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Oxford Lieder Festival Live Online


Nahandove (1925)

Part of a series or song cycle:

Chansons madécasses


Nahandove, ô belle Nahandove! L’oiseau nocturne a
commencé ses cris, la pleine lune brille sur ma tête, et
la rosée naissante humecte mes cheveux.
Voici l’heure; qui peut t’arrêter, Nahandove, ô belle
Le lit de feuilles est préparé; je l’ai parsemé de
fleurs et d’herbes odoriférantes; il est digne de tes
charmes, Nahandove, ô belle Nahandove!
Elle vient. J’ai reconnu la respiration précipitée
que donne une marche rapide; j’entends le
froissement de la pagne qui l’enveloppe; c’est elle, c’est
Nahandove, la belle Nahandove!
Reprends haleine, ma jeune amie; repose-toi sur
mes genoux. Que ton regard est enchanteur! Que le mouvement
de ton sein est vif et délicieux sous la main qui le presse!
Tu souris, Nahandove, ô belle Nahandove!
Tes baisers pénètrent jusqu’à l’âme; tes caresses brûlent tous mes sens;
arrête, ou je vais mourir. Meurt-on de volupté, Nahandove, ô belle Nahandove!
Le plaisir passe comme un éclair. Ta douce haleine s’affoiblit,
tes yeux humides se referment, ta tête se penche mollement, et tes
transports s’éteignent dans la langueur. Jamais tu ne fus si belle,
Nahandove, ô belle Nahandove!
Tu pars, et je vais languir dans les regrets et les désirs.
Je languirai jusqu’au soir. Tureviendras ce soir,
Nahandove, ô belle Nahandove!


Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove! The nocturnal
bird has begun its cries, the full moon shines
overhead, and the new-born dew moistens my hair.
Now is the hour; who can be delaying you,
Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove!
The bed of leaves is prepared;
I have strewn it with flowers and sweet-smelling herbs;
it is worthy of your charms, Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove!
She comes. I recognized her breathing, quickened by her rapid walk;
I hear the rustle of the loin-cloth wrapped around her;
it is she, it is Nahandove, lovely Nahandove!
Take breath, my little love; rest on my lap.
How bewitching your gaze is! How quick and
delightful is the motion of your breast beneath a caressing hand!
You smile, Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove!
Your kisses reach right into my soul;
your caresses set all my senses ablaze: stop, or I shall
die. Can one die of delight, Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove?
Pleasure passes like lightning.
Your sweet breath falters, your moist eyes close, your head falls
gently forwards, and your ecstasy dies, giving way to languor.
Never were you so lovely,
Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove!
You leave, and I shall languish in sorrow and desire.
I shall languish until evening.
You will return tonight, Nahandove, o lovely Nahandove!

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Joseph Maurice Ravel was a French composer, pianist and conductor.  In the 1920s and 1930s he was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer. He was one of the first composers to acknowledge the potential of recording in making music accessible to a broad public, and in the 1920s several recordings of his work were made.

Information from Wikipedia. Read more here.

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