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Parisian Intersections

Baudelaire’s Legacy to Composers

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Helen Abbott

The period from the 1850s to the 1890s in Paris marked a key turning point for poets and composers, as they grappled with the new ways in which poetry and music could intersect. Under the particular conditions of the time and place, both art forms underwent significant developments which challenged the status of each form. In both creative and critical work from this era, poets and composers offered tantalising but problematic insights into ‘musical’ poetry and ‘poetic’ music.
The central issue examined in this book is that of what happens to poetry when it encounters music, especially as song. The author places Baudelaire’s famous sonnet ‘La Mort des amants’ at the heart of the analysis, tracing its transposition into song by a succession of both amateur and professional composers, examining works by Villiers de l’Isle-Adam, Serpette, Rollinat, Debussy and Charpentier, as well as an extraordinary parodic song version by Valade and Verlaine.
A companion website offers recordings of each of the songs analysed in this book.

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Acknowledgements

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Helen Abbott is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Each year the AHRC provides funding from the Government to support research and postgraduate study in the arts and humanities. Only applications of the highest quality are funded and the range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK. For further information on the AHRC, please go to: www.ahrc.ac.uk This research was also made possible thanks to a Visiting Fellowship at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, University of London, 2010–2011. For further information on the IGRS, please go to: www.sas. igrs.ac.uk With thanks to Francis Bevan, Mary Bevan, Sholto Kynoch, Robin Holloway, Edmond Lemaître, François Le Roux, Dominic and Felix McGo- nigal, Jules Millard and Thomas Schmidt-Beste for their assistance with all the musical aspects of this book. I am grateful also for the support and assistance of Anne and Steve Abbott, Chantal and Jean-François Chau- mont, Sven Greitschus, Carol Tully and Tim Unwin. Finally, particular thanks go to Denis Saint-Amand, for pointing me in the direction of ‘La Mort des cochons’ which served as the impetus for writing this book in the first place.

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