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Songs

Songs

Soir Païen

Soir Païen

C'est un beau soir, couleur de rose et d'ambre clair
Le temple d'Adonis, en haut du promontoire,
Découpe sur fond d'or sa colonnade noire,
Et la première étoile a brillé sur la mer...
Pendant qu'un roseau pur module un lent accord
Là-bas, Pan, accoudé sur les monts se soulève
Pour voir danser pieds nus les nymphes sur la grève
Et des vaisseaux d'Asie embaument le vieux port...
Des femmes, épuisant tout bas l'heure incertaine
Causent, l'urne appuyée au bord de la fontaine,
Et des bœufs accouplés délaissent [les sillons]1...
La nuit vient parfumée aux roses de Syrie
Et Diane au croissant clair, ce soir en rêverie,
Au fond des grands bois noirs qu'argente un long rayon
Baise ineffablement les yeux d'Endymion.

Pagan Evening

It is a beautiful evening, light-ambered and pink,
The temple of Adonis, high up on the promontory,
Carves its black colonnade onto the gold background,
And the first star has shone upon the sea . . .
While a pure reed flutes a slow chord,
Pan, down there, elbows resting on the hills, raises himself up
To see the nymphs dance barefoot on the shore
And vessels from Asia shed their fragrance in the old harbour. . .
Women talk, using up this unsettled hour,
Leaning their urns on the fountain’s rim,
While the oxen, yoked together, forsake the furrows . . .
Night arrives, perfumed with roses of Syria,
And Diana with her bright crescent, dreaming away the evening,
Behind great black woods silvered by a long ray,
Ineffably kisses Endymion’s eyes.

Composer

Philippe Gaubert French flautist, conductor, and a composer, primarily for the flute.

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Poet

Albert Victor Samain was a French poet and writer of the Symbolist school.

Born in Lille, his family were Flemish and had long lived in the town or its suburbs. At the time of the poet's birth, his father, Jean-Baptiste Samain, and his mother, Elisa-Henriette Mouquet, conducted a business in "wines and spirits" at 75 rue de Paris. Samain's father died when he was quite young; it was necessary for him to leave school and seek a trade. He moved to Paris in around 1880, where his poetry won him a following and he began mixing with avant-garde literary society, and began publicly reciting his poems at Le Chat Noir. His poems were strongly influenced by those of Baudelaire, and began to strike a somewhat morbid and elegiac tone. He also was influenced by Verlaine; his works disclose a taste for indecisive, vague imagery. Samain helped found the Mercure de France, and also worked on the Revue des Deux Mondes.

Samain published three volumes of verse: Le jardin de l'infante (1893), which made him famous; Aux flancs du vase (1898) and Le Chariot d'or (1901). His poetic drama Polyphème was set to music by Jean Cras. Samain died of tuberculosis.

Camille Saint-Saëns set poems of Samain to music: "Six Mélodies sur des poésies d'Albert Samain" op.31 (1902-1906; orchestrated 1921)

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