Uploaded on May 9, 2011
This video is from the Junior Recital of Shawn Fletcher on February 4, 2010. Shawn is a Vocal Performance Major at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN.
Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was born in Pamiers, France, the youngest of six children in a non-musical family. Although his parents realized he was a gifted pianist they sent Fauré to a regular school until one of his professors heard him playing and suggested he be sent to the Niedermeyer School of religious music in Paris. Here Fauré studied many compositional styles while focusing on organ and piano performance, greatly excelling at the latter. Most of Fauré's early compositions, until 1871, hint at some his originality as a composer, but they mostly fit the characteristics of his classical training. In his later music however Fauré used more of his own personal style to convey the meaning behind the poetry, giving the listener more emotion than the text alone could convey. Fauré used his accompaniment to portray the subtext, giving his songs more depth, emotion and beauty.
Nell, however, is a wonderful example of Fauré's later compositional style. It displays Fauré's ability to provide subtext to a song through the piano accompaniment. In Nell Fauré took a mostly strophic vocal part and gave each stanza a different subtext. This melody opens with a prayer-like solemnity, an earnest expression of love and devotion. Then, in the third stanza Fauré uses multiple modulations to express more fervency and desperation. Finally, he returns to the opening melody to express the eternal and undying love that will last longer than the song of the sea.
Ta rose de pourpre à ton clair soleil,
O Juin, étincelle enivree,
Penche aussi vers moi ta coupe dorée:
Mon coeur à ta rose est pareil.
Sous le mol abri de la feuille ombreuse
Monte soupir de volupté;
Plus d'un ramier chante au bois écarté,
O mon coeur, sa plainte amoureuse.
Que ta perle est douce au cial enflame,
Etoile de la nuit pensive!
Mais combine plus douce est la claret vive
Qui rayonne en mon coeur, en mon coeur charmé!
La chantante mer, le long du rivage,
Taira son murmure éternal,
Avant qu'en mon coeur, chère amour, ô Nell,
Ne fleurisse plus ton image!
Poem by Leconte de Lisle
Your purple rose in your brilliant sun,
Oh June, sparkles as if intoxicated,
Bend toward me, too, your golden cup:
My heart and your rose are alike.
Under the soft shelter of the shady boughs
Sounds a voluptuous sigh;
And turtle doves coo in the spreading wood,
Oh my heart, their amorous lament.
How sweet is your pearl in the flaming sky,
Star of the pensive night!
But sweeter still is the vivid light
Which shines in my heart, my charmed heart!
The singing sea, along the shore,
Will silence its everlasting murmur,
'Ere in my heart, dear love, oh Nell,
Your image, will cease to bloom.
Translation by Sergius Kagen
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