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Vocal Promotions Current Promotions 2018-2019 Vocal Music Recent Releases and Highlights Music for the Beginning Classical Voice Student Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology Songfinders Joan Frey Boytim Complete Publications Keys in Five Editions Reference The Vocal Library At a Glance The First Book of Solos/The Second Book of Solos Songlist (alphabetical by composer) The Vocal Library Alpha by Title The Vocal Library Songtitle by Composer The First Book of Solos/The Second Book of Solos Songlist (alphabetical by song) Opera Aria Finder - Soprano Opera Aria Finder - Mezzo-Soprano Opera Aria Finder - Tenor Opera Aria Finder - Baritone Opera Aria Finder - Bass Teen's Musical Theatre Children's Vocal Songfinder Publications with Companion CDs Index Recorded Diction Lessons Reference Hal Leonard Classical Current Promotions 2019-2020 Vocal Music Recent Releases and Highlights Music for the Beginning Classical Voice Student Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology Songfinders Joan Frey Boytim Complete Publications Keys in Five Editions Reference The Vocal Library At a Glance The First Book of Solos/The Second Book of Solos Songlist (alphabetical by composer) The Vocal Library Alpha by Title The Vocal Library Songtitle by Composer The First Book of Solos/The Second Book of Solos Songlist (alphabetical by song) Opera Aria Finder - Soprano Opera Aria Finder - Mezzo-Soprano Opera Aria Finder - Tenor Opera Aria Finder - Baritone Opera Aria Finder - Bass Teen's Musical Theatre Children's Vocal Songfinder Publications with Companion CDs Index Recorded Diction Lessons Reference Hal Leonard Online - Vocal Promotions
Rules - 2020 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition The 2020 HAL LEONARD VOCAL COMPETITION THE NORTH AMERICAN COMPETITION FOR SINGERS, SPONSORED BY THE WORLD LEADER IN VOCAL MUSIC $10,000 IN PRIZES FOR YOUNG SINGERS, CHILDREN THROUGH COLLEGE UNDERGRADUATES Home Previous Winners Rules Art Song Musical Theatre 2020 will be the tenth year of the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, the innovative online competition for singers. This is the only vocal competition for all of North America aimed at young singers, ages 23 and under, and one of the first legitimate competitions for music students held entirely online on YouTube. In keeping with our founding values for the competition, there is no entry fee, making it accessible to any qualifying singer, from any location in North America (and U.S. territories), who records a video comprised of songs from the required repertoire, and then posts it on the internet in the prescribed manner by the deadline. This eliminates the commonly encountered expenses of travel to a designated destination on a specific date, as is the case in conventional music competitions. Cash prizes are awarded to first place winners in each category, and valuable gift certificates are awarded to those singers placing second and third. Gift certificates are also possible for those named Honorable Mention. All these prizes are in the spirit of supporting further music study among talented singers. We also very much value the sense of shared community that singers and teachers may find in watching video entries of others from all over North America. We give an inadequate salute to all the thousands of music teachers in North America. You inspire us by keeping our musical heritage alive, passing it on to one student at a time. Best of luck to all! We congratulate our past prize winners! Click on the year to see the video entries of past prize winners: View the Winning Videos from our Previous Years Choose a Previous Year 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 Official Rules Common Problems with Rules and Other Topics Judging OFFICIAL RULES In the spirit of fairness to all entries, these rules must be followed explicitly, without exception. It simply would not be fair to all other entrants if we allow an entry that does not follow all the rules. The rules and guidelines apply to both categories, Art Song and Musical Theatre. Official Entry Forms may be accessed at the end of the Required Repertoire for each age division within a category. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada. Video entries must be submitted by 1:59 am Central time on February 2, 2020. Any entries after that strict deadline will be disqualified. To be absolutely clear when your video is due please consult the list of time zones below: Atlantic Time Zone: February 2, 3:59 am Eastern Time Zone: February 2, 2:59 am Central Time Zone: February 2, 1:59 am Mountain Time Zone: February 2, 12:59 am Pacific Time Zone: February 1, 11:59 pm Alaskan Time Zone: February 1, 10:59 pm Hawaiian Time Zone: February 1, 8:59 pm Designated winners may be asked to provide proof of age before the dispensation of prizes. Results will be announced to entrants via email and on www.halleonard.com/vocalcomp by May 1, 2020. We have added an optional field for teacher's email address to the official entry form; if the teacher's email address is entered, the teacher will also receive notification of results. An entrant may only win a first place cash prize once per age division within a category (art song or musical theatre). For instance, if you win first place in the Early Teen Voices Art Song category at age 14, you cannot enter again in that category the next year at age 15. Second Place, Third Place and Honorable Mentions are free to re-enter in the same age division. In the interest of fairness, employees of Hal Leonard, Hal Leonard published composers, editors, arrangers or authors, or members of their immediate families, or their students, are not allowed to enter the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition. You must follow the repertoire guidelines. Music competitions generally have required repertoire, and the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition is no different in this regard. The publications in the required repertoire list for each category and age division have been carefully considered, and generally offer a variety of material from which to choose. In fairness, we must insist that all entrants abide by these prescribed rules. Make certain that you have chosen songs from the required repertoire publications for your age division. It is not acceptable to sing repertoire from another age division, even a higher age division. Doing so will require us to disqualify your entry. For the Children's Voices and Early Teens Voices categories only, we will allow transposition if the voice teacher feels this solves a vocal problem for the singer. If you wish to transpose a song, it is required that you seek permission for each song that you wish to transpose. Permissions must be sought via email to vocal@halleonard.com. Transpositions are allowed only to address vocal issues common to children and voices going through puberty. Transpositions will not be allowed for the high school and college categories. Two contrasting songs are required. Do not sing two slow songs or two fast songs or two songs of similar character. Accompanists are forbidden to use photocopies. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications in printed or ebook form. Entries with visible photocopies or visible loose pages of any kind will be automatically disqualified. Photocopying music is illegal. The purchase of a publication does not grant the right to photocopy for rehearsal or performance with a pianist. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this strict rule. We cannot make any exceptions. Pianists must play from original publications, whether this is their preference or not. There is no other choice for this competition. We urge the use of page turners as necessary. The performance recorded for the video entry must be acoustic and not amplified. The only microphone(s) involved should be for recording, and your voice must not be amplified. No mixing or sound enhancement is allowed through any kind of soundboard, including at a recording studio. No reverb can be added to the recording. The recording must be honest and acoustic. As closely as possible, it needs to be as if the judges were in the room listening to you perform live. You must sing live on the video. No audio dubbing over your video is allowed. Be aware that if your video entry sounds as if you have added reverb or enhanced the sound in any way, even if this is not the case, the judges will question and possibly disqualify your entry. If you are recording your video in a professional recording studio (which is completely unnecessary and possibly unwise for this competition), the sound engineer must not add reverb, sound enhancement or sound mixing in any way. Complete introductions, interludes, etc., must be performed. All repeats must be performed. If a singer is uncomfortable with a song which has a long introduction or interlude, choose a different song! Tasteful, stylistic ornamentation is allowed for Baroque selections in the art song category. Note any specific repertory requirements for each category. For musical theatre selections, a few interpretive liberties are allowed, but these should be deliberately chosen stylistic choices, not musical inaccuracies. The style of singing remains musical theatre, and should not venture into pop/rock/jazz improvisation. The taste and interpretive choices a singer makes will be part of what is judged. If the judges believe the singer has strayed too far away from the song as written, or from the way it is traditionally performed, it could impact the judging. Some teachers seem to think that if a singer does not sing exactly the notes and rhythms that are on the page, that the student audition should not be judged positively. It's up to the judges to decide what is acceptable within the style, and what is not. This applies to the piano accompaniment. Appropriate stylistic deviation is acceptable, however reharmonization and widely varying distractions will not be accepted. For the Art Song competition, in any age category, your video must be titled as follows: HL Art Song 2020 [Your Name] For instance: HL Art Song 2020 Mary Smith To be explicit: HL(one space)Art(one space)Song(one space)2020(one space)Mary(one space)Smith Note that HL is capitalized with no space between the H and L, and the first letter of Art and Song are capitalized. Also note that Art and Song are two separate words, with one space between them. For the Musical Theatre competition, in any age category, your video must be titled as follows: HL Theatre 2020 [Your Name] For instance: HL Theatre 2020 Mary Smith To be explicit: HL(one space)Theatre(one space)2020(one space)Mary(one space)Smith Note that HL is capitalized with no space between the H and L, and the first letter of theatre is capitalized. Note the spelling of Theatre (We have chosen Theatre as the spelling, not Theater, which is another acceptable spelling.) The judges will not spend time searching for your video if it is incorrectly labeled. In the official entry form, you will be providing the link with the web address of your video posting. Hal Leonard will also be copying your posting into the Hal Leonard Vocal Channel. Please double check the link provided. The video must clearly show your face. A stationary camera position throughout, showing your face and most of your body, is perfectly acceptable, even preferable. Singers are required to sing their selections from memory. If a singer's performance is not memorized, the entry will be disqualified. You may sing with a live pianist in your video entry, or you may sing with official Hal Leonard recorded accompaniments which are packaged with or are companion to the required publications. Only official Hal Leonard recorded accompaniments are allowed. No other recorded accompaniments will be accepted, including orchestrated accompaniments and MIDI generated backing tracks. We will not accept unaccompanied entries. You may not accompany yourself. Note that the quality of the accompanist's playing can affect not only your singing, but also the judging. An accompaniment with many wrong notes creates a bad impression. If you believe this may be an issue, we urge you to use Hal Leonard recorded accompaniments instead. The video should be in the spirit of a recital or audition. It may be shot in a home, school, church, synagogue, recital hall, or some other appropriate location, with or without an audience. Please take into account the acoustics of the room. A small room with dead acoustics will not flatter a voice. We encourage you to dress appropriately, as you would for a recital or an audition. You are required to introduce yourself and your selections in the video, either verbally before your selection or with a title card before the songs. This is a simple introduction in the spirit of an audition. This introductory portion of the video entry must be limited to the following: FOR THE ART SONG COMPETITION Your name The composer and title of your selection (prior to each song) FOR THE MUSICAL THEATRE COMPETITION Your name The title of the song The show the song is from Do not say or write anything more in your video entry to the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition. Those departing from this stated direction may be disqualified. For the Art Song Competition, a typical model of spoken introduction before the first selection is: I am __________________. I will sing "The Silver Swan" by Orlando Gibbons (Or after your name you could simply state the selection without saying 'I will sing') Before the second selection, simply state the song title and the composer. For example: "Per la gloria d'adorarvi" by Giovanni Bononcini Take very special care to pronounce the title of your song and the composer's name correctly. For the Musical Theatre Competition, a typical model of spoken introduction before the first selection is: I am __________________. I will sing "Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid. (Or after your name you could simply state the selection without saying 'I will sing') Before the second selection, simply introduce the song by stating the song title and the show the song is from: "Where Is Love" from Oliver! Video editing during a song is not allowed under any circumstances. This will be automatic grounds for disqualification. Each song should be filmed in one continuous take. The only editing allowed in the audition video is the insertion of an introduction, if necessary, and the editing together of two required songs. Do not change camera angles within the performance of a song. Each singer should submit both required songs within one video entry for a category. A singer is allowed to enter both the Art Song and Musical Theatre Competitions. There is no fee required for entry in the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition. We have attempted to thoroughly address all issues in these rules and guidelines. We repeat that, in fairness to all entrants, the official rules must be followed explicitly, without exception. The repertoire requirements must be strictly followed. If you write to us asking us to make an exception for you regarding required repertoire, or asking to submit a video entry to the competition after the stated deadline, we will simply write back stating that we must enforce the rules. We believe questions about topics beyond those covered should be very rare. If they arise, they may be directed to vocal@halleonard.com. COMMON PROBLEMS WITH RULES AND OTHER TOPICS THE USE OF VISIBLE PHOTOCOPIES IS PROHIBITED We have had to disqualify some video entries because of use of photocopies by accompanists, a clear violation of the rules. Most music competitions ban photocopies. Because we are, after all, a music publisher, we must take this rule very seriously. We have also added to this rule a ban of playing from any visible loose pages of music of any kind, whether they are photocopies or pages cut from a book, or any visible loose pages placed in any kind of binder, because the judges cannot tell that loose pages such as these are not photocopies. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this strict rule. Pianists must play from original publications, whether this is their preference or not. The purchase of a publication does not grant the right to photocopy for rehearsal or performance with a pianist. We urge the use of page turners as necessary. SONGS MUST BE FROM THE REQUIRED REPERTOIRE LIST Each year we are forced to disqualify a few entries because the singer sings songs that are not from the list of specified required repertoire publications for a category. This has particularly been a problem in the children's categories. Singers must sing songs from the publications listed in the required repertoire list for the category of entry. Music competitions generally have required repertoire, and the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition is no different in this regard. The publications in the required repertoire list for each category and age division have been carefully considered, and generally offer a wide array of material from which to choose. In fairness, we must insist that all entrants abide by these prescribed rules. Each year we receive inquiries that essentially ask, "May I sing a song from a book not on the required repertoire list?" Or, "I have this book not on your repertoire list. May I sing a song from this instead? The answer to these questions will always be no. In fairness to all entrants we must insist that the repertoire rules be followed. If you sing a song not from one of the publications in the required repertoire list, you will be disqualified. Also, many singer entries make mistakes in listing which publication a song is from. Please accurately list in your entry form the title of the book in which your song is published. ENTER THE APPROPRIATE AGE DIVISION AND CATEGORY Age is defined as the entering singer's age on the deadline of February 1, 2020. Make certain that you enter the correct age division of the competition. Each year we have entries in the wrong age division or wrong category, Art Song or Musical Theatre. THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRY MUST BE RESPECTED Video entries must be submitted by 1:59 am Central time on February 2, 2020. Any entries after that strict deadline will be disqualified. To be absolutely clear when your video is due please consult the list of time zones below: Atlantic Time Zone: February 2, 3:59 am Eastern Time Zone: February 2, 2:59 am Central Time Zone: February 2, 1:59 am Mountain Time Zone: February 2, 12:59 am Pacific Time Zone: February 1, 11:59 pm Alaskan Time Zone: February 1, 10:59 pm Hawaiian Time Zone: February 1, 8:59 pm TRANSPOSITIONS For High School and College/Young Adult age divisions, the video entries in the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition, songs must be sung in a published key that is in a publication on the required repertoire list for a category. Note that some of the publications on the required repertoire list come in more than one key (such as High Voice or Low Voice). As long as it is a published key from one of the publications on the required repertoire list, the entry is acceptable. For the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition we will not accept entries of transposed keys that are not in the required repertoire list of publications. We have decided to allow transpositions for the Children's Voices and Early Teen Voices categories, but you must follow the specific instructions stated in the Official Rules and Guidelines. VIDEO AND AUDIO QUALITY While we do not expect professional quality video and audio, after hearing thousands of video auditions for the competition, we have observed that those videos with notably poor video and audio quality make a less than good impression. On some entries the audio is so distorted that it is impossible to get a good impression of the singer's voice. We urge you to do the best you can. Take acoustics and the placement of microphones into account. Please test the recording set up before recording your video. A video audition sung in a small room with dead acoustics will generally make a less flattering vocal impression than a video audition recorded in a room with more sympathetic acoustics. When using a smartphone to make a recording, a better result can be achieved by holding the phone horizontally rather than vertically. YOUTUBE PUBLIC SETTING Every year we have entries that do not understand the "public" view setting on YouTube, and we have to ask the video to be made viewable. If you do not want your video to be publicly accessible, this is not the right competition for you. AMPLIFICATION AND SOUND ENHANCEMENT There must be no amplification of the voice, no added reverb, or any sound enhancement added to the voice. Carefully read rules 15 and 16. Each year we have to disqualify singers who violate this rule. This must be an acoustic audition. If you choose to record in a recording studio (which is completely unnecessary), the sound engineer must not mix the sound, balance the voice and piano, multi-track record the voice and piano, add reverb, or alter in any way the acoustic sound of the voice. There should just be microphones for recording set up in the live room in the recording studio. Please do not make the mistake of overproducing this video audition regarding sound engineering. Also, a live performance with a microphone that is amplified through speakers is not allowed. Each entry must be via video posted at www.youtube.com, with the link provided on the entry form. For information on posting videos we recommend exploring the Help section found on the YouTube homepage. Please note that you must select "Public" in the Privacy settings found under the broadcasting and Sharing Options section when uploading your video file to YouTube. If you select "Unlisted" or "Private" your submission will be invalid. Please only enter the Hal Leonard Vocal Competition if you are comfortable posting a public video on YouTube. Every year we have entries that do not understand the public video point, and we have to ask them to make their video viewable, and we sometimes have a reply that says, "I don't want my video publicly viewed." That's the spirit of YouTube. Don't enter if you don't want your video publicly viewed. JUDGING Art Song Judging will be by a qualified panel selected by Hal Leonard. Decisions made will be final. Criteria for judging will be most importantly voice quality and overall vocal talent. Additionally, judges will consider clarity of voice, diction, musicianship, musicality and expression, the singer's choice of repertoire, communication, presentation, and the performing personality of the singer. Musical Theatre We remind you that this is a singing competition. We urge performers to refrain from choreography in the musical video entries; however, we want lively, theatrical singing. Classical singers with good voices singing theatre repertoire need to sing in an appropriate theatre style, with persuasive acting and expression. Bland classical performances of theatre songs will not likely get a good judging result. Judging will be by a qualified panel selected by Hal Leonard. Decisions made will be final. Criteria for judging singing actors will be voice quality and overall vocal talent combined with theatrically persuasive ability to communicate. Additionally, judges will consider acting ability, clarity of voice, diction, musicianship, musicality, and expression, the singer's choice of repertoire, communication and presentation, and the performing personality of the singer. Competition Age Divisions with Required Repertoire See required repertoire details for each category and age division below. To find out more about any of the required repertoire publications listed, including viewing complete contents, enter the 8-digit publication number in the Search field at www.halleonard.com. Official 2020 Art Song Entry Form Children's Voices Ages 12 & Under Early Teen Voices Ages 13-15 High School Voices Ages 16-18 College/University Voices Ages 18-23 CHILDREN'S VOICES, AGE 12 AND UNDER - ART SONG Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $250 cash Second Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $50 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one Book with a retail value of up to $30.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the Children's Voices category The purpose of having a children's art song category is to hear natural, lyrical singing with a "classical" approach, as opposed to a child's natural belting sound appropriate to musical theatre. To be explicit, we are not looking for the child's belting style of singing in this category. If that is the child's natural singing voice, please enter in the Musical Theatre category only. There is a limited amount of "classical" repertoire suitable to children. Two contrasting songs are required. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. You must sing repertoire as stated below. No substitutions of other repertoire is allowed. We inexplicably get questions every year from quite a few people asking if they can sing songs not on the required repertoire list. The answer will always be no. Please do not ask us for allowances or exceptions to the required repertoire list for this category. If you sing songs outside of the publications listed below on the required list, your entry will be disqualified. Note to teachers and parents: We have more disqualifications in the children's categories than any other category because repertoire rules are not followed. Fairness must prevail, and we cannot have a publicly declared winner with songs not on the required repertoire list. Be absolutely certain that the contestant is singing songs from the required repertoire only. Do not sing songs from a higher category. Art Songs for Children Book/Audio The Boy's Changing Voice (for a boy's voice in transition; not recommended for a boy's voice not yet in transition as the range will be too low) Hal Leonard Book/Audio Daffodils, Violets & Snowflakes compiled by Joan Frey Boytim High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 36 Solos for Young Singers compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; Hal Leonard Book/Audio DO NOT SING THE FOLLOWING from 36 Solos for Young Singers: Sit Down, Sister The Desperado Git Along, Little Dogies He's Got the Whole World in His Hand Macnamara's Band 36 More Solos for Young Singers compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; Hal Leonard Book/Audio 25 Folksong Solos for Children Book/Audio EARLY TEEN VOICES, AGES 13-15 - ART SONG Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $500 cash Second Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $50 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one Book with a retail value of up to $30.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the Early Teen Voices category Any two contrasting songs from the following publications. Your entry may be two songs in English, or one song in English and one song in Italian. Two songs in Italian are not allowed. The contrast between the songs should include differences in mood and tempo. Do not sing two fast songs, or two slow songs. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. You must sing repertoire as stated below. No substitutions of other repertoire is allowed. We inexplicably get questions every year from quite a few people asking if they can sing songs from publications not on the required repertoire list. The answer will always be no. Please do not ask us for allowances or exceptions to the required repertoire list for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. Do not sing songs from a higher category. A helpful comment: You will not necessarily do better in the judging by choosing a more difficult and challenging song if you cannot master it well. It is better to sing something you do well. American Art Songs for the Progressing Singer compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard Soprano Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone/Bass The Boy's Changing Voice Hal Leonard Book/Audio NOTE: For male voices in transition; not for treble, unchanged voices. Easy Songs for the Beginning Soprano Easy Songs for the Beginning Soprano - Part II compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard Part I, Book/Audio Part II, Book/Audio Easy Songs for the Beginning Mezzo-Soprano/Alto Easy Songs for the Beginning Mezzo-Soprano/Alto - Part II compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard Part I, Book/Audio Part II, Book/Audio Easy Songs for the Beginning Tenor Easy Songs for the Beginning Tenor - Part II compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonar Part I, Book/Audio Part II, Book/Audio Easy Songs for the Beginning Baritone/Bass Easy Songs for the Beginning Baritone/Bass - Part II compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard Part I, Book/Audio Part II, Book/Audio English Songs: Renaissance to Baroque edited by Steven Stolen and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard High Voice | Book/Audio Low Voice | Book/Audio 15 Easy Folksong Arrangements for the Progressing Singer edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 15 Easy Spiritual Arrangements for the Progessing Singer edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio Harry T. Burleigh: 25 Spirituals Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio Lovers, Lasses & Spring compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; Hal Leonard Book/Audio Roses, Laughter & Lullabies compiled by Joan Frey Boytim; Hal Leonard Book/Audio The Student Singer Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 28 Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries edited by Richard Walters; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard High Voice | Book/Audio Medium High Voice | Book/Audio Medium Voice | Book/Audio Medium Low Voice | Book/Audio Low Voice | Book/Audio NOTE: DO NOT SING TWO SONGS IN ITALIAN Young Ladies, Shipmates and Journeys Hal Leonard, Vocal Collection Tenor, Book/Audio Baritone/Bass, Book/Audio HIGH SCHOOL VOICES, AGES 16-18 - ART SONG Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada and attending a High School or its equivalent or studying with a teacher at the time of entry. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. See Rule 13. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $750 cash Second Place $200 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one Book with a retail value of up to $30.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the High School Voices category Any two contrasting songs in two different languages from the following publications. The contrast between the songs should include differences in language, mood and tempo. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. Aaron Copland: Old American Songs Complete Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice | Book/Audio Medium Voice | Medium Voice Book/Audio Low Voice | Low Voice Book/Audio American Art Songs for the Progressing Singer G. Schirmer, Inc. Soprano Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone Anthology of Spanish Song edited by Maria DiPalma and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | High Voice Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Low Voice | Low Voice Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio The Art Song Anthology edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Benjamin Britten: Complete Folksong Arrangements Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium/Low Voice Benjamin Britten: 12 Selected Folksong Arrangements Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Book/Audio Medium/Low Voice Book/Audio Classical Contest Solos Hal Leonard Soprano Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto Book/Audio Tenor Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Book/Audio The Developing Classical Singer Boosey & Hawkes Soprano Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone/Bass Dominick Argento: Six Elizabethan Songs Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Book/Audio Medium/Low Voice Book/Audio English Songs: Renaissance to Baroque edited by Steven Stolen and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | Book/Audio Low Voice | Book/Audio Favorite French Art Songs (Volume 1 or 2) Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Vol. 1 Book/Audio High Voice Vol. 2 Book/Audio Low Voice Vol. 1 Book/Audio Low Voice Vol. 2 Book/Audio Favorite German Art Songs (Volume 1 or 2) Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Vol. 1 Book/Audio High Voice Vol. 2 Book/Audio Low Voice Vol. 1 Book/Audio Low Voice Vol. 2 Book/Audio Favorite Spanish Art Songs Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio 15 American Art Songs G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 15 More American Art Songs G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 15 Art Songs by American Composers Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 15 Art Songs by British Composers Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 15 Recital Songs in English Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio The First Book of Soprano Solos Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Soprano Solos Part II Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Soprano Solos Part III Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Mezzo-Soprano/Alto Solos Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Mezzo-Soprano/Alto Solos Part II Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Mezzo-Soprano/Alto Solos Part III Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Tenor Solos Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Tenor Solos Part II Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Tenor Solos Part III Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Baritone/Bass Solos Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Baritone/Bass Solos Part II Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. The First Book of Baritone/Bass Solos Part III Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Book Book/Audio Note: Any opera, operetta or oratorio arias in The First Book of Solos books are not eligible repertory. Franz Schubert: 15 Selected Songs edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio The French Song Anthology edited by Carol Kimball and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | High Voice Accompaniment CDs Low Voice | Low Voice Accompaniment CDs Pronunciation Guide Book/Audio High Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Low Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Gabriel Fauré: 15 Selected Songs edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Harry T. Burleigh: 25 Spirituals Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Henry Purcell: 12 Selected Songs realizations by Benjamin Britten Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Book/Audio Medium/Low Voice Book/Audio Introduction to Art Song Compiled by Joan Boytim/G. Schirmer Soprano, Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto, Book/Audio Tenor, Book/Audio Baritone/Bass, Book/Audio Johannes Brahms: 15 Selected Songs edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Leonard Bernstein: I Hate Music! Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Medium/Low Voice The Lieder Anthology edited by Virginia Saya and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | High Voice Accompaniment CDs Low Voice | Low Voice Accompaniment CDs Pronunciation Guide Book/Audio High Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Low Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Ned Rorem: 10 Selected Songs Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Ralph Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Roger Quilter: Collected Songs Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Low Voice Roger Quilter: 55 Songs edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Low Voice Samuel Barber: 65 Songs G. Schirmer High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Samuel Barber: 10 Selected Songs G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Songs of John Jacob Niles G. Schirmer, Inc. High Voice Low Voice Standard Vocal Literature edited by Richard Walters/The Vocal Library Soprano, Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano, Book/Audio Tenor, Book/Audio Baritone, Book/Audio Bass, Book/Audio Note: Opera, oratorio or operetta arias from Standard Vocal Literature are not allowed. Art Songs only. 28 American Art Songs G. Schirmer High Voice, Book/Audio Low Voice, Book/Audio 28 Italian Songs and Arias of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries edited by Richard Walters; G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard High Voice | Book/Audio Medium High Voice | Book/Audio Medium Voice | Book/Audio Medium Low Voice | Book/Audio Low Voice | Book/Audio COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY ADULT VOICES (UNDERGRADUATES), AGES 18-23 - ART SONG Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada and enrolled as an undergraduate at a college, university or conservatory or studying with a private teacher at time of entry. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $1000 cash Second Place $200 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one Book with a retail value of up to $50.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the College/University Voices category Choose any two contrasting songs in two different languages only from the following publications. The contrast between the songs should include differences in language, mood and tempo. We advise you to choose songs that show your vocal and expressive capabilities, revealing a true feeling for art song and some degree of sophistication as a recitalist. The judges like to hear singers explore art song repertoire beyond the most famous and often sung songs. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. Aaron Copland: Art Songs and Arias (art songs only) Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium/Low Voice Aaron Copland: Old American Songs Complete Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice | High Voice Book/Audio Medium Voice | Medium Voice Book/Audio Low Voice | Low Voice Book/Audio Alexander Borodin: Collection of Romances Forberg Musikverlag High Voice Medium/Low Voice Anthology of Spanish Song edited by Maria DiPalma and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | High Voice Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Low Voice | Low Voice Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio The Art Song Anthology edited by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Art Song in English Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Low Voice Benjamin Britten: Collected Songs Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium/Low Voice Benjamin Britten: Complete Folksong Arrangements Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium/Low Voice Charles Ives: 114 Songs Peermusic Classical Book Dominick Argento: Collected Song Cycles Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium Voice Dominick Argento: Six Elizabethan Songs Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium Voice Erik Satie: 22 Songs Salabert High Voice Medium-Low Voice Folksongs in Recital concert arrangements by Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Book/Audio Low Voice Book/Audio Franz Schubert: 100 Songs edited by Steven Stolen and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Low Voice The French Song Anthology edited by Carol Kimball and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | High Voice Accompaniment CDs Low Voice | Low Voice Accompaniment CDs Pronunciation Guide Book/Audio High Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Low Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Gabriel Fauré: 50 Songs edited by Laura Ward and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Medium/Low Voice Gerald Finzi: Collected Songs Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Medium/Low Voice Gioachino Rossini: Arie de Camera High/Medium High Voice G. Schirmer Collection of American Art Song G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard High Voice Medium/Low Voice Italian Art Songs Ricordi High Voice Medium Voice Italian Art Songs of the 20th Century Ricordi High Voice Medium Voice Jake Heggie: The Faces of Love Complete Associated Music Publishers Book Johannes Brahms: 75 Songs edited by Richard Walters, Laura Ward and Elaine Schmidt; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Low Voice John Musto: Collected Songs Peermusic Classical High Voice Vol. 1 High Voice Vol. 2 High Voice Vol. 3 High Voice Vol. 4 High Voice Vol. 5 High Voice Vol. 6 Medium Voice Vol. 1 Medium Voice Vol. 2 Medium Voice Vol. 3 Medium Voice Vol. 4 Medium Voice Vol. 5 Medium Voice Vol. 6 Joseph Marx: 30 Songs Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice/Medium Voice Leonard Bernstein: Art Songs and Arias (art songs only) Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium/Low Voice The Lieder Anthology edited by Virginia Saya and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice | High Voice Accompaniment CDs Low Voice | Low Voice Accompaniment CDs Pronunciation Guide Book/Audio High Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Low Voice Complete Package (with Accomp CDs and Pronunciation Guide CDs) Maurice Ravel: 46 Melodies Editions Durand High Voice Medium/Low Voice Ned Rorem: 50 Collected Songs Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Medium/Low Voice The Opera America SongBook (46 Art Songs) Schott Book Poulenc: 50 Mélodies High Voice Medium/Low Voice The Purcell Collection: Realizations by Benjamin Britten Boosey & Hawkes/Hal Leonard High Voice Medium/Low Voice (Note: Selections from Dido and Aeneas are not acceptable because they are opera arias and not art songs.) Richard Strauss: 57 Lieder Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Richard Strauss: 52 Lieder Boosey & Hawkes Medium/Low Voice Richard Strauss: 40 Songs edited by Laura Ward and Richard Walters; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Medium/Low Voice Roger Quilter: Collected Songs Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Low Voice Roger Quilter: 55 Songs Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Low Voice Samuel Barber: 65 Songs edited by Richard Walters; G. Schirmer High Voice Medium/Low Voice Songs of Claude Debussy edited by James Briscoe; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Medium Voice The Songs of John Jacob Niles G. Schirmer High Voice Low Voice 20th Century French Art Song Compiled and Edited by Carol Kimball/Editions Durand High Voice Medium/Low Voice Vincenzo Bellini: 15 Composizioni da Camera Ricordi High Voice Low Voice William Bolcom: Concert Songs Volume 1 1975-2000 Edward B. Marks Music High Voice Medium/Low Voice William Bolcom: Concert Songs Volume 2 2001-2012 Edward B. Marks Music High Voice Medium/Low Voice Women Composers edited by Carol Kimball; Hal Leonard, The Vocal Library High Voice Low Voice Official 2020 Art Song Entry Form Competition Age Divisions with Required Repertoire See required repertoire details for each category and age division below. To find out more about any of the required repertoire publications listed, including viewing complete contents, enter the 8-digit publication number in the Search field at www.halleonard.com. Official 2020 Musical Theatre Entry Form Children's Voices Ages 12 & Under Early Teen Voices Ages 13-15 High School Voices Ages 16-18 Young Adult Voices Ages 18-23 CHILDREN'S VOICES, AGE 12 AND UNDER - MUSICAL THEATRE Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $250 cash Second Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $50 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one Book with a retail value of up to $30.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the Children's Voices category Any two contrasting songs from the following publications. The contrast between the songs should include differences in mood and tempo. Do not sing two fast songs or two slow songs. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. You must sing repertoire as stated below. No substitutions of other repertoire is allowed. There are plenty of choices of songs in the publications listed below. We inexplicably get questions every year from quite a few people asking if they can sing songs not on the required repertoire list. The answer will always be no. Please do not ask us for allowances or exceptions to the required repertoire list for this category. If you sing songs outside of the publications listed below on the required list, your entry will be disqualified. Note to Teachers and Parents: We have more disqualifications in the children's categories than any other category because repertoire rules are not followed. Fairness must prevail, and we cannot have a publicly declared winner with songs not on the required repertoire list. Be absolutely certain that the contestant is singing songs from the required repertoire publications only. Boys' Songs from Musicals Hal Leonard Book/Audio Broadway Presents! Kids' Musical Theatre Anthology Alfred, distributed by Hal Leonard Book/Audio Broadway Songs 4 Kids Hal Leonard Book/Audio Disney Collected Kids' Solos Hal Leonard Book/Audio Disney Solos for Kids Hal Leonard Book/Audio Girls' Songs from Musicals Hal Leonard Book/Audio Girls' Songs from 21st Century Musicals Hal Leonard Book/Audio Kids' Broadway SongBook Hal Leonard Book/Audio Book Only Accompaniment CD The Kid's Musical Theatre Audition Hal Leonard Girl's Edition Book/Audio Boy's Edition Book/Audio Kids' Musical Theatre Collection Volume 1 Hal Leonard Book/Audio Kids' Musical Theatre Collection Volume 2 Hal Leonard Book/Audio Kids' Musical Theatre Collection Volumes 1 and 2 Combined Hal Leonard Book Kids' Songs from Contemporary Musicals Hal Leonard Book/Audio Kids' Stage & Screen Songs Hal Leonard Book/Audio Kid's Vocal Solo Collection Hal Leonard Book/Audio More Disney Solos for Kids Hal Leonard Book/Audio Rodgers & Hammerstein Solos for Kids Hal Leonard Book/Audio The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology - Children's Edition Hal Leonard Book Only Book/Audio Solos from Musicals for Kids Hal Leonard Book/Audio Still More Disney Solos for Kids Hal Leonard Book/Audio EARLY TEEN VOICES, AGES 13-15 - MUSICAL THEATRE Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $500 cash Second Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $50 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one Book with a retail value of up to $30.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the Early Teen Voices category Any two contrasting songs from the following publications. The contrast between the songs should include differences in mood and tempo. Do not sing two fast songs, or two slow songs. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. Belter's Book of Comedy Songs - Third Edition Book Broadway for Teens Hal Leonard Young Women's Edition Book/Audio Young Men's Edition Book/Audio The Broadway Ingénue Hal Leonard Book Book/Audio Broadway Presents! Teens' Musical Theatre Anthology Alfred, distributed by Hal Leonard Female Edition Male Edition Character Songs from Musical Theatre Women's Edition Men's Edition Disney For Teen Singers Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition Disney Ingenue Songbook Book Disney Songs for Singers High Voice Low Voice The First Book of Broadway Solos Hal Leonard Soprano | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano | Book/Audio Tenor | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass | Book/Audio The First Book of Broadway Solos Part II Hal Leonard Soprano Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano Book/Audio Tenor Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Book/Audio The Giant Book of Songs for Teens from Musicals Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition Great Songs from Musicals for Teens Hal Leonard Young Women's Edition- Book/Audio Young Men's Edition- Book/Audio Musical Theatre Anthology for Teens Hal Leonard Young Women's Edition | Book/Audio Young Men's Edition | Book/Audio The Singer's Anthology of Gershwin Songs Soprano Mezzo-Soprano/Belter Tenor Baritone NOTE: Do not sing the operatic selections from Porgy and Bess The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology Teen's Edition edited by Richard Walters Soprano | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Belter | Book/Audio Tenor | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass | Book/Audio Songs from 21st Century Musicals for Teens Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein Hal Leonard Soprano Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Belter Book/Audio Tenor Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Book/Audio Teen Broadway Songs of the 2010s Young Women's Edition, Book/Audio Young Men's Edition, Book/Audio Teen Pop Broadway Collection Cherry Lane, distributed by Hal Leonard Book Teen Theatre Songs Young Women's Edition, Book/Audio Young Men's Edition, Book/Audio The Teen's Musical Theatre Collection Hal Leonard Young Women's Edition | Book/Audio Young Men's Edition | Book/Audio Theatre and Cabaret Comedy Songs Women's Edition Men's Edition Tunes for Teens from Musicals Hal Leonard Young Women's Edition - Book/Audio Young Men's Edition- Book/Audio HIGH SCHOOL VOICES, AGES 16-18 - MUSICAL THEATRE Repertoire Requirements and Prizes For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada and attending a High School or its equivalent or studying with a teacher at the time of entry. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $750 cash Second Place $200 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one book with a retail value of up to $30.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the High School Voices category Any two contrasting songs from the following publications. The contrast between the songs should include differences in mood and tempo. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. The Actor's SongBook Hal Leonard Women's Edition Men's Edition Andrew Lloyd Webber for Singers Hal Leonard Women's Edition Men's Edition Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre Songs Hal Leonard Women's Edition Men's Edition Belter's Book of Comedy Songs Hal Leonard Book Broadway Belter's SongBook Hal Leonard Book The Broadway Ingénue Hal Leonard Soprano | Book/Audio Broadway Presents! Teens' Musical Theatre Anthology Alfred, distributed by Hal Leonard Female Edition Male Edition Comedy Songs for Women Book/Audio Contemporary Musical Theatre for Teens Young Women's Edition Volume 1 Young Women's Edition Volume 2 Young Men's Edition Volume 1 Young Men's Edition Volume 2 The Contemporary Singing Actor Hal Leonard Women's Edition Volume 1 Women's Edition Volume 2 Men's Edition Volume 1 Men's Edition Volume 2 Contemporary Theatre Songs Soprano Belter/Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone Dear Evan Hansen Vocal Selections Book Disney For Singers High Voice Low Voice Disney For Teen Singers Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition The Giant Book of Songs for Teens from Musicals Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition Jason Robert Brown Plays Jason Robert Brown Hal Leonard Women's Edition Book/Audio Men's Edition Book/Audio The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology - Teen's Edition Hal Leonard Soprano | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter | Book/Audio Tenor | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass | Book/Audio The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology - Volumes 1-7 Hal Leonard Soprano Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Sondheim for Singers Hal Leonard Soprano Belter/Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone/Bass Songs from 21st Century Movie Musicals for Women Singers Hal Leonard Book/Audio Songs from 21st Century Musicals for Teens Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition The Songs of Rodgers & Hammerstein Hal Leonard Soprano Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Belter Book/Audio Tenor Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Book/Audio Teen Broadway Songs of the 2010s Young Women's Edition, Book/Audio Young Men's Edition, Book/Audio Teen Pop Broadway Collection Cherry Lane, distributed by Hal Leonard Book Teen Theatre Songs Young Women's Edition, Book/Audio Young Men's Edition, Book/Audio Theatre and Cabaret Comedy Songs Young Women's Edition Young Men's Edition 21st Century Musical Theatre Women's Edition Men's Edition YOUNG ADULT VOICES, AGES 18-23 - MUSICAL THEATRE Repertoire Requirements and Prizes Note: For this category, it is not necessary for a contestant to be enrolled in a school for entry. Working or aspiring young professionals may enter. For the purposes of this competition, age is defined as the age of the entrant on the deadline date of February 1, 2020. Entrants must be legal residents of the United States and its territories, or legal residents of Canada. Entries which include songs which are not from the publications listed in the repertoire requirements for this age group and category below will be disqualified. Photocopies are illegal, and are not allowed. Pianists accompanying singers must play from original publications, not loose pages of any kind or loose pages in a binder. (A page turner may be needed.) Entries with visible photocopies or loose pages, or loose pages in a binder will be automatically disqualified. Singers are responsible for the accompanist's compliance with this rule. Please be aware of contrast. Do not sing two slow songs, or two fast songs, or two songs of similar character. First Place $1000 cash Second Place $200 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Third Place $100 gift certificate for music publications of the designee's choice available from Hal Leonard Further gift certificates for Honorable Mentions are possible for one book with a retail value of up to $50.00. At the judges' discretion, further entries may be cited as Finalists and or Semi-Finalist for a category. It is entirely up to the judges when judging a specific category as to whether Finalists and Semi-Finalists will be cited. These distinctions are not necessarily cited for all categories. The Finalists are those who achieved a level of consideration in the round of judging which determined the place winners and Honorable Mentions. Semi-Finalists are those who were cited as meriting further consideration after the first round of judging. There are no prizes for these distinctions of Finalist and Semi-Finalist. Required repertoire for the College/University and Young Adult Voices category: Any two contrasting songs from the following publications. The contrast between the songs should include differences in mood and tempo. Only editions of songs from these designated publications are allowed for entry. No other repertoire is acceptable for this category. Entries with songs not from one of the publications below will be disqualified. The Actor's SongBook Hal Leonard Women's Edition Men's Edition The Ahrens & Flaherty Songbook Book The Almost Unknown Stephen Sondheim Book The Andrew Lippa Songbook Book Andrew Lloyd Webber Theatre Songs Hal Leonard Women's Edition Men's Edition The Band's Visit - Vocal Selections Book Belter's Book of Comedy Songs Book Bernstein for Singers Boosey & Hawkes Soprano Belter/Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone Bernstein Theatre Songs Boosey & Hawkes High Voice Medium/Low Voice Comedy Songs for Women Book/Audio Contemporary Broadway Audition Women's Edition - Book/Online Audio Men's Edition - Book/Online Audio NOTE: Sing the FULL versions of these songs ONLY; the 16-bar excerpt is not permitted for this competition. The Contemporary Singing Actor Hal Leonard Women's Edition Volume 1 Women's Edition Volume 2 Men's Edition Volume 1 Men's Edition Volume 2 Contemporary Theatre Songs Soprano Belter/Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone Grateful: The Songs of John Bucchino Book The Jason Robert Brown Collection Book Jason Robert Brown Plays Jason Robert Brown Hal Leonard Women's Edition Book/Audio Men's Edition Book/Audio The Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Songbook Book La La Land Vocal Selections Book Michael John LaChiusa Songbook Book Music + Lyrics by Ryan Scott Oliver Book The Singer's Anthology of Gershwin Songs Soprano Mezzo-Soprano/Belter Tenor Baritone NOTE: Do not sing the operatic selections from Porgy and Bess The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology - Volumes 1-7 Hal Leonard Soprano Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Soprano Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Mezzo-Soprano/Alto/Belter Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Tenor Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 1 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 2 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 3 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 4 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 5 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 6 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Baritone/Bass Volume 7 | Book Only | Accompaniment CDs | Book/Audio Sondheim for Singers Hal Leonard Soprano Belter/Mezzo-Soprano Tenor Baritone/Bass The Songs of Goldrich and Heisler Book Teen Broadway Songs of the 2010s Young Women's Edition, Book/Audio Young Men's Edition, Book/Audio Theatre and Cabaret Comedy Songs Women's Edition Men's Edition 21st Century Musical Theatre Hal Leonard Women's Edition Men's Edition The William Finn Songbook Book Official 2020 Musical Theatre Entry Form
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).