Sat, 18/04/2015 - 19:30

Duruflé, Debussy and Fauré

Our Spring concert was a very French occasion, with the beautiful Duruflé Requiem as well as a lot more wonderful French music from Debussy, Fauré and more. We are delighted and intrigued to have sung Debussy's 3 Chansons as they are not performed very often, and are in Mediaeval French. However our MD Robert Randall and one or two Franch-speaking members, guided us through the language! It was also lovely to perform Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine which we sang at Robert's first concert with us, and also at our secretary's wedding - almost 18 years ago!
Full concert programme is as follows:
Josquin des Pres, Ave Maria - Superb 15th Century motet
Saint-Saëns Fantasie in E flat major - organ solo by the wonderful Nick O'Neill
Fauré Après un rêve and Duparc Chanson Triste - 2 solo songs sung by Kathy James, mezzosoprano
Debussy - Trois Chansons
3 songs for choir and solo, poems by Charles d'Orleans in 15th Century French
Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine - soothing and familiar to a number of people
Duruflé Requiem including cello solo from William Albuquerque, age 13

Our secretary Rosey decided to try her hand at translating the mediaeval French - and even made it rhyme a bit..
1. Dieu! Qu’il la fait bon regarder!
La gracieuse bonne et belle,
Pour les grans biens que sont en elle
Chascun est prest de la loüer
Qui se pourroit d’elle lasser?
Tousjours sa beauté renouvelle
Par de ça, ne de là, la mer, ne scay dame ne demoiselle, qui soit en tous bien parfait telle. C’est ung songe que d’y penser.

Lord thou hast made her fair to see,
Graceful, good and lovely she.
For all the virtues she possess’,
All shall praise her loveliness.
Who could tire of her?
Each day her beauty’s restoration.
I seek her match through all creation
But find no match, mere imitation.
It is a dream to think of her.

2. Quand j’ay ouy le tambourin sonner,
pour s’en aller au May
En mon lit n’en ay fait affray,
Ne levé mon chief du coissin, en disant:
Il est trop matin,
Ung peu je me rendormiray.

When I heard the tambourine playing
calling us to go a-Maying,
I did not let it shock me in my bed;
not lifting my head from the pillow, I said -
It is too early, I will go back to sleep!

3. Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain
Esté est plaisant et gentil,
En temoing de May et d’Avril,
Qui l’accompaignent soir et main.

Esté revest champs, bois et fleurs,
De sa livrée de verdure,
et de maintes autres couleurs
Par l’ordonnance de Nature.

Mais vous, Yver, trop estes plain
De neige, vent, pluye et grezil -
On vous deust banner en exil!
Sans point flater, je parle plain,
Yver, vous n’estes qu’un villain!

Winter, thou art but a knave!
Summer is pleasant, does not misbehave,
As we see in April and May
Who live with her night and day.

Summer clothes field, wood and flower
In livery of green,
And as decreed by Nature’s power
Manifold colours are seen.

But thou, Winter, art replete
With snow and wind and rain and sleet -
You should be sent into exile!
I do not flatter, I will be brave:
Winter, thou art but a knave!