I thought of closing the blog some weeks during my summer holidays, but I also thought there might be a slightest chance that someone would miss it. Some bloggers are prone to low their posting frequency during summer, but considering that I post only once a week... Another common option is to keep posting with a difference, and that's what we are going to do. For a few weeks, I'll be posting shorter posts that will allow me to “half switch off” and will allow you to listen to a new song, if you long for your weekly one. Enjoy your holidays!
Up (Peter Docter, 2009)
I've chosen three summer topics; we could talk about them any time of the year but, somehow, they seem more appealing in summer. For every issue, we'll have a short list made of those songs that we have previously listened and a new one that I'll briefly introduce.
The first summer issue, as mentioned in this post title, is lying down: in a tree's shadow, sitting on a deck chair having a mojito, falling asleep, loosely watching the sea or the clouds passing by. One of the great pleasures of holidays, to lounge around. The 19th century poets had tonnes of leisure time, so it won't be the first time we lounge around in Liederabend:
- Johannes Brahms gives in Feldeinsemkeit a contemplative, almost mystical view of this peaceful time. The narrator, in communion with nature, watches the clouds pass by. Romanticism in its purest form. We listened to Feldeinsemkeit performed by Christa Ludwig and Geoffrey Parsons.
- Ralph Vaughan Williams also wrote a great song on the same issue, Silent Noon, which talks about a moment of absolute happiness, experienced by two lovers lying together on the fresh grass. Our performers were Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake.
- The third song is Liebesbotschaft by Schumann; here the lover is alone and uses the passing clouds as messengers to carry his love words to his distant beloved. We listened to it sang by Gerald Finley also accompanied by Julius Drake.
The new song added to this short list is another great song, the passionate Phidylé
, by Henri Duparc. She's sleeping; he's watching her sleep, hoping that when she wakes up, she’ll grant him her loveliest smile and most ardent kiss. The verses by Charles Marie René Leconte de Lisle describe the scene so accurately that we feel ourselves on the soft grass, in the poplar's shadow, hearing in the distance the bees buzzing. There are many recordings of that mélodie; I like very much the one of Christopher Maltman and Julius Drake. Maltman is always tender, patient while waiting and urgent while asking; a beautiful version, I hope you like it!
L'herbe est molle au sommeil sous les frais peupliers,
Aux pentes des sources moussues,
Qui dans les prés en fleur germant par mille issues,
Se perdent sous les noirs halliers.
Repose, ô Phidylé! Midi sur les feuillages
Rayonne et t'invite au sommeil.
Par le trèfle et le thym, seules, en plein soleil,
Chantent les abeilles volages.
Un chaud parfum circule au détour des sentiers,
La rouge fleur des blés s'incline,
Et les oiseaux, rasant de l'aile la colline,
Cherchent l'ombre des églantiers.
Mais, quand l'Astre, incliné sur sa courbe éclatante,
Verra ses ardeurs s'apaiser,
Que ton plus beau sourire et ton meilleur baiser
Me récompensent de l'attente!
The grass is soft for slumber beneath the fresh poplars,
on the slopes by the mossy springs,
which, in the meadows flowering with a thousand plants,
lose themselves under dark thickets.
Rest, o Phidylé! the midday sun shines on the foliage
and invites you to sleep!
Among clover and thyme, alone, in full sunlight
hum the fickle honeybees.
A warm fragrance circulates about the turning paths,
the red cornflower tilts,
and the birds, skimming the hill with their wings,
search for shade among the wild roses.
But when the sun, turning in its resplendent orbit,
finds its heat abating,
let your loveliest smile and your most ardent kiss
recompense me for waiting!
(translated by Emile Ezust)