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RC 43 Clair de lune (“Votre âme est un paysage choisi”)

text source

Paul Verlaine, Fêtes galantes. Nouvelle édition (Paris: Vanier 1891), 5

first performance

1898-12-02 00:00:00.0 Amsterdam, Concertgebouw

recordings

  • Anniversary Edition 6 Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD6

publications

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 4 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 4629236
  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 7 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 4629236
  • Deux mélodies pour Soprano avec accomp. de piano (nr. 1) Noske, A.A. 8785025
  • Diepenbrock Album B/M Vol. I
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. II

  • Clair de lune (“Votre âme est un paysage choisi”)
  • Verlaine, Paul
  • soprano and piano // mezzo-soprano and piano
  • 1898-09-24 00:00:00.0
  • duration 2:50

Diepenbrock composed Clair de lune (Moonshine) in September 1898. The song was inspired by Fauré’s setting, which he called “very beautiful” in a letter to Charles Smulders. He continued: “The striking text inspired me to set it to music as well; I do not think the two compositions will undermine each other.” (BD III:63). He added later that it was the suggestive power of the poem that had much appealed to him. (BD III:65) Verlaine compares the soul of his beloved to a moonlit landscape in which masked figures wander while playing the lute, dancing and singing, but underneath their disguise and in their songs they exude a melancholy that mixes with the sad beauty of the moon, making the jets of water of a fountain sob in ecstasy. The experience Diepenbrock had acquired when reworking the vocal part of Écoutez la chanson bien douce (Hear the Sweetest Song, RC 40) was immediately apparent in his setting of Clair de lune, which Smulders found si bien prosodé. (BD III:85) The composer made no further alterations. …more >

Clair de lune (incipit)


Diepenbrock composed Clair de lune (Moonshine) in September 1898. The song was inspired by Fauré’s setting, which he called “very beautiful” in a letter to Charles Smulders. He continued: “The striking text inspired me to set it to music as well; I do not think the two compositions will undermine each other.” (BD III:63). He added later that it was the suggestive power of the poem that had much appealed to him. (BD III:65) Verlaine compares the soul of his beloved to a moonlit landscape in which masked figures wander while playing the lute, dancing and singing, but underneath their disguise and in their songs they exude a melancholy that mixes with the sad beauty of the moon, making the jets of water of a fountain sob in ecstasy. The experience Diepenbrock had acquired when reworking the vocal part of Écoutez la chanson bien douce (Hear the Sweetest Song, RC 40) was immediately apparent in his setting of Clair de lune, which Smulders found si bien prosodé. (BD III:85) The composer made no further alterations.

Besides the ascending fifth with which the voice enters, Diepenbrock’s composition contains no other references to Fauré’s song. The wistful atmosphere of the poem is in the first place expressed by the Dorian melody that forms the basis of the song. De piano begins with the melody in the left hand and the voice takes it over, always accompanied by a descending figure (broken triad) in the right hand, which often spans a range of two octaves, expressing the splashing water cascading down the marble basins. Both elements are heard in a short span of time in different keys, with supple, ‘mild’ modulations and chord progressions. Like En sourdine (Muted, RC 104), the dynamics of this song remain within the range of pastel colours.

On 2 December 1898 Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius premiered this song at a concert with the works by Diepenbrock that she had previously performed on 30 April. Clair de lune was published in 1905 by A.A. Noske with a dedication to soprano Alida Oldeboom-Lütkemann, who had performed the work in February of that year. Earlier Elisabeth Diepenbrock had written about this singer in her diary:

She is going to sing and study Fons’ songs with him, she is surprisingly musical and clever at understanding his intentions and she sings several songs, such as Clair de lune by Verlaine, in a more refined and spirited manner than Aal. (BD IV:298)

According to a note by his wife (BD VII:300), Diepenbrock transposed the song for the mezzo-soprano Ilona Durigo in December 1911. She performed the work, accompanied by Evert Cornelis, in February 1912 during a concert tour of the major Dutch concert halls: Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Nutszaal (Rotterdam) and Diligentia (The Hague).

Ton Braas



Clair de lune

Votre âme est un paysage choisi
Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques
Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi
Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur
L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune,
Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire à leur bonheur
Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,
Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres
Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau,
Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres.

 

Moonlight

Your soul is like a landscape fantasy,
Where masks and Bergamasks, in charming wise,
Strum lutes and dance, just a bit sad to be
Hidden beneath their fanciful disguise.

Singing in minor mode of life's largesse
And all-victorious love, they yet seem quite
Reluctant to believe their happiness,
And their song mingles with the pale moonlight,

The calm, pale moonlight, whose sad beauty, beaming,
Sets the birds softly dreaming in the trees,
And makes the marbled fountains, gushing, streaming –
Slender jet-fountains – sob their ecstasies.

(transl. Norman R. Shapiro)

 


 


  • A-41(6) Clair de lune

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4

    A-41(6) for soprano, dated on the last page 24 Sept 1898

    • 1898-09-24 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 4
  • A-35(3) Clair de lune

    copy A-35(3) for soprano

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • A-64(4)

    A-64(4) for soprano, dated on the last page 24 Sept 1898

    • 1898-09-24 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • B-1(2)

    B-1(2) for mezzo soprano, dated on the last page 1898

    • 1898-01-01 00:00:00.0 – 1898-12-31 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown

  • click to enlarge

    Anniversary Edition 6

    cd Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD6
    Alexander, Roberta ♦ Jansen, Rudolf ♦ Nes, Jard van ♦ Holl, Robert ♦ Prégardien, Christoph ♦ Pfeiler, Christa ♦ Doeselaar, Leo van ♦ McFadden, Claron ♦ Ameling, Elly ♦ Meer, Richte van der ♦ Baldwin, Dalton

    Tracks: 1 = RC 79; 2 = RC 68; 3 = RC 117; 4 = 97; 5 = RC 132; 6 = RC 104; 7 = RC 111; 8 = RC 43; 9 = RC 99; 10 = RC 138; 11 = RC 137; 12 = RC 4; 13 = RC 15; 14 = RC 14; 15 = RC 13; 16 = RC 51

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 4

    1993 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds Braas, Ton
  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 7

    1995 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds Braas, Ton
  • Deux mélodies pour Soprano avec accomp. de piano (nr. 1)

    1905 Noske, A.A.
  • Diepenbrock Album B/M Vol. I

    1952 Reeser, Eduard
  • Diepenbrock Album T/S Vol. II

    1960 Reeser, Eduard

2 dec 1898: Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius zingt op een liederenavond in de Kleine Zaal van het Concertgebouw te Amsterdam met pianobegeleiding van Anton Tierie acht liederen van Diepenbrock: Ik ben in eenzaamheid niet meer alleen (RC 41), Écoutez la chanson bien douce (RC 40), Clair de lune (RC 43, eerste uitvoering), Romance = Lied der Spinnerin (RC 42), Die Liebende schreibt (RC 20), Hinüber wall' ich (RC 37), Ave Maria (RC 23) en Canticum “O Jesu ego amo te” (RC 29). De eerste helft van het programma bestaat uit twee liederen van Wagner (Ode en Attente), Clair de lune van Fauré, Les roses en En gondole van Henriette Coclet benevens twee Mélodies bretonnes (“Ma douce Annette” en “Disons le chapelet”), geharmoniseerd door L.-A. Bourgault-Ducoudray.

De Diepenbrock-liederen – het waren een achttal – maakten, evenals ten vorigen jare, een grooten indruk. Onder die acht traden de volgende op den voorgrond: Écoutez la chanson bien douce, Romance, Die Liebende schreibt, Ave Maria en Canticum St. Fr. Xaverii. — Waarom Diepenbrock in het eerste der vier genoemde een couplet niet heeft gecomponeerd, blijft mij raadselachtig. — In al deze liederen wordt men in 't bijzonder getroffen door de uiterst zangrijke en poëzievolle poliphonie. De stemmen wandelen naast elkaar, kruisen elkaar in een vloed van rijke melodieën, vol diep gevoel. In deze muziek is iets van de gewaarwordingen te bespeuren, die men ondervindt, wanneer men zich te midden der natuur bevindt. Zoo buiten wandelende hoort men allerlei geluiden, het zingen der vogelen, het ruischen van den wind in het gebladerte, het kabbelen van een beekje of van een stroom. Die verschillende geluiden hebben met elkaar niets te maken, zij schijnen vreemd tegenover elkaar te staan, en toch – zij alle tezamen vormen het klinkende element der natuur, zij maken voor het oor de natuur tot iets levends. In de liederen van Diepenbrock vindt men eveneens allerlei geluiden; bijna zou men geneigd zijn, elk dier geluiden als op zichzelf staande te beschouwen, en toch omhullen zij den hoorende met een atmosfeer van wel-lust en wel-luid, die, naar mijne meening, het bewijs levert, dat de componist iets zeer waars uitdrukt. — Met verlangen zie ik een grooter werk van dezen componist uit den tegenwoordige tijd tegemoet.

Het Nieuws van den Dag (Daniël de Lange), 3 december 1898

pdf All reviews for RC 43 Clair de lune (“Votre âme est un paysage choisi”)