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RC 81 Les chats (“Les amoureux fervents et les savants austères”)

text source

Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du mal. Nouvelle édition (Paris: Calman Lévy 1890), 189

first performance

1918-08-04 00:00:00.0 Scheveningen, Kurhaus

dedicatees

recordings

  • Anniversary Edition 3 Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD3

publications

  • Cinq mélodies pour chant et orchestre Noske, A.A. 26356195

  • Les chats (“Les amoureux fervents et les savants austères”)
  • Baudelaire, Charles
  • contralto and orchestra
  • 1907-10-10 00:00:00.0
  • duration 3:20

After setting Baudelaire’s Recueillement (Contemplation, RC 79) for alto and piano and then orchestrating the song (RC 80) in the summer of 1907, at the beginning of October Diepenbrock started the instrumentation of Les chats (The Cats, RC 68), which he had written for Johanna Jongkindt in February 1906. The correspondence from those years gives no insight into how this score came about. …more >

Les chats (incipit)


After setting Baudelaire’s Recueillement (Contemplation, RC 79) for alto and piano and then orchestrating the song (RC 80) in the summer of 1907, at the beginning of October Diepenbrock started the instrumentation of Les chats (The Cats, RC 68), which he had written for Johanna Jongkindt in February 1906. The correspondence from those years gives no insight into how this score came about.

Much later, at the end of July 1918, Diepenbrock mentioned correcting the orchestral parts in a letter to his wife. They had been made for the premiere that was to take place in the Scheveningen Kurhaus on 4 August, at a Sunday evening concert by the Residentie Orchestra under the French conductor Rhené-Baton (1879-1940). The soloist in Les chats was Elisabeth Ohms (1888-1974), a singer who was to become an internationally renowned Wagner interpreter in the 1920s. Performing under her initial stage name Lise Ohms, she also sang Diepenbrock’s Berceuse (in the setting for voice, cello and piano) that evening. As far as we know there are no reviews of this summer concert. Diepenbrock did not mention her performance anywhere in his letters either.

The colour of the first five measures is completely determined by the woodwinds that also play the motive marking the transition from one strophe to the next almost every time. Later Diepenbrock assigned this motive to the solo violin. Other sections of the song are characterised by the full sound of all the strings.

Ton Braas



Les chats

Les amoureux fervents et les savants austères
Aiment également, dans leur mûre saison,
Les chats puissants et doux, orgueil de la maison,
Qui comme eux sont frileux et comme eux sédentaires.

Amis de la science et de la volupté,
Ils cherchent le silence et l'horreur des ténèbres;
L'Érèbe les eût pris pour ses coursiers funèbres,
S'ils pouvaient au servage incliner leur fierté.

Ils prennent en songeant les nobles attitudes
Des grands sphinx allongés au fond des solitudes,
Qui semblent s'endormir dans un rêve sans fin;

Leurs reins féconds sont pleins d'étincelles magiques,
Et des parcelles d'or, ainsi q'un sable fin,
Étoilent vaguement leurs prunelles mystiques.

 

Cats

No one but indefatigable lovers and old
Chilly philosophers can understand the true
Charm of these animals serene and potent, who
Likewise are sedentary and suffer from the cold.

They are the friends of learning and of sexual bliss;
Silence they love, and darkness, where temptation breeds.
Erebus would have made them his funereal steeds,
Save that their proud free nature would not stoop to this.

Like those great sphinxes lounging through eternity
In noble attitudes upon the desert sand,
They gaze incuriously at nothing, calm and wise.

Their fecund loins give forth electric flashes, and
Thousands of golden particles drift ceaselessly,
Like galaxies of stars, in their mysterious eyes.

(transl. George Dillon)

 


  • A-61(2) Les chats

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8
    • 9

    A-61(2) with dedication on the first page A Mlle Joh. Jongkindt and dated on the last page Comp. 25 Febr. 1906 geïnstr 10 Octob 1907

    • 1907-10-10 00:00:00.0
    • dedication: A Mlle Joh. Jongkindt
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 9

Les chats (versie met orkest) uitgevoerd door Bernard Kruyssen en het Radio Filharmonisch Orkest o.l.v. Willem van Otterloo (radio-uitzending van 16-2-1963)



  • click to enlarge

    Anniversary Edition 3

    cd Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD3
    Residentie Orkest ♦ Vonk, Hans ♦ Bije, Annette de la ♦ Defraiteur, Renée ♦ Devos, Lode ♦ Hombert, Christoph ♦ Kruysen, Bernard ♦ Omroeporkest ♦ Radio Philharmonisch Orkest ♦ Promenade Orkest ♦ Berg, Maurits van den ♦ Otterloo, Willem van ♦ Silberman, Benedict

    Tracks: 1 = RC 84; 2 = RC 75; 3 = RC 92; 4 = RC 81; 5 = RC 80; 6 = RC 130; 7 = RC 59; 8 = RC 73; 9 = RC 60; 10 = RC 82; 11 = RC 83; 12 = RC 58

  • Cinq mélodies pour chant et orchestre

    1925 Noske, A.A.