Gabriel Fauré

Gabriel Fauré
  • Two Pieces
  • (1) Cantique de Jean Racine
  • (2) Pavane
(1) Cantique de Jean Racine
Written by the composer when he was nineteen years old !

Performed by the Choir of New College, Oxford.
Conducted by Edward Higginbottom.
Lyrics by Jean-Baptiste Racine.

Verbe, égal au Très-Haut, notre unique espérance,
Jour éternel de la terre et des cieux;
De la paisible nuit nous rompons le silence,
Divin Sauveur, jette sur nous les yeux!

Répands sur nous le feu de ta grâce puissante,
Que tout l’enfer fuie au son de ta voix;
Dissipe le sommeil d’une âme languissante,
Qui la conduit à l’oubli de tes lois!

O Christ, sois favorable à ce peuple fidèle
Pour te bénir maintenant rassemblé.
Reçois les chants qu’il offre à ta gloire immortelle,
Et de tes dons qu’il retourne comblé!

English Translation:

Word, equal to the Almighty, our only hope,
Eternal light of the earth and the Heavens;
We break the peaceful night’s silence,
Divine Saviour, cast thine eyes upon us!

Spread the fire of thy mighty grace upon us.
May the entire hell flee at the sound of your voice;
Disperse from any slothful soul the drowsiness
Inducing it to forget your laws!

O Christ, look with favour upon this faithful people
Which has now gathered to bless you.
Receive its singing, offered to your immortal glory,
And may it leave with the gifts you have bestowed upon it.

(2) Pavane

The rhythm of Fauré’s Pavane is based on a processional Spanish court dance of the same name. Fauré dedicated this piece to his patron Elisabeth comtesse Greffulhe an inspiration for the duchesse de Guermantes in Marcel Proust’s novel À la recherche du temps perdu. The lyrics were written by Robert de Montesquiou who inspired another character the Baron de Charlus in the same novel. One can hear the same elegant pacing in Maurice Ravel’s Pavane.

English Translation

Lyrics by Robert de Montesquiou

It’s Lindor! It’s Tircis! and all our vanquishers!
It’s Myrtil! It’s Lydia! The queens of our hearts!
How they provoke us! How they are always so proud!
How they dare to control our destinies and our days!
Pay attention! Observe the beat!
O the mortal injury! The cadence is slower!
The fall more certain! We shall beat back their cackles!
We will soon be their stooges!
They are so ugly! Such darling little faces!
They are so foolish! (Such coquettish airs!)

And it’s always the same, and so it shall always be!
We love them! We hate them! We speak ill of their loves!
Farewell, Myrtil! Egle! Chloe! mocking demons!
So it is farewell and good day to the tyrants of our hearts!
And good day!