Jules Massenet (12 May 1842 – 13 August 1912) “Élégie” from Vingt Mélodies (1872)
Performed by French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (b. 1978) with French cellist Gautier Capuçon (b. 1981).
[Massenet and his wife, Constance de Saint-Maire] returned to Paris in 1866, and several of Massenet’s works were soon performed. They caused little stir. In 1873 he wrote some feeble incidental music for a play, but one number, “Invocation,” struck gold. Massenet changed its name to “Élégie,” added words, and arranged the song for cello and piano accompaniment. Sentimental Paris could not get enough of the sadly religious tune with its erotic overtones. He followed it with a religiously ecstatic oratorio, Marie-Magdeleine (1873). It, too, was a success. Massenet never had the public far from his heart and told the composer Vincent d’Indy, “I don’t believe in all that creeping Jesus stuff, but the public likes it and we must always agree with the public.” – from The Essential Canon of Classical Music by David Dubal.
Text by Louis Gallet
from the The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive
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Ô, doux printemps d'autre fois, vertes saisons, Vous avez fui pour toujours! Je ne vois plus le ciel bleu; Je n'entends plus les chants joyeux des oiseaux! En emportant mon bonheur, mon bonheur... Ô bien-amé, tu t'en es allé! Et c'est en vain que [le printemps revient!]1 Oui, sans retour, avec toi, le gai soleil, Les jours riants sont partis! Comme en mon coeur tout est sombre et glacé! Tout est flétri pour toujours! O sweet springtimes of old verdant seasons You have fled forever I no longer see the blue sky I no longer hear the bird's joyful singing And, taking my happiness with you You have gone on your way my love! In vain Spring returns Yes, never to return The bright sun has gone with you The days of happiness have fled How gloomy and cold is my heart All is withered Forever