Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

VERLAINE ou la musique des mots

de Jaer
Evrard Verlaine Mix
El Gammal
Ensemble Kadéleis/Luc Gérard (piano)
Cypres CYP4606 [73 min]

An unusual CD which is, and will remain, unique. The Brussels-born composer, accompaniment and choral director Luc Gérard (b 1962) brought together eight contemporary composers (born between 1938 & 1967) for a project around Verlaine, setting his poems freely in a variety of styles, from 'languorous monotony' via 'trailing sobs' to the 'dizziness of romantic love', with 'tremendous gaiety and the depths of despair'. Some of the accompaniments are near minimalist and (probably) partly improvised; others not far from cabaret & jazz. I could envisage this as a programme which would be a great success as a late night event at Huddersfield or one of the European contemporary music festivals.

Kadéleis, founded by Gérard in 1992, has been dedicated to music going beyond ordinary concerts, working with theatre, but also going back also Mozart, Strauss & Schonberg and seeking new ways to present them. The players and most of the composers are Belgian, or with Belgian connections, and they are personally acquainted with each other. Frederic Rzewski was the only one known to me. The ensemble demonstrates in this project the continuing evocative power of Paul Verlaine (1844-1896). They have in Anne Horbach a singer to treasure, combining purity of tone and intonation with needle sharp intonation and a range above the stave, which would make for a Zerbinetta. The songs and poems are accompanied with great subtlety on flute, cello, percussion and Luc Gérard at the piano.

The texts are given, but only in the original French. English versions of a couple of them can be found in Emily Ezust 's invaluable website . The close, intimate recording is perfect. Star rating is really not appropriate for such an esoteric CD, but Verlaine enthusiasts and collectors of the unusual would do well to check it out.

Peter Grahame Woolf

La lune blanche The white moon
luit dans les bois. shines in the woods.
De chaque branche From each branch
part une voix springs a voice
sous la ramée. beneath the arbor.
O bien aimé[e].... Oh my beloved...
L'étang reflète, Like a deep mirror
profond miroir, the pond reflects
la silhouette the silhouette
du saule noir of the black willow
où le vent pleure. where the wind weeps.
Rêvons, c'est l'heure. Let us dream! It is the hour...
Un vaste et tendre A vast and tender
apaisement calm
semble descendre seems to descend
du firmament from a sky
que l'astre irise. made iridescent by the moon.
C'est l'heure exquise! It is the exquisite hour!

Translated to English by Grant A. Lewis  

Chanson d'automne (Autumn song)

Text by Paul Verlaine (1844-1896)
Les sanglots longs The long sobs
Des violons of autumn's
De l'automne violins
Blessent mon coeur wound my heart
D'une langueur with a monotonous
Monotone. languor.
Tout suffocant Suffocating
Et blême, quand and pallid, when
Sonne l'heure. the clock strikes,
Je me souviens I remember
Des jours anciens, the days long past
Et je pleure... and I weep.
Et je m'en vais And I set off
Au vent mauvais in the rough wind
Qui m'emporte that carries me
De çà, de là, hither and thither
Pareil à la like a dead
Feuille morte... leaf.

Translation to English copyright © 2000 by Peter Low

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers : - The UK's Biggest Video Store

Concert and Show tickets


Musicians accessories

Click here to visit

Return to Index