A miscellany of serenades

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Paul Verlaine

Les donneurs de sérénades
Et les belles écouteuses
Échangent des propos fades
Sous les ramures chanteuses.

C’est Tircis et c’est
Et c’est l’éternel Clitandre,
Et c’est Damis qui pour mainte
Cruelle fait maint vers tendre.

Leurs courtes vestes de soie,
Leurs longues robes à queues,
Leur élégance, leur joie
Et leurs molles ombres bleues,

Tourbillonnent dans l’extase
D’une lune rose et grise,
Et la mandoline jase
Parmi les frissons de brise.

Paul Verlaine

The gallant serenaders
And their fair listeners
Exchange sweet nothings
Beneath singing boughs.

Tirsis is there, Aminte is there,
And tedious Clitandre too,
And Damis who for many a cruel maid
Writes many a tender song.

Their short silken doublets,
Their long trailing gowns,
Their elegance, their joy,
And their soft blue

Whirl madly in the rapture
Of a grey and roseate moon,
And the mandolin jangles on
In the shivering breeze.

Translation © Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder, published by Faber, provided courtesy of Oxford Lieder (www.oxfordlieder.co.uk)

Gabriel Fauré: Sérénade Toscane 
Johannes Brahms: Ständchen [Serenade] Op. 106 No. 1
Richard Strauss: Ständchen [Serenade] Op. 17 No. 2 text

Paul Verlaine: Mandoline – four different settings and four (rather!) different singers!

Serenades by Fauré, Brahms and Strauss – Ben Johnson finds himself in august company…

Wilhelm Stenhammar, Ethel Smyth and Armas Järnefelt: three turn of the century orchestral serenades:

I. Overtura: Allegrissimo00:00
II. Canzonetta: Tempo di valse, un poco tranquillo6:45
III. Scherzo: Presto12:10
IV. Notturno: Andante sostenuto19:50
V. Finale: Tempo moderato28:31

I. Allegro non troppo
II. Scherzo. Allegro vivace – Allegro molto
III. Allegretto grazioso – Molto vivace grazioso – Allegretto grazioso
IV. Finale. Allegro con brio

I. Allegretto quasi marcia
II. Andante espressivo
III. Adagio
IV. Allegretto
V. Sostenuto
VI. Allegro vivace

… and finally Stravinsky‘s (as ever!) rather individual take on the genre:

00:00​ – No. 1 Hymne
03:33​ – No. 2 Romanza
07:11​ – No. 3 Rondoletto
09:39​ – No. 4 Cadenza Finale

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2 thoughts on “A miscellany of serenades

  1. What a wonderful and diverse selection of music!
    Thank you so much.
    On a trivial note I remember clearly Joyce Grenfell singing, ‘Maud won’t come into the garden. She’s not such a fool as all that!’

  2. A seduction of serenades, perhaps? A delightful choice of pieces, most of them quite new to me. There’s a recording of Strauss himself conducting Staendchen, with the young Julius Patzak.

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