Bibliotherapy

Joseph Canteloube & Roger Frène – Triptyque (1914)

English soprano singer, Dame Maggie Teyte

on the  cover of ‘Comœdia illustré’ of mars 20, 1913.

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Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is a musical interlude with the presentation of ‘Triptyque’ composed in 1914 by Marie-Joseph Canteloube de Malaret for the music and Roger Frène for the lyrics. The  work was dedicated to English soprano opera singer Dame Maggie Teyte, a successful champion of the contemporary French classical music of her time. It was this very music that we discovered in awe, years ago, on a cassette tape (!), a mesmerizing interpretation by mezzo-soprano opera singer Frederica Von Stade, that brought us, for the first time, close to the feeling of a sacredness that was not associated with religion, but was deeply connected with nature and the nostalgia of a certain lost ‘arcadian innocence’ that remained with us since, deeply anchored. The music critic, Allan Ulrich writes in 1986: ‘The verse hymns the pleasures of untrammeled nature and the harmonic coloration of the writing, closer to the lushness of Chausson than to the comparative austerity of Debussy, provides an apt setting for Canteloube’s pantheistic sentiments.’ The English translations of Roger Frène’s poems are by professor Laura Stanfield Prichard, for the impressive LiederNet website, the world’s largest reference archive of texts and translations of art songs and choral works, providing for choirs, singers, students and orchestras. Enjoy!

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I. An offering to Summer

I want to go to you
In the pensive night,
Summer, holding the pure body
Of the beloved upon whose trembling breast, virginal,
Flees under [my] fingers and [whose] soul
Is forever captured under my lips,
And, holding in my arms
The warm and white burden
Beneath the moon, in exquisite profile,
On the hill,
I’ll hold her up
To your stars,
To the waters,
The calyx of the lilies,
The crimson roses,
So that your smile,
And your graceful fingers
Resting on her body,
Where the light is reflected
In your image, eternal
And sweet, made by God,
Allow her beauty
To remain perfect in my eyes.
Near the green vines
And ancient olive groves,
One evening, I’ll make
Myself into a living offering for you,
And you’ll consecrate our first kiss.
[This is the] season of beautiful desires
And of the fiery earth!

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II. Moonlight

Near the springs that traverse
The great sheets of the prairies,
The damp rock cress flowers,
Blooming in purple, shelter the toads
Who send up their call in one sweet voice,
Never drying out under the moonlight,
Singing the same tune and lyrics.
Something looking like cloth hangs on the bushes
smelling of sweet detergent…
The trees of the gardens of May
Feel their invisible flowers
Falling upon hearing the plaintive tone
That comes from the silver meadows,
Like tears of love.
The graceful cherry tree,
The pale, tender birch,
Vaporize bright green budding foliage
And light up, until they burn out1
Under the distracted kiss of the affectionate blue sky.
The flutes of purple rock cress
Sing their pure nocturne …
The lunar light slips into the brooks,
Inundates the valley as if pouring out a tall urn
And fills the soul of man
And of all nature’s creatures.

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III. Hymn at Dawn

I could be described as grass,
As springs, as boughs of trees,
As rivers alternately clear or impure,
Streaking the blue skies of summer,
The black gravel,
Reflecting the water’s edge and the day and the night.
As meadows, as fields, as woods,
As dales where I stop,
I sing of nature and its robust charm.
Just as the tree bends
And bows down and twists itself.
I entrust to the gales
My own branches.
The nights of summer make all my leaves tremble.
In copper autumn, my dreams reflect themselves.
The moon is my friend.
To the lyrical birds
I lend the living, green shade of my branches.
Oh Pan! Oh, Pan!
I feel trembling in the same veins
As those of the heavy woods
And of the serene springs.
Dawn rises over the azure mountains.
Give to my flaming lyre
The purest tones
So that I might sink into the divine cadences,
The greenness and the fruits,
That weigh down the hills.
The shadows flee, in daytime
The golden earth is reborn.
The world sings and shines
In my surprised eyes
And, under the weight of evening
And of the fervent night,
My soul opens itself
Like a scintillating sunrise!
Ô, ô Pan !

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Original French lyrics

by Roger Frène

1914, Triptyque, pour chant & orchestre,

« Offrande à l’été », « Lunaire », « Hymne dans l’aurore »

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I. Offrande à l’été

Je veux aller vers toi
Dans la pensive nuit,
Été, pressant le corps candide
De l’aimée dont le sein apeuré, vierge,
Sous les doigts fuit et l’âme
Pour jamais sous ma lèvre est fermée,
Et, pressant dans mes bras
Le tiède et blanc fardeau
Sous la lune au profil exquis,
Sur la colline,
Je la tendrai
Vers tes étoiles,
Vers les eaux,
Le calice des lis,
Les roses purpurines,
Afin que ton sourire
Et tes doigts gracieux,
Se reposant sur elle
Où l’éclat se reflète
De ta forme éternelle
Et suave de Dieu
Fassent que sa beauté
Reste à mes yeux parfaite.
Devant les pampres verts
Et les vieux oliviers,
Un soir, je te ferai
Cette offrande vivante,
Et tu consacreras notre premier baiser.
Saison des beaux désirs
Et de la terre ardente !

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II. Lunaire

Aux sources traversant
Les grands draps des prairies
Les cressons frais
Et bleus abritent les crapauds
Qui lancent d’une voix douce,
Jamais tarie dans la lune,
Leur musical et même mot.
Des linges sont restés aux buissons
Des lessives…
Les arbres des jardins de mai
Sentent leurs fleurs invisibles
Tomber à la note plaintive
Qui vient des prés d’argent
Comme d’amoureux pleurs.
Le cerisier léger,
Le bouleau pâle et tendre,
Évaporent un clair feuillage adolescent
Et s’illuminent jusqu’à ne devenir que cendre
Sous le vague baiser de l’azur caressant.
Les flûtes des cressons
Chantent leur pur nocturne …
La lunaire clarté glisse dans les ruisseaux,
Inonde la vallée ainsi qu’une grande urne
Et remplit l’âme des hommes
Et des troupeaux.

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III. Hymne dans l’aurore

Je me compare à l’herbe,
Aux sources, aux ramures,
Aux rivières tour à tour claires ou impures,
Traîneuses des bleus ciels d’été,
Des graviers noirs,
Reflétant le rivage et le jour et le soir.
Aux prés, aux champs, aux bois,
Aux vallons où je passe,
Je chante la nature et sa robuste grâce.
Ainsi que l’arbre plie
Et se courbe et se tord
Je confie aux grands vents
Les branches de mon sort.
Les nuits d’été me font frémir à toutes feuilles.
Dans l’automne cuivreux mes songes se recueillent
La lune est mon amie.
Aux lyriques oiseaux
Je prête l’ombre vive et verte des rameaux.
Ô Pan ! Ô, ô Pan !
Je sens trembler en moi les mêmes veines
Que celles des bois lourds
Et des sources sereines.
L’aurore se soulève aux montagnes d’azur.
Donne à ma lyre en feu
Les accents les plus purs
Afin que j’assouplisse aux cadences divines
La verdure et les fruits
Qui pèsent aux collines.
L’ombre fuit, dans le jour
La terre d’or renaît.
Le monde chante et brille
En mes yeux étonnés
Et, sous le poids du soir
Et de la nuit fervente,
Mon âme s’ouvre
Ainsi qu’une aube étincelante !
Ô, ô Pan !

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1986 interpretation by Frederica Von Stade

& the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Antonio de Almeida

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Teyte, Maggie: A Vocal Portrait (1932-1948)

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More about Joseph Canteloube: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Canteloube🌿About Dame Maggie Teyte: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maggie_Teyte 🌿More about Frederica von Stade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederica_von_Stade 🌿More about professor Laura Stanfield Prichard: https://laura519.wixsite.com/personal/bio 🌿More about LiederNet: https://www.lieder.net/lieder/
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