Baudelaire’s famous invocation, ‘L’Invitation au voyage’, is the theme for this programme of transcriptions of melodies and Lieder for choir accompanied by piano.
We know that romanticism—with Schubert, Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, up to Hugo Wolf—owes to Lied culture the blending of music and poetry that transfigures a popular element into highest art. But the same applies in French melody, which, with figures such as Gounod, Duparc, Fauré and Debussy, created a constellation of extraordinary subtlety, quite literally renewing the perception of the poetic heritage. The ‘lyrical me’ of the voice, which the piano accompanies as a character in its own right, do more than elevate the poetry of Baudelaire, Verlaine, Hugo, and so many others: they profoundly reinvent the meaning, bringing forth hidden virtualities. This almost magical operation is further enhanced by the transcription, which transposes the eternal appeal of melody and Lied to the scale of a choir, with its rich sound, uniform yet contrasted sections, and changing spatiality.