Hector Berlioz


Hire a custom writer who has experience.
It's time for you to submit amazing papers!

order now

The term “Melodie” was first used to describe his Irish Melodies collection and the name began to be used for all French art song

Orchestra was his instrument

Relationship between the melody and the accompaniment is at the core of his expressiveness

Uses a great deal of diminished 7th chords and sequences, diminished 7ths in a series, melodies often quite pentatonic but basically tonal

Composer of hybrids, very operatic, one of the first generation of composers to use the orchestra as their instrument

Hector Berlioz Nuits d’ete’
• Nuits d’ete
o Villanelle – strophic
o Le spectre de la rose – very dramatic, the ghost of a rose pressed to the breast of a young girl all evening comes to haunt her dreams
o Sur le Lagune – links to Au Cemetiere, same feeling, reflects the feeling of being at lose ends
o Absence – ABACA Rondo form, Eight verses in the poem by Gautier but he only sets three
o Au Cemetiere – lament, very Italianate, legato, rigid rhythmic patterns, shifts harmonies, stepwise vocal line
o L’ille inconnue – invitation to a romantic voyage, simple texture, sometimes just this and Villanelle are done on recitals because the entire cycle is huge
Charles Gounod


Ravel called him the Father of French Melodie’ Leading Opera composer • Composed over 200 songs, built bridges from past styles into the future, transitional figure that led the way for composes such as Faure, whom he influenced • Used texts by contemporary poets o Hugo, Musset, La Fontain, de Banville • Songs reflect the simplicity of the Romance, but with an emphasis on the metrical structure of the declamation of the text • Style: o Accompaniment subordinate to the voice o Sensibilite’ – innate sense of taste, although sometimes seems dated and overly sentimental to the modern ear o Poetry, music, vocal line and accompaniment all interact on a level found prior to this only in German Lieder o Fond of arpeggios, broken chords and repeated chords, as well as extensive introductions and preludes

Charles Gounod Songs
o Serenade – bel canto style, ornaments by Dalton Baldwin in the piano part perhaps appropriate because of this
o L’Absent – written as an apology to his wife
? Romantic “slip-sliding” that points to Faure’ and Debussy
o Viens, Les Gazons Sont Verts
? Demonstrates his gift for melody
Cesar Franck


Belgian Belgian organist and teacher, who influenced Duparc (who, like his teacher, wrote in a thick “German” style), Chansson and D’Indy (D’Indy taught at Schola Cantorum de Paris) • Dense harmonies, German style • Strophic, chordal accompaniment, block chords, broken chords, full of chromaticis, simple vocal line • Not very “French” • Chose poets like Hugo, Musset and Prudomme, but did not always set text with correct regard to declamation

Cesar Franck songs
• La Procession, also orchestrated
o Two parts, the procession, and then the narrative reflection upon the scene
• Nocturne
o Each stanza describes the night
o Music is varied to match the text, an important development
o Descending chromatic line in the piano introduction, 1st and 3rd verses in a minor key, vocal material is essentially the same for the first 3 verses but the 4th is in a Major key
Georges Bizet


 Primarily an opera composer, but wrote 50 songs, most in the style of Gounod, with whom he studied • Used mostly little-known poets, his strong sense of rhythm and dramatic flair take him well beyond the style of Gounod

Georges Bizet Songs
• Chanson d’Avril
o Tune reminiscent of Carmen
• Adieus de L’hotesse Arabe
o Poem by Hugo
o Reflects Oriental influence popular in France at the time, voluptuous vocal lines, obsessive rhythm in the accompaniment that, once again, sounds like Carmen
Emmanuel Chabrier


 • Wrote very few songs, all were strophic

• Brought humor back to the melodie, full of “wit and whimsy,” sometimes dismissed because of their humor. “Men that eat and drink well sing Chabrier” (Clare Clorza) • Music is well marked and the markings should be followed

Emmanuel Chabrier songs
o L’ile Hereuse
? Light poem, one of his best known songs, poet is Varcoe
? Stanzas divided by ritornello
o Les Cigales – we heard it sung by Souzay
? Lyrical vocal line, piano imitates the sound of the Cicadas
Henri Duparc


Dr. Aiosa said that with Duparc we are starting to head into the “real” French melodie’, with gorgous music

• Studied with Franck, so influenced by the German style, only composed 16 songs, destroyed much of his own work

• Songs are characterized by skillful construction, close attention to text, poets such as Baudelaire and Goethe, Broad lines, operatic in nature, rich, harmonic structure, operatic in nature, complex piano parts that border on orchestral, preferred living poets, especially the Parnassian poets

• Suffered from mental disease, Neurastenia, that eventually led to blindness, stopped composing in 1885, but lived to be 85

Henri Duparc songs
• Chanson Triste
o Sentimental, looks back to the Romance – he hated vocal exhibitionism, most songs are written for high voice and should not be transposed because it changes the color of the song, this song is a good example of that
o Vocal line is long and pivots around the dominant, phrase lengths are spacious and flowing, non-stop arpeggiated accompaniment sustains the vocal line, and helps to sustain the harmonic intensity
• L’invitation au Voyages – Baudelaire
o Second verse slightly alters the vocal line, but the song is basically strophic
o Uses the piano to reinforce the vocal line, two chords that alternate in the first verse change into arpeggios in the second verse in order to evoke light bathing the land
o Technically difficult for both pianist and singer, inspired by a year-long sea journey, when he was homesick for Holland
o Song is about the prospect of sensual delight, lots of “Volupte”
o Music is very impressionistic, the first melodie we’ve heard in class with this sound
o Very long, like most of his songs, includes a recit, poem clearly evokes the music
• Extase
o One of his shortest songs, Debussy wrote a song using the same poet (Lahor)
o Shows Wagnerian influence
• Lamento
o Berlioz used the same poem (Gautier)
o White tomb surrounded by trees with a dove making a plaintive sound that the piano imitates, poem uses words that suit the mood of the poem, Recoulement, doucement, L’unison, tombe, l’ombre, colombe
o Dedicated to Faure
• Phidyle
o Should be sung by a man but Marilyn Horne recorded it
o Depictive text, for a substantial voice and a good pianist, passionate, rich texture
o Shows Wagnerian influence
o Opening is recitative-like, harmony moving towards non-functional, gentle arrivals and easy changes of chords, harmony helps depict non-movement.
? Use of light-motif, especially noticeable when orchestrated
? Middle section has a more active, thick texture, Last section features a surge of melody, “our reward for waiting” and piano cadences after the voice cadence, and after the voice stops
• Le Manoir de Rosamonde
o Fast, for a change, about unrequited love, poem by Bonnieres
Ernest Chausson


Studied to be a lawyer, to make his father happy, died young of a freak bicycle accident, his friends were a circle of composers in France at that time, eventually becoming a president of Société nationale de musique

• Three periods of music, very original songs, but reflect influence of Franck and Wagner o Early works were influenced by Massanet, with whom he studied o 1886 on his works became more dramatic, like Duparc he was influenced by Wagner o 1894 and after his father’s death, he was influenced by symbolist poets and Russian literature

• Composer who bridges the gap between the romanticism of Massanet and the impressionism of Debussy and Faure’ •

Only wrote about 50 songs; they are elegant, refined and personal. He was at ease with this form because he could write music that was intensely subjective

• Style

o Melodies often begin low and rise

o Texts in his earliest songs tend to be detached, later on they became more expressive and personal

o Harmony often includes alterd scale tones, 6ths and 7ths, in major keys, to express feelings

o Composed with balance and simplicity, preferred ternary forms, nostalgic poetry

o Most accompaniments have one unvarying pattern

Ernest Chausson songs
• Nanny – Leconte de Lisle, poet o First published song, opens with chromatic theme that is taken up by the piano, accompaniment with its repeated figure is typical of Chausson o Melodic line features descending passages that indicate melancholy, form is modified ternary • Les Papillons – about butterflies, accompaniment reflects this, Gautier was the poet • Le Colibri o Very famous song, especially the opening chord o 5/4 time signature, exotic, out of step with the world, volupte’, describes the flight and death of a hummingbird o Chromatic passages, rich harmonic textures o Repeated chords become rolled chords at the end o Italianate melodic line shared by voice and piano o Only at the end of the poem does the poet become subjective, comparing the poet’s soul dying from the first kiss of his lover to the hummingbird dying after drinking deeply of a flower • Le temps des lilas o Theme reminiscent of times past, poem reflects culture of the time, typical of the great changes in Melodie’ since the end of the romantic period o Unified with a short motif in d minor that expresses grief for a lost love
Gabriel Fauré


Considered to be the heart of the French Melodié, his style elevated the style because the accompaniment was more important. Along with Duparc and Debussy perfected the melodié as a true art form. He studied with Gounod, there is a depth to his writing, however, that we do not always hear in Gounod; pushed the envelope, inspired new techniques, the master of subtle nuance and delicate detail • He wrote 100 songs with an extraordinary range of composition.

Works can be divided into three periods:

o Early 1863-1887: Lydia, Nell, Les Roses d’Ispahan, La Rose, Le Parfum imperrissable

o Middle 1887-1906: Two sections of 7 years each. Begins with Clair de lune; La Bonne Chanson; Poeme d’un jour; Les Berceaux; Cinq mélodies de Venise

o Late 1906-1922: Mirages; Le jardin clos; La Chanson d’Eve; L’horizon chimerique

• The scenes in his songs are depicted in the text and the music, describing a scene, unlike Duparc who does not stand still and is more emotional. Generally no rubato, OK to transpose, Faure’ was interested in harmony above all things

• His music features opposing forces: o Normal-the unusual o Refinement-simplicity o Charm-power o Sensual detail (one tree) – organic unity (forest)

• “I want to suggest the great mysteries in the clearest language” – Fauré

• Drew upon Parnassian poets, especially Le Conte de Lisle

Parnassian poets believed in “Art for Arts Sake” – a reaction against the social romanticism, better understood as sharing the same ideals rather than the same technique, rejected the unrestrained imagination and subjective expression of the Romantic Period

Gabriel Faure songs
• Lydia
o Strophic, mixture of modality and tonality, used the Lydian mode as a musical pun, the first time that he set a poem by Leconte de Lisle
• Apres un reve
o Famous tune, piano subordinate to the vocal line, instrumental versions exist, anonymous Italian poem adapted by Bussine
• Au bord de L’eau
o Vocal line and piano line overlap, poem by Sully-Prudhomme
• Clair de Lune
o Important poem for both Faure’ and Debussy, poet was Verlaine, who, although he had an unhappy marriage wrote happy poems
o Broke new ground by writing the piano accompaniment like a solo and then subtly weaving in the vocal line, the first time that he wrote like this.
• Nell – 1878- middle period
o Quintessential Faure’, very sentimental, in this resembles Gounod
o Subtle changes of chords, creates interest, descending motion of the bass line, rising motion of the voice line, Bernac suggests that the tempo might be faster than 66 suggested by Faure’
• Les berceaux – poem by Prudomme who received the first Nobel prize for poetry
o Accompaniment suggests the rocking of a cradle, creates atmosphere
• Les roses d’Ispahan – Leconte de Lisle
o Fascination with the orient, cross rhythms in the accompaniment, AABA form, a precise poem and Faure’ tried to match that
• Poeme d’un Jour – 1878, first song cycle, nice first song cycle for young singers, although they are not easy, because the group works well together
o Rencontie – smooth accompaniment, harmonic nuance, descending bass line
o Toujours – Fast, passionate, needs a good pianist, one of his few fast songs
o Adieu – beautiful, calm melody, simple piano accompaniment, in the spirit of Duparc “Au Cimitiere”
• Cinq Melodies de Venise – song cycle written in 1881, in Paris, but inspired by a trip to Venice
o No overall tonal plan, but stylistic factors suggest that it is organized on different levels, suits Faure’ because he is suble
o A recurring three note figure is a linking motif in En sourdine, Green and C’est l’extase
o Mandoline – 1st view of lovers – volupte’ – only song of the cycle that was written in Venice, the rest were written in Paris
o En sourdine – 1st lovemaking – using muted melodies
o Green – love making, experimented with style – J’arrive tout couvert encore de rosee
o A Clymere –transitional – about riding in a gondola – barcarole rhythm reminiscent of Venice – the song of the cycle that is performed the least – Ferme tes yeux a demi – harder to grasp
o C’est l’extase – used the linking material from Green – O le frele et frais murmure – cette ame qui se lamonte – this and A Clymere are more difficult for the audience to grasp
o Faure’ was going deaf and his songs began to push the harmony further and further away from what the audience knew
• La Bonne Chanson – considered his masterpiece – Paul Verlaine – early part of his late style
o Structured on a literary level
o Recurring themes unify the poems, set 9 out of 22 poems
o Created one, long, lyric poem out of them, #9 was completed in 1884, the rest in 1883
o The cycle is a balance between exhilaration and happiness, every song is happy, so it is difficult to perform
o Faure’ stops giving singers and the audience what they want, beautiful melodies
o His obsession with harmony and form takes over and so are more difficult to comprehend
o Poetry expresses a fantasy retreat from the marriage of the poet, into a place where he is safe as a homosexual – Dr. Aiosa says that Verlaine was a homosexual and that, although he wrote this poetry for his bride, the marriage was a failure
• Late Style 1905-1922
o L’horizon chimerique – poetry by Jean de La Ville de Mirmont – should be sung by a baritone – less austere than the other, later cycles. Simple poetry, rhythmic inflections set perfectly in the melodic line. French composers are more and more interested in setting rhythmic inflections. Style is lyrical and declamatory. No music links in the cycle, but rather unified by the settings of words and rhythmic figures that evoke the sea. All of the songs are thru-composed except for the first song. The very last line of the last song that he would compose is in the cycle: “For I feel within me unappeased longing for great departures.”
o Faure’ was the director of the French Conservatory, took the post in 1905, wrote 4 song cycles in this time, Mirages, Le jardin Clos, La Chanson d’eve, and L’horizon chimerique
o Also wrote an opera “Penelope”
o Late style marked by lean, sparse texture, skillful harmonic manipulations and a sense of harmonic manipulations. Comparing the late with the early, complex and introspective style in the late style and the early are charming and influenced by Gounod.
Claude Debussy


Wrote 87 songs, all wonderful, great appreciation for the literary, he was friends with poets and artists, not musicians, except for Satie

• Set 18 songs of Verlaine

• Marllame’ poems, also

• Towards the end of his life he chose older poets

• 1892-1902 was the period of his total mastery of the form. Only his early songs should be transposed

• Harmonies are not functional in impressionism, he was a true impressionist composer

• Great sense of intimacy, Volupte’ is clear

• French counterpart of Hugo Wolf

• His ability to understand the essence of the poetry and perfectly transpose it into musical expression, makes his melodie unique in the history of French song.

Claude Debussy songs
• First songs in the 43 songs book are early melodies, nice for young singers.
o Beau Soir is perhaps his best known song, representative of his early impressionistic style, voice and piano work together beautifully, even though the piano is different from the voice. Piano seems to imitate the sound of the stream.
o Mandoline – first setting of a Verlaine poem, (from Five Venetian melodies, also set by Faure’) at the age of 21, light, tinged with irony, sound of the mandolin is in the piano, this unifies the song, scene reminiscent of a Watteau painting. We should be detached observers of the scene as we sing the song, it is being described to us, we are not in the middle of the scene. The characters are all in the pastoral type of poetry of the day, including Aminte, Damis, Tirsis, and Clitandre, similar to the way that the Commedia dell’arte characters are well know. The music will sound a certain way in order to describe their character. The choice of texture is very important, creates contrast and a sense of character. Damis, hopeless lover, Clitandre is boring, Aminte and Tirsis are like Punch and Judy.
Ariettes Oubliees
o First mature set of songs – 1888. Written for Mary Garden
o Uses various subtle musical responses to the words in the poems
o His style begins to crystallize
o C’est L’Extase – poetry by Verlaine – A portrait of two lovers, the languorous fatique after making love, uses the melody to coordinate, the accompaniment and the rhythm. He uses small intervals and narrow vocal range to convey a sense of intimacy. Larger intervals at points of emotion; note parallel fifths and octaves and a final ninth chord, that is not heard as a dissonance, because he masks the fact that it is a dissonance, the key of E Major is “covered up” so that it loses its dissonant character.
o Il pleure dans mon Coeur – wistful melancholy, sitting in the rain, listless but yet restless accompaniment, 40 repetitions of a 2 bar phrase used to create the mood of ennui (bored, yet troubled). There is a literary alliteration of pleuroir (to rain) and pleurer (to cry).
o L’Ombre des Arbres – Uses mirror images purposefully to confuse object, image and symbol. Debussy uses a quote from Cyrano – “the nightingale sits on a branch of a tall tree, thinking she is drowning in her reflection in the water beneath” at the beginning of the score for the song. For Verlaine, the poet’s hopes, reflected in the weeping and the high branches of the tree, are drowned in the reflection in the lake. Debussy constructs musical reflections, as well. The second half of the song uses what was in the first half (mirror image), and uses the tritone in the voice and piano, an interval that mirrors itself even when it is inverted, and he uses a recurring E# octave that seems to identify with the shattered hopes of the traveler. Reminds us of Faure’ in the cleverness of it (Faure’ was very clever).
o Chevaux de Bois – The text tournez functions as a rondo refrain. The song is about a Merry-go-round at a fair in Belgium. The same melodic material is used at the end, but it is twice as slow, reflecting the Merry-go-round as is slows down.
o Green and Spleen – English titles, comes from two watercolors (Aquarelle). Verlaine uses the character of Cherubino, who dashes around in a burst of enthusiasm and tenderness, in ABA form. Spleen has ennui, purposeful avoidance of everything except of the beloved, Debussy avoids the tonic so that you do not get a sense of the key. The single pitch is repeated 11 times and reflects the sense of mood, emptiness, “spleen,” the organ thought to cause mood swings, mood swings are reflected in the music.