Le Long du Quai – Mélodies on Poems by Sully Prudhomme CD
ully Prudhomme – the first Nobel Prize winner for literature. His poems have inspired a variety of musicians to write wonderful compositions, including Gabriel Fauré, George Enescu and Louis Vierne. Soprano Marie-Pierre Roy and pianist Justine Eckhaut have assembled an impressive selection of these songs into a fascinating album that demonstrates the stylistic range of song composition at the turn of the 20th century and beyond.
Sully Prudhomme is concerned with metaphysics, logic, morality, aesthetics, sociology, and thus perfectly embodies the Parnassian movement, hostile to both individual outbursts and political engagement, purporting to bring poetry closer to the natural sciences, history, and philosophy. His writing is concerned with inner analysis, the search for the ideal, and advancement. He became a member of the Académie Francaise in 1882 and received the first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901.
An art of suggestion and refinement, the French art song, mélodie, is a vast world unto itself; a world where poetry and music combine. Long the preserve of the salon, it relies precisely on the balance between a first-rate text and a score that shows consideration for intimacy in the marriage of voice and piano.
In the repertoire of this album, the performer becomes the narrator, the pianist the orchestrator. The mélodie fashion, initiated by Gounod and Berlioz, really blossoms with composers such as César Franck, Théodore Dubois and Reynaldo Hahn, but also with the «innovators» such as Chausson, Debussy, Ravel and Poulenc; at their side the undisputed master of the genre: Gabriel Fauré. The beginning of the 20th century thus represents the «golden age» of this wonderful kind of repertoire.