Saturday, July 16, 2011

More French Music: Your Bottom Three

The magnificent French baritone Gérard Souzay

Yesterday we featured music by Francis Poulenc who is leading our poll of your favorite French composers. Today we thought we'd feature the three composers at the bottom of the poll. Apparently, early music isn't particularly popular with readers as both Lully and Charpentier at the bottom along with the 19th century composer Ernest Chausson.  We hope that these clips will introduce some new music to readers. As we so often do when we feature French music, the first two clips are from our beloved French barihunk Gérard Souzay. If you've never heard Souzay sing Lully's "Je ne puis en votre malheur," you're in for quite a treat.

Gérard Souzay sings Ernest Chausson's "Le Colibri":

Le Colibri (The Hummingbird)
The hummingbird, the green prince of the heights,
feeling the dew and seeing the sun's clear light
shining into his nest of woven grass,
shoots up in the air like a gleaming dart.

Hurriedly he flies to the nearby marsh
where the waves of bamboo rustle and bend,
and the red hibiscus with the heavenly scent
opens to show its moist and glistening heart.

Down to the flower he flies, alights from above,
and from the rosy cup drinks so much love
that he dies, not knowing if he could drink it dry.

Even so, my darling, on your pure lips
my soul and senses would have wished to die
on contact with that first full-fragrant kiss.

Gérard Souzay sings Jean Baptiste Lully's beautiful "Je ne puis en votre malheur" from "Persée":

Here is an excerpt from Marc-Antoine Charpentier's "Magnificat" with countertenor Dominique Visse, tenor Michel Laplénie and bass Philippe Cantor:

1 comment:

  1. There's something in Souzay's voice which turns everything to throbbing chocolate lava, which is a very good thing in French vocal music. And I worship at the altar of Lully! His Armide is exquisite!