Although Liszt is well known today mainly for his piano works, he had also devoted his time creatively to celebrate the voice. His vast composition portfolio includes more than 120 works for soloists or choir, both secular and religious. Some of these songs are not performed as regularly and can often be overshadowed by his dazzling pianistic works. Today we are going to put a spotlight on one of his French melodies, “S’il est un Charmant Gazon”, which George and I had the pleasure to record on our recent album, “Songs from our balcony”.
The French poem is taken from “Les Rayons et Les Ombres”, a collection of forty-four poems by Victor Hugo. In this musical interpretation, the piano accompaniment and vocal line melt into one another to suggest the sumptuous joy, which can be felt from a sweet dream of love. I imagine when I sing this song, a Disney animation where animated birds present delicate flowers to me. The floral fragrance of the lilies, honeysuckle, jasmine, and rose become personified in the air creating pastel-shaded fairies, who playfully sprinkle the perfume on the breeze, teasing my senses and dazzling my eyes.
Liszt felt at home composing music suitable for various cultural circles, Austro-Hungarian, French, German and Italian. This suggests that he saw himself as a European composer who did not restrict himself to poems in one single language for his songs. I think it is awe-inspiring to write songs in a second and third language that can convey a heightened musical interpretation whilst staying true to the poetry.
I would love to know what you think of when you listen to the song. What dreamy landscapes does it present to your imagination?
49 thoughts on “S’il est un Charmant Gazon”
Wonderful!! I was following your voice but if it put anything to mind, it was walking along sand dunes!
Wow! What a fantastic image to evoke. I have never walked along sand dunes. Have you experienced this yourself?
haha, you are very welcome! Yes, it just evoked that feel but not desolate and windswept, rather comforting and a feeling of longing 🙂
As I was listening, I thought I could see babies rolling around on blankets, toddlers chasing puppies and butterflies, and adults looking on while smiling!
Well what can be more joyous than that! I am just smiling imaging those scenes. Thank you for sharing a slice of happiness Annette.
I’m with you on the birds and flowers. Sitting on a hill looking out over the valleys below being served flowers by bluebirds and robins. SNAP Oh, now I have to wake up and get back to work. Lovely, Charlotte.
I love the idea of being on the hill, and being able to see the landscape around and below you. This twist brings me a fresh perspective and new ideas when creating my imagination world for my next song. Good luck for your work.
Thank you, Charlotte. Just working on the next book is all. 😁
My imaginary garden while listening is a mixture of flowers, trees which bloom, pappilons, fairies and elves which, the rays of the sun which slide between the flowering branches, the streams which one can jump which run through meadows where fleus make colorful tables and where birds sing with elves and fairies. we can lie down in the middle of the flowers, which move apart, walking is a dance so as not to step on them …..
Best toughts for you
What a beautiful image you conjure up for me. It makes me think of North Wales and trips to the mountains looking for fairies in the waterfalls.
one day we will have to hike in the walles with george, portable piano and we will make recordings of you singing in the middle of nature
Sounds fabulous. Even in London you are a short stroll away from the middle of nature it is amazing really, Greenwich park is just beautiful.
My Dad grew up in Wales and went to school there, he knows lots of lovely hidden nooks.
Nice to hear from you on Sunday
Happy Spring, dear Charlotte! Might it be creative for you! & finally!!! might it make your so longing wedding come true! The song is wonderful. It is a true spring song full of joy we miss so much!
Best spring wishes,
Happy Spring Maria, fingers crossed for the end of August now, the wedding on 11th April couldn’t go ahead because only six people are allowed. But we have decided if it gets cancelled again in August we will get married with just six and have a party later.
I hope that you and all your family are keeping safe and well.
😁🌸🌸🌸Let it finally be, dear Charlotte! The solution about the party is the smartest idea! The wedding itself is the most important! 🙂 🙂 🙂
What a beautiful translation Charlotte, and another interesting post, I love it. 🥰😘
Thank you Gill, I thought you could read the translations whilst listening to the track. I’m glad you’re enjoying the tracks.
Best wishes to you and Terry,
Sounds great. I actually really like a lot of Liszt’s music, from voice to symphonic poems. I know most people consider it very vulgar, but Die Lorelei is one of my favorite songs from the period. On the other hand, taklking doign songs in various cultures,he tried his hand at “American” songs using fake “Indian” stuff, and it is pretty horrid 😉
That’s interesting Trent, I’ve never heard his American/Indian works I will try to find them. I quite like the idea of fusion but it has to be done well. Have a lovely week ahead.
I think it was just one song that, looking it up was using words by Tennyson, where he put in a reference to native Americans: Go not, happy day, G335. The version I saw on Youtube they downplay that reference and it is fine, but on the CD I have, they overplay it and it sounds a little silly. Hope you have a wonderful week 🙂
I hope that your week went well Trent 😊 keep smiling.
Thanks! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
The music is beautiful, Charlotte and George! It brings to mind the graceful aerial dance of tree swallows I see here in summer.
A beautiful image. The trees are all budding now and the blossoms are coming out, we are due a heatwave apparently but you can’t always trust the meteorologists in the UK, some were predicting snow for Easter others heatwave.
Good morning my dear have a nice day 🌹
Good morning my dear friend you have a beautiful day too.
Beautiful, Charlotte. At the beginning I felt surrounded by tulips and then walking an incline of a grassy knoll. Amazing how music has that power over our minds, eh?!
Tulips are everywhere in the shops at the moment, it is a shame they are ever cut because they are beautiful blowing in the wind. I can’t imagine my life without music in it every day.
For my first piano recital, I played an arrangement of Liszt’s Liebestraum. Alas, I haven’t played the piano in almost 70 years, though we still have my mother’s Sohmer.
You must rekindle your piano playing Jeff, the gift of playing will still be there even after all these years. What George would give for a beautiful piano I’m pretty sure that left to his own devises I wouldn’t have a settee in the lounge there would just be a baby grand, it’s a good thing my brother gave me his settee when he got a new one to fill up the room.
Charming indeed. I thought of the gardens of the Luxembourg in Paris. 😉
Strange how “gazon” seems to me in disuse lately. We may say more “pelouse” now. Let’s if other Frogs confirm.
Beautiful interpretation my dear. 👏🏻🌹(For want of a bouquet)
Interesting, I guess in English we use grass and lawn thinking about it. I’d say let’s sit on the grass or the lawn is looking lovely. It has been a long time since I’ve been handed flowers so thank you 😊.
Best wishes to you,
I remembered that lovely tradition. Rest assured. Sooner or later you will receive 💐 🌷 🌹 again.
Merci beaucoup Brian 😊.
De rien chère amie. Bonne semaine.
This makes me think of spring, flowers and birds! Loved your picture with the daffodils. Have you every visited the park in Liverpool where the entire park is planted with daffodils? It’s several acres and quite spectacular!
I haven’t visited that park in Liverpool but we have a village near where I grew up called Whitegates and they have a daffodil walk in the Spring which is beautiful. The next time I’m in Liverpool in the Spring I will remember your tip.
PS Eli is now into Bach! He’s not walking but sits there and wiggles to the music.
I love Bach; George plays it a lot but I don’t sing much of his repertoire, I must fix that one day. I love to see children listening to classical music something I didn’t do much of other than in ballet class, the ballet teacher had a pianist to come and play in class which was fabulous.
I like Liszt’s music very much and you sing so beautifully, Charlotte!
Thank you Clare I’ve been keen to keep up my practice during lockdown, so fortunate to have George to play for me.
I should have thought of listening to you sing while reading your posts, before this.
I quite like your vision/interpretation.
Me, I see the dream of love; I am in my lovers arms, we float to the music, we fall and land in a bed of flowers, their perfume bathes us.
Sweet scent of perfection.
Now that is just dreamy. Beautiful. Make it happen.
It is the piano that I notice, rippling through the sung line. Lovely!
Thank you Hilary. We have been working on our duo material a lot during lockdown we are hoping to get more concerts together in the future.
I think that is why George enjoys accompanying on these songs so much.