Lost and Forgotten Vocal Pieces for One or More Voices / Volume 3: Eight French Mélodies and One English Song (first print)
Giacomo Meyerbeer – Lost and Forgotten Vocal Pieces for One or More Voices (Vol. 3)
(b. Berlin, 5 September 1791 – d. Paris, 2 May 1864)
Eight French Mélodies and One English Song
Jamais Adieu [originally published as ‘Au revoir’] p. 1
Aimez p. 5
Confidences p. 6
Le lai de la Pauvre Louise p. 9
Les fleurs de la vie p. 11
Les plus beaux jours p. 13
La lavandière p. 16
Le revenant du vieux château de Bade p. 20
The Rare Flower p. 28
Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864), the master of French of Grand Opéra, is less well-known as a composer of songs. And yet Meyerbeer the songwriter is becoming better known as the extent of his oeuvre of over 80 Lieder, melodies and canzone is slowly rediscovered.
As in all his works, genre plays a crucial role, and Meyerbeer was gifted with an extraordinary capacity to live in the natural musical expressions of the various German, Italian and French milieux he lived in throughout his life, and to whose essential characteristics he responded with effortless intuitiveness. His unique cosmopolitanism, so characteristic of the 18th and early 19th centuries, was first hailed as an important binding force between nations. Later such trans-national characteristics were treated with scorn, even contempt, as extreme nationalism and wars beset the various countries of Europe.
Meyerbeer’s diaries refer to the composition of more than 80 songs. During his lifetime, he published these songs piecemeal, and sometimes not at all. However, later in his life, some of the by then well-known favorites were re-issued as collections. The most comprehensive was the set of 40 published in Paris by Brandus et Cie in 1850.1 In more modern times, Edition Peters in Leipzig, published a handsome modern volume, edited by Reiner Zimmermann,2 which contained some of the Brandus songs and also, for the first time, six of Meyerbeer’s early Italian canzonette. To date, these 46 have been the only songs by the composer of easy access.
The songs in the present collection cover Meyerbeer’s whole creative life, from his student days in Darmstadt (1811-12) to his last years in Berlin (1861). They encompass the results to date of our attempts to locate as many of the missing songs as possible. The collection will be available for study purposes as five soft-covered booklets, bound to open flat on a music stand.
The three songs ‘L’absence’, ‘Jamais adieu’ and ‘Au revoir’ are settings of poems by Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859), published by Launer in 1833. They have a curious publishing history. ‘L’absence’and ‘Jamais adieu’ were announced in Revue Musicale de Fetis XII, No. 45, December 8, 1832, p. 360, for publication in an album La première heure du 1833 [a copy of which we have been unable to trace] but ‘Au revoir’ was announced separately on p. 40 of the March 2, 1833 issue of that journal.3 The strange thing is that the song, published here, was originally printed with title ‘Au Revoir’ (Plate No. 2834) but its text is that of ‘Jamais adieu’. We have accordingly corrected the incorrect title that Launer gave it, possibly due to her confusion that the words “Au revoir” recur several times in the ‘Jamais adieu’ text. Whatever the reason, neither of the Meyerbeer settings of ‘L’absence’ nor the true ‘Au revoir’ (if it ever existed) has yet been found.
The song ‘Aimez’ is not mentioned in Meyerbeer’s diary. The words are by Antoine Houdar de la Motte (1672-1731). The edition on which the present score is based was published by La France Musicale with plate number B.C. 991. It was deposited at the dépôt légal4 in 1847. …
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225 x 320 mm