“Dirait-on” – Pronunciation/Translation
January 12, 2009
This blog entry contains:
- New and revised Pronunciation Guide – Version 2!
- Audio MP3 file of the spoken pronunciation from the Guide.
- Note from the composer
- Song #5
. . .
Pronunciation Guide – Version 2 (document)
Click >>Dirait-on Pronunciation – Ver. 2<< to download (Word document format).
I have made several corrections that more accurately adapt to the French as it should be sung.
Audio MP3 – Pronunciation
You can listen and practice to a recording of the spoken French / IPA pronunciation. It is easy to become confused about what you have learned in class. This recording should help clear up any mispronunciations and forgetfulness.
Click here for the audio file.
The text of Dirait-on is from a French poem by the same name:
Abandon entouré d’abandon,
tendresse touchant aux tendresses…
C’est ton intérieur qui sans cesse
se caresse, dirait-on;
se caresse en soi-même,
par son propre reflet éclairé.
Ainsi tu inventes le thème
du Narcisse exaucé.
– Rainer Maria Rilke
English Translation (from the published music)
Abandon surrounding abandon,
Tenderness touching tenderness…
Your oneness endlessly
Caresses itself, so they say;
Through its own clear reflection.
Thus you invent the theme
of Narcissus* fulfilled.
(Translation by Barbara and Erica Muhl)
Alternate English translation:
Abandon enveloping abandon,
Tenderness brushing tendernesses,
Who you are sustains you
eternally, so they say;
Your very being is nourished
by its own enlightened reflection;
so you compose the theme
of Narcissus* redeemed.
(This alternate version is a bit less literal and conveys more artfully and contextually the meaning of the entire quatrain rather than a word-by-word translation.)
Note From the Composer
The following text is found in the published music and are comments from the composer himself:
In addition to his vast output of German poetry, Rilke (1875-1926) wrote nearly 400 poems in French. His French poems on roses struck me as especially charming, filled with gorgeous lyricism, deftly crafted and elegant in their imagery. These exquisite poem are primarily light, joyous and playful and the musical settings are designed to enhance these chracteristics and capture their delicate beauty and sensuousness. Distinct melodic and harmonic materials recur throughout the cycle, especially between Rilke’s poignant Contre Qui, Rose (set as a wistful nocturne) and his moving La Rose Complète. The final piece, Dirait-on, is composed as a tuneful chason populaire, or folksong, that weaves together two melodic ideas first heard in fragmentary form in the preceding movements.
Les Chansons des Roses was composed for Portland, Oregon’s superb professional chamber chorus, Choral Cross-Ties, conducted by Bruce Browne, who have the premiere on April 23, 1993.
Dirait-on is published in versions for mixed chorus (SATB), men’s chorus (TTBB) and treble chorus. It also exists as a song for high or medium voice and piano, high voice and guitar, and as a duet for mixed high and medium voices and piano.
- Les Chansons des Roses (1993) (settings of poems by Rainer Maria Rilke)
- I. En Une Seule Fleur
- II. Contre Qui, Rose
- III. De Ton Rêve Trop Plein
- IV. La Rose Complète
- V. Dirait-on
As you can see, Dirait-on is the fifth and final song of a cycle of 5 songs. Often, all 5 songs are performed in order as a complete work.
From the Wikipedia entry for “Morten Lauridsen”:
The music of Morten Johannes Lauridsen, composer-in-residence of the Los Angeles Master Chorale from 1994-2001 and professor of composition at the University of Southern California (USC) Thornton School of Music for more than thirty years, occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the Twentieth Century.
His works have been recorded on over a hundred CDs, three of which have received Grammy nominations.
A recipient of numerous grants, prizes and commissions, Dr. Lauridsen chaired the Composition department at the USC Thornton School of Music from 1990-2002, founded the Shool’s Advanced Studies Program in Film Scoring, and is currently Distinguished Professor of Composition. In 2006, Morten Lauridsen was named an “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2007, he was the recipient of the National Medal of Arts from the President in a White House ceremony, “for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide.” The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.
* In classical mythology, Narcissus was a young man who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water and wasted away from unsatisfied desire, eventually dying, whereupon he was transformed into the flower (known by the same name).