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Songs

Songs

Chant d'automne Op.5 no.1

Chant d'automne

Bientôt nous plongerons dans les froides ténèbres;
Adieu, vive clarté de nos étés trop courts!
J’entends déjà tomber avec un choc funèbre
Le bois retentissant sur le pavé des cours.
J’écoute en frémissant chaque bûche qui tombe;
L’échafaud qu’on bâtit n’a pas d’écho plus sourd.
Mon esprit est pareil à la tour qui succombe
Sous les coups du bélier infatigable et lourd.
Il me semble, bercé par ce choc monotone,
Qu’on cloue en grande hâte un cercueil quelque part.
Pour qui? – C’était hier l’été; voici l’automne!
Ce bruit mystérieux sonne comme un départ.
J’aime de vos longs yeux la lumière verdâtre,
Douce beauté, mais aujourd’hui tout m’est amer,
Et rien, ni votre amour, ni le boudoir, ni l’âtre,
Ne me vaut le soleil rayonnant sur la mer.

Autumn Song

Soon we shall plunge into cold shadows;
Farewell, vivid light of our too-short summers!
Already I hear the funereal thud
Of echoing logs on the courtyard floor.
I listen, trembling, to the fall of each log;
A gallows being built makes no duller sound.
My spirit is like the tower that falls
To the remorseless blows of the battering-ram.
Rocked by those monotone blows, it seems
Somewhere in haste they are nailing a coffin.
But whose? Yesterday summer; autumn now!
This eerie sound rings like some farewell.
I love the emerald glow of your wide eyes,
My sweet, but all today is bitter for me,
And nothing, not your love, the boudoir, or the hearth
Can compare with the sunlight on the sea.
Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

Composer

 

​"Gabriel Urbain Fauré (12 May 1845 – 4 November 1924) was a French composer, organist, pianist and teacher. He was one of the foremost French composers of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th-century composers. Among his best-known works are his Pavane, Requiem, nocturnes for piano and the songs "Après un rêve" and "Clair de lune". Although his best-known and most accessible compositions are generally his earlier ones, Fauré composed many of his most highly regarded works in his later years, in a more harmonically and melodically complex style." (Wikipedia)

For more information about the life and work of Gabriel Fauré please see the Wikipedia article here.


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Poet

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe.

His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. Baudelaire's highly original style of prose-poetry influenced a whole generation of poets including Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Stéphane Mallarmé among many others. He is credited with coining the term "modernity" (modernité) to designate the fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in an urban metropolis, and the responsibility art has to capture that experience.

Taken from Wikipedia. To view the full article, please click here.

Read Les Fleurs du mal here.


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