Frightened rabbits: ghostly flowers

To listen press on the audio player below
(you can also download the file –
click on the three dots on the right):

You can use the carousel, to follow the texts of the two songs I discuss. Click on or touch the slide on the top left; it will open up to fill your screen, you can then toggle through the three verses of each song (a verse per slide) by using the arrows at the side. To leave it simply press Escape (Esc) or, if on your phone or tablet – where the verses are best viewed in landscape – the small x in the top right hand corner.

Two French singers:
Véronique Gens:

I. Villanelle 00:36
II. Le spectre de la rose 03:02
III. Sur les lagunes 09:04
IV. Absence 14:57
V. Au cimetière – Clair de lune 19:36
VI. L’île inconnue 24:11


and (inevitably) Régine Crespin:

I. Villanelle (00:05​)
II. Le spectre de la rose (02:24​)
III. Absence (09:31​)
IV. Sur les lagunes (14:57​)
V. Au cimetière – Clair de lune (21:07​)
VI. L’île inconnue (26:51​)


Berlioz and his notorious decibel levels
(doesn’t apply to Les nuits d’été)

The coachman (yelling): Does sir want a carriage?
The gentleman: My friend, I can see that you’re talking to me, but I’ve just come out of a Berlioz concert and can’t hear a word you’re saying.

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1 thought on “Frightened rabbits: ghostly flowers

  1. Wonderful analysis – of the poems, the music and the various singers. I agree with you about Crespin and Ansermet. It was hearing their recording that first got me interested in Berlioz. Good as the others are, Crespin is really in a class of her own in these songs. And I don’t think that is just nostalgia.

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