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Songs

Harmonie du soir

by Claude Debussy From Cinq Poèmes de Baudelaire (1887) 1887-1889

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Text & Translation

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Harmonie du soir
French source: Charles Baudelaire

Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige
Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir ;
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir ;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige !

Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir ;
Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu’on afflige ;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige !
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.

Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu’on afflige
Un cœur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir !
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir ;
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige.

Un cœur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir,
Du passé lumineux recueille tout vestige !
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige ...
Ton souvenir en moi luit comme un ostensoir !

Evening harmony
English translation © Richard Stokes

Now comes the time when, quivering on its stem,
Each flower sheds perfume like a censer;
Sounds and scents turn in the evening air;
Melancholy waltz and reeling languor!

Each flower sheds perfume like a censer;
The violin throbs like a wounded heart,
Melancholy waltz and reeling languor!
The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar.

The violin throbs like a wounded heart,
A fond heart that loathes the vast black void!
The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar.
The sun has drowned in its congealing blood.

A fond heart that loathes the vast black void
And garners in all the luminous past!
The sun has drowned in its congealing blood...
Your memory within me shines like a monstrance!

Translation © Richard Stokes, from A French Song Companion (Oxford, 2000)

Harmonie du soir
French source: Charles Baudelaire

Evening harmony
English source: Richard Stokes

Voici venir les temps où vibrant sur sa tige
Now comes the time when, quivering on its stem,
Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir ;
Each flower sheds perfume like a censer;
Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir ;
Sounds and scents turn in the evening air;
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige !
Melancholy waltz and reeling languor!

Chaque fleur s’évapore ainsi qu’un encensoir ;
Each flower sheds perfume like a censer;
Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu’on afflige ;
The violin throbs like a wounded heart,
Valse mélancolique et langoureux vertige !
Melancholy waltz and reeling languor!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir.
The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar.

Le violon frémit comme un cœur qu’on afflige
The violin throbs like a wounded heart,
Un cœur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir !
A fond heart that loathes the vast black void!
Le ciel est triste et beau comme un grand reposoir ;
The sky is sad and beautiful like a great altar.
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige.
The sun has drowned in its congealing blood.

Un cœur tendre, qui hait le néant vaste et noir,
A fond heart that loathes the vast black void
Du passé lumineux recueille tout vestige !
And garners in all the luminous past!
Le soleil s’est noyé dans son sang qui se fige ...
The sun has drowned in its congealing blood...
Ton souvenir en moi luit comme un ostensoir !
Your memory within me shines like a monstrance!

Composer

Claude Debussy

(Achille) Claude Debussy was a French composer. He is sometimes seen as the first Impressionist composer, although he vigorously rejected the term. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Please click…

Poet

Charles Baudelaire

Charles Pierre Baudelaire was a French poet who also produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), expresses the changing nature of…

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