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Singing into Spring 2022

 

After a delayed start to our spring term rehearsals it feels really great to be back singing. What a joy to be free to get together and begin work on our new programme of French music for a series of concerts planned for this summer. If you have been thinking of getting back to singing then now is a good time to come and join us on Monday evenings. (See how. )

Even though Fauré’s beautiful Requiem is written in latin we aim to sing some pieces in French.  Singing French has its special challenges. The need for nasal vowel sounds for example;

Without enough nasal quality in those very particular French vowels, you’ll sound like an awkward American, speaking Italian with a bad head cold

To help begin to tune our ears to the French ‘sound’ I promised to share a song of the week. I’ve chosen ‘Le Secret’ by Fauré sung by Gé Souzay. It is the tenderest of love songs. (Warning: The video shows a slide show of paintings of women in various states of dress and undress.) Text and translation below.

Le secret

Je veux que le matin l’ignore
Le nom que j’ai dit à la nuit,
Et qu’au vent de l’aube, sans bruit,
Comme une larme il s’évapore.
Je veux que le jour le proclame
L’amour qu’au matin j’ai caché,
Et, sur mon cœur ouvert penché,
Comme un grain d’encens il l’enflamme.
Je veux que le couchant l’oublie
Le secret que j’ai dit au jour
Et l’emporte, avec mon amour,
Aux plis de sa robe pâlie!

The secret

Would that the morn were unaware
Of the name I told to the night,
And that in the dawn breeze, silently,
It would vanish like a tear.
Would that the day might proclaim it,
The love I hid from the morn,
And poised above my open heart,
Like a grain of incense kindle it.
Would that the sunset might forget,
The secret I told to the day,
And would carry it and my love away
In the folds of its faded robe!

Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

Thinking further ahead to a winter 2022 programme I’d like to harp back to our November 2021 concerts.  If you missed out on singing O Magnum Mysterium then there may yet be another opportunity.  Oliver put together a slide show of excerpts of the music from All Saint’s and St Fachtna’s. The full works are in our  members dropbox folder.

 

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