse the characters if they are played by the same person. Cop The first person to talk to Deloris about Ernie's murder. This is a featured role for a performer who may be new to the stage. Eddie Souther The quintessential good guy with a heart of gold. Though Eddie was overlooked by Deloris in high school, he never quite got over his crush on her, which results in a few awkwardly endearing moments throughout the show. Cast an excellent actor, singer, and dancer who can portray this hardworking, sweet, dependable cop. Mother Superior Devoted leader of the convent. Her church and her sisters come before all else - and she's not afraid to voice her opinion. Mother Superior means well and eventually comes around regarding Deloris. Mother Superior is a major role, so look for an excellent singer and actress who can portray this strong, independent woman. Monsignor O'Hara The charming spiritual leader of the Queen of Angels Cathedral. His bottom line is to save their church, and he will do anything to support the bottom line - including forcing Mother Superior to house Deloris. Monsignor O'Hara should have a good stage presence and a sense of comic timing. He does not sing a solo in the show, so cast an actor with charisma who can take over the stage! Mary Patrick A nun in the convent. She is an upbeat, over-the-top, enthusiastic person who is always looking on the bright side. She has a number of solos within songs, so cast a good singer and actor in this fun role. Mary Robert A postulant and the youngest of the abbey's inhabitants. Shy, soft- spoken, and a bit of a wallflower, she enjoys being a nun, but her friendship with Deloris lets her truly find her voice. Cast a powerhouse singer and a great actor in this role. Mary Lazarus One of the older nuns at the convent, and she leads the choir. She is rather deadpan and not particularly welcoming to Deloris at first, though Deloris's love of music eventually wins her over. Cast a great character actor with a sense of comic timing who is comfortable with character singing. Mary Martin-Of-Tours A nun who definitely exists in her own world, so cast a good actor in this role that can make strong character choices. This nun has some wonderful stand-out moments, which include delivering an excellent karate chop, but she does not sing a solo, so cast someone who is a stronger actor than singer for this memorable role. Mary Celeste Mary Celeste and Mary Irene are the convent's cooks. They have a few featured solos, so cast confident singers in these roles. Mary Irene Mary Celeste and Mary Irene are the convent's cooks. They have a few featured solos, so cast confident singers in these roles. Mary Stephen A nun in the convent with a fantastic singing voice. She's supportive of Deloris's music from the start. Cast a great singer. Mary Theresa The oldest nun in the convent. She has a few featured lines and a small solo. This role is a great opportunity for someone new to the stage, so cast a good actor in this role who is comfortable singing in a group. Nuns The Nuns (including Nun 1, Nun 2, and Nun 3) help fill out of the world of the convent. Nun 1, Nun 2, and Nun 3 have featured solos, so be sure to cast actors in these roles that are ready for their moment in the spotlight. Ensemble Roles include: additional Nuns, Altar Boys, Street People, Angry Street Person, and Members of the Congregation