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Lawrence Johnson French Diction Si mes vers avaient des ailes; Reynaldo Hahn and Victor Hugo Translations If my verses had the wings Si mes vers avaient des ailes My verses would-flee, soft and frail Mes vers fuiraient, doux et frêles, Towards your garden so beautiful Vers votre jardin si beau, If my verses had the wings Si mes vers avaient des ailes, The wings like a-bird Des ailes comme l'oiseau. They would-fly, sparks Ils voleraient, étincelles, Towards your hearth which laughs Vers votre foyer qui rit, If my verses had the wings Si mes vers avaient des ailes, The wings, like a-spirit Des ailes comme l'esprit. Close to you, pure and faithful, Près de vous, purs et fidèles, They would-run, night and day, Ils accourraient, nuit et jour, If my verses had the wings Si mes vers avaient des ailes, The wings like love! Des ailes comme l'amour! If my verses had wings My verses would flee, sweet and frail, To your garden so fair, If my verses had wings, Like a bird. They would fly, like sparks, To your smiling hearth, If my verses had wings, Like the mind. Pure and faithful, to your side They'd hasten night and day, If my verses had wings, Like love!
He was unusal in the fact that he was not born in France. He showed some interest in his native Caracas music. .Merrill 2 Reynaldo Hahn was a composer who was known for his archetypal French compositions. a number of operettas. but rather in Venezuela. and it was an instant success. and during this time (about 1894-1896). but the indulgent influences of the Paris artistic scene proved too inviting to avoid. and a very hearty number of art songs. but was much less extroverted about it in his own life. Although he had close intimate friendships with women. Si mes vers avaient des ailes. They moved to Paris when Hahn was three years old. but ironically became lovers with Marcel Proust. however. He wrote mainly for voice. garnering invitations from many leading artists in Paris into coveted social circles. a little-known. his first and likely most famous song. Venezuela to a German father and a Venezuelan mother. Hahn honed his own writing skills and became a detail-oriented music critic. uppity aspiring writer three years older than himself. They collaborated on various projects. He wrote critical letters of homosexuals and homosexuality. writing six operas. the woman to whom he wrote le beau monde he loved only at a distance. as it should be as he did spend most of his life in France. and there is no doubt that this was a fabulous career move for young Hahn. in August of 1875. was written when he was only 13! He had been studying harmony with Théodore Dubois and composition with Jules Massenet for only two years when he composed it. He was the youngest of twelve children. Hahn had a subtly turbulent romantic life. Hahn was born in Caracas. He wrote many songs about love. his music education was considerably French. He began composing at a very young age.
and even brought back some elements from operas of Mozart¶s time. He was also a statesman. he was selected to become the conductor and impresario at the Paris Opéra. Victor Hugo was born in Besançon in 1802 to an officer in Napoleon¶s army. from which he gained a royal pension from Louis XVIII. In the 1880¶s she had an affair with Hugo¶s friend Charles-Augustin Sainte- . novels. He was forced to leave Paris in 1940 during the Nazi occupation. plays. and published his first collection of poems Odes et Poésies Diverses in 1822 at the age of 20. and historical novels. Hugo is often considered the greatest French poet. and perhaps the most important. and he was mainly raised by his mother until she returned to Hugo¶s father when her lover (and her husband¶s former Commandin Officer) was killed by a firing squad for plotting against Napoleon. essays. his parents marriage collapsed. Les Miserable. Hahn volunteered for service in the French Army. and returned in 1945 to fulfill his appointment as director of the Paris Opéra. Hugo married Adéle Foucher. He died in 1947 of a brain tumor in his beloved Paris. human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France. deliberately returning the orchestra to a purely accompanimental role in his Le marchand de Venise. However. Later in his life. after great success as a composer and conductor. 1822. all the while working on a song cycle based on the poems of Robert Louis Stevenson. He progressed from a private to a corporal. He left few genres untouched. This same year. as well as translating Virgil. he wrote poetry. the daughter of an officer at the ministry of war. He favored the operas of Mozart. Victor Hugo began in early adolescence to write verse tragedies and poetry.Merrill 3 In 1914. a father who loved dangers and adventures. Although his most famous work outside of France is his Historical novel. Victor Hugo was an extremely influential French Romantic writer.
attended by two million people. Blanche Lavin. he later described Beuve as a man who ³lifts his loathsome skirt and says µAdmire me!¶´ Of course. He died in Paris on May 22. he wrote it when only thirteen. where he witnessed the siege of Paris in 1870. and Hugo returned to France. and buried in the Panthéon. This political interest was greatly present in his famous novel Les Miséres. It was soon after the 1848 revolution. supportive of the republican form of government. that he was elected to the Constitutional Assembly and to the Legislative Assembly. and fled to Brussels and then to Jersey. He was greatly opposed to Louis Napoleon (Napoleon III) in 1851. Maria Hahn. with the formation of the Second Republic. he was not entirely without blemish as well. As mentioned before. intense and full of powerful sounds a rhythms. He has written it in such a way that it is easy in the voice.´ specifically with one of his maids. Elected as a senator in 1876. and although he still told him that he still wanted to remain friends. Hugo was also politically active. 1885. which lends itself well to song settings. He was at the time studying with Jules Massenet. They are often intensely personal. and dedicated it to his sister. but requires gentle . Hugo¶s lyrical style of rich.Merrill 4 Beuve. He wrote some of his best works during this partially voluntary exile. ranging from topics such as the death of his daughter to acute sensuality. and finally to Guernsey in the English Channel. which spanned 20 years. and this song shows a clear influence by his teacher. but suffered a mild stroke in June of 1878. and was given a national funeral. His wife died in 1868. Si mes vers avaient des ailes is perhaps the most famous song written by Reynaldo Hahn. having a ³modest´ number of affairs himself with avious women. which inspired some of his most sexual writings. he continued an active sexual ³career.
Merrill 5 purity of tone. The vocal line of the piece imitates the intimate patterns of speech. . fingers flying over the piano in such a way that imitates the desired flight of the poet¶s verses to their love. such as when the voice reaches its highest point at ³nuit et jour´ in the final few phrases. and elongating the final cadences with the voice ending on the third of the final chord. decrescendoing on the ascending line to a high G. The piano line is sweeping and flowing. He introduces the smallest dynamics at climactic parts of the song. with some rather clever and unexpected cadences and dynamic changes.
´ Other Free Encyclopedias. ³Reynaldo Hahn. Web. 2010.html> Palmer. John.Merrill 6 Works Cited ³Si mes vers avaient des ailes!.answers. Poet and Novelist. ³Reynaldo Hahn Biography.html#tvf=tracks&tv=about> .htm> Nichols.fi/vhugo.jrank.classicalarchives.´ Answers.html> Liukkonen.´ Robin Chew.com/topic/si-mes-vers-avaient-des-ailesfor-voice-piano-from-melodies-book-i> Chew. 2008.lucidcafe. ³Victor Hugo. Pitri. Web. Roger. 2010. 2008.com/library/96feb/hugo. All Media Guide.´ Books and Writers. <http://arts.org/pages/3092/Reynaldo-Hahn. All Music Guide. < http://www.´ Classical Archives. ³Victor Hugo.com/composer/2664.com. <http://www. <http://kirjasto. < http://www. Robin.sci. for voice & piano (from "Melodies. Book I").
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