Green: French Songs on Poems by Verlaine | Erato 2564616693

Green: French Songs on Poems by Verlaine

Label: Erato

Cat No: 2564616693

Barcode: 0825646166930

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 2

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 16th February 2015

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Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)
Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto)
Jerome Ducros (piano)
Quatuor Ebene


Bordes, Charles

Promenade sentimentale
Triste etait mon ame

Brassens, Georges


Canteloube, Joseph

Colloque sentimental

Caplet, Andre


Chabrier, Alexis Emmanuel

» J'engraisse
» Qui je suis, qui je suis

Chausson, Ernest

Ecoutez la chanson bien douce
La Lune blanche

Debussy, Claude

Ariettes oubliees (6)
» no.5 Aquarelles I - Green
Fetes galantes Set 1, L80
Fetes galantes Set 2, L104
Il pleure dans mon coeur

Faure, Gabriel

Clair de lune, op.46 no.2
La Bonne Chanson, op.61
» no.3 La Lune blanche luit dans les bois
Melodies de Venise (5), op.58
» II En sourdine
» III Green
» I Mandoline
» V C'est l'extase
Songs (2), op.83
» no.1 Prison
Songs (4), op.51
» no.3 Spleen

Ferre, Leo

Colloque sentimental
Ecoutez la chanson douce

Hahn, Reynaldo

Chansons grises (7)
» no.1 Chanson d'automne
» no.4 En sourdine
» no.5 L'Heure exquise
D'une prison

Honegger, Arthur

Chansons (4) pour voix grave, H184
» no.3 Un grand sommeil noir

Koechlin, Charles

Melodies (4), op.22
» no.4 Il pleure dans mon coeur

Massenet, Jules

Revons, c'est l'heure

Saint-Saens, Camille

Le Vent dans la plaine

Schmitt, Florent

Melodies (3), op.4
» no.2 Il pleure dans mon coeur

Severac, Deodat de

Le ciel est par-dessus le toit

Szulc, Joseph

Clair de lune, op.83 no.1

Trenet, Charles

Chanson d'automne

Varese, Edgard

Un grand sommeil noir

Wieniawska, Irene Regine (Poldowski)

La lune blanche


Philippe Jaroussky (countertenor)
Nathalie Stutzmann (contralto)
Jerome Ducros (piano)
Quatuor Ebene


In his second album of French song from the 19th and 20th centuries – following the ground-breaking 'Opium', released in 2009 – countertenor Philippe Jaroussky explores settings of poems by Paul Verlaine (1844-96).

One of France’s most revered fin-de-siècle poets and a pioneer of the decadent and symbolist movements, Verlaine famously declared his philosophy in the first line of Art poétique in 1874: ‘De la musique avant toute chose’ – ‘music before all else.’ In his poetry, the sound and the shape of each line carries meaning and expression, adding resonance to the words, which often evoke a twilit world of ambiguous emotions.

Verlaine has duly inspired many French composers – from his contemporaries, such as Debussy (whose piano piece Clair de lune draws on the poem of the same name and features on this album), Fauré, Saint-Saëns, Massenet and Chabrier, through the following generation (Honegger and Varèse) to songwriters from the 1940s-1970s, including Georges Brassens, Charles Trenet and Léo Ferré.

The album takes its title from one of the poems in the collection 'Romances sans paroles' (‘Songs without words’ – the musical connection again). Verlaine himself gave it an English name, ‘Green’, and there are no fewer than three settings in Jaroussky’s recital – by Debussy, Fauré and André Caplet, the latter best known for his orchestrations of Debussy piano music.

Jaroussky, speaking of a Verlaine setting by Reynaldo Hahn, has said that poet and composer “convey a feeling of both moonlit abstraction and of the allusive, but very sensual caress of the beloved. There is always a sensual element in Verlaine’s writing.”

That languorous yet understated sensuality belongs to a different world from the Baroque repertoire most closely associated with Jaroussky. When he recorded 'Opium' with pianist Jérôme Ducros (who returns for the follow-up), he said: “Many people will probably wonder why a countertenor should sing these songs, but if you think about it, the countertenor voice as such has no repertoire of its own, except the modern music written specifically for it. For the most part we sing music written for castratos who – as we know – had very different voices from ours. So why not venture into other musical worlds if we feel they are suited to our voices?"

I’ve always felt a special affinity for French song”, he continues. “Even if a singer has to master a number of languages, his own language always retains a special flavour – especially French, which has so many vowels and secret nuances ... In Debussy, Massenet or Reynaldo Hahn, it’s all a matter of shades of colour.” It is this sensitive, insightful approach that Jaroussky brings to 'Green'.

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