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Ravel - "Don Quichotte à Dulcinée" Fischer-Dieskau

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Published on May 3, 2009

A set of three songs by Maurice Ravel (written in 1932-33). This was Ravel's last completed work. It had been commissioned for a film by G.W. Pabst starring Chaliapin, but the slowness of Ravel's composing meant that the songs were not used, and Jacques Ibert provided some songs instead.

The three songs of "Don Quichotte à Dulcinée", poems by novelist Paul Morand, reflect the tenderly sincere and humorous moments of this well-known tale. The introductory quixotic song, "Chanson Romanesque," uses a pleasant vocal melody for Don Quixote's declaration of devotion to Dulcinea with a guitar-like accompaniment of the piano in a four-verse set of variations. "Chanson Epique" is the Knight's humble prayer, for blessings and protection, to the Virgin and the saints, in which the piano is used in the style of a church organ with rhythm derived from the Basque zortzico. Its austere chant, near the end of the song, concludes with a peaceful "Amen." The song cycle closes with "Chanson á boire," a robust jota in triple time, suitable for the lively exaggerations and embellishments written for the song's toast, "I drink to joy! Joy is the one aim for which I go straight...when I've drunk." Through this song Ravel bids an inadvertent adieu to music, from then on he suffered from ataxia and aphasia which kept him from coherently completing musical ideas. ---All Music Guide



1. Chanson romanesque

Si vous me disiez que la terre
À tant tourner vous offensa,
Je lui dépêcherais Pança:
Vous la verriez fixe et se taire.

Si vous me disiez que l'ennui
Vous vient du ciel trop fleuri d'astres,
Déchirant les divins cadastres,
Je faucherais d'un coup la nuit.

Si vous me disiez que l'espace
Ainsi vidé ne vous plaît point,
Chevalier dieu, la lance au poing.
J'étoilerais le vent qui passe.

Mais si vous disiez que mon sang
Est plus à moi qu'à vous, ma Dame,
Je blêmirais dessous le blâme
Et je mourrais, vous bénissant.

Ô Dulcinée.



1. Quixotic Song

Were you to tell me that by turning so much
the earth offended you,
I would send Panza to it:
You would see it still and silenced.

Were you to tell me that boredom assailed you
from a sky too beflowered with stars,
tearing the heavenly bodies,
I would destroy night with one blow.

Were you to tell me that space,
thus emptied, did not please you,
Gods knight, lance in hand,
I would bespangle the passing wind with stars.

But were you to tell me that my blood
is more mine than yours, my lady,
I should pale at the charge,
and would die, blessing you.

O Dulcinea.



2. Chanson épique

Bon Saint Michel qui me donnez loisir
De voir ma Dame et de l'entendre,
Bon Saint Michel qui me daignez choisir
Pour lui complaire et la défendre,
Bon Saint Michel veuillez descendre
Avec Saint Georges sur l'autel
De la Madone au bleu mantel.

D'un rayon du ciel bénissez ma lame
Et son égale en pureté
Et son égale en piété
Comme en pudeur et chasteté:
Ma Dame,

Ô grands Saint Georges et Saint Michel
L'ange qui veille sur ma veille,
Ma douce Dame si pareille
À Vous, Madone au bleu mantel!
Amen.


2. Epic song

Good St. Michael, who gives me leave
to see my lady and hear her voice;
Good St. Michael who deigns to choose me
for her pleasure and to defend her,
Good St. Michael, be pleased to descend
with St. George upon the altar
of the Madonna in the blue cloak.

With a heavenly beam bless my blade
and its equal in purity
and its equal in piety
as also in modesty and chastity,
my lady,

O great St. George and great St. Michael,
the angel who watches over my vigil,
my gentle dame, so like you,
Madonna in the blue cloak.
Amen



3. Chanson à boire

Foin du bâtard, illustre Dame,
Qui pour me perdre à vos doux yeux
Dit que l'amour et le vin vieux
Mettent en deuill mon coeur, mon âme!

Ah! Je bois à la joie!
La joie est le seul but
Où je vais droit...
Lorsque j'ai ... lorsque j'ai bu!

Foin du jaloux, brune maîtresse,
Qui geint, qui pleure et fait serment
D'être toujours ce pâle amant
Qui met de l'eau dans son ivresse!

Ah! Je bois à la joie!...



3. Drinking Song

A pox on the bastard, illustrious lady,
who to defame me in your gentle eyes,
says that love and old wine
bereave my heart and soul!

I drink to happiness!
Happiness is the one goal
to which I go straight
When I am drunk!

A pox on that jealous man, dark lady,
who whines, who weeps and swears
that he is ever that pallid lover
who waters down his drunkenness!

I drink to happiness



French poems by Paul Morand
English translations by Felix Aprahamian


Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)
Karl Engel (piano)

  • Category

  • Song

    • 1. Chanson romanesque
  • Artist

    • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Karl Engel
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG (on behalf of Deutsche Grammophon (DG)); UMPG Publishing
  • Song

    • 3. Chanson à boire
  • Artist

    • Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Karl Engel
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG (on behalf of Deutsche Grammophon (DG)); UMPG Publishing

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