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Parisian Intersections

Baudelaire’s Legacy to Composers


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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Appendix A Music score of Pierre-Jean de Béranger’s Le Roi d’Yvetot (my tran- scription).1 1) Lyrics by Béranger (verse 1 and refrain only) 2) Lyrics by Baudelaire and Le Vavasseur (verse 1 and refrain only) 1 A midi file of the song is available from: YVETOT.mid [accessed 06 September 2011]. Appendix B Flaxland piano-reduction editions of Wagner operas c. 1860 Der f liegende Holländer 1862 ‘Grand Duo à 4 mains sur le Vaisseau fantôme de Richard Wagner’ par Ed. Wolft 1864 Chant et piano. Traduction française de Charles Nuitter Lohengrin 1858 Chant et piano. Traduction française de Charles Nuitter 1860 ‘Chœur des fiançailles’, à deux mains 1861 ‘Chœur des fiançailles’, transcrit pour piano Tannhäuser c. 1850 or 1860 ‘L’Étoile du soir, romance de Tannhäuser’. Transcrite pour piano par Franz Liszt 1860 ‘Overture du Tannhäuser de Richard Wagner’. Arrangé à 4 mains par Hans Bülow 1860 ‘Marche du Tannhäuser par Richard Wagner, no. 1’. À 2 mains 1860 ‘Marche du Tannhäuser de Richard Wagner’. Arrangé à 4 mains par Hans Bülow 1861 Chant et piano. Arrangé par E. Yanthrot 1861 Morceaux. Opéra en 3 actes, poème et musique de Richard Wagner. Réduction au piano par E. Vautherot 174 Appendix B Comments The greater number of Flaxland editions of Tannhäuser than those of Lohengrin or Der f liegende Holländer is clearly a direct result of the renown (or notoriety) that the...

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