Jeux de femmes
Coloratura soprano and flute
Six erotic poems by Paul Verlaine
Duration : 19’
First performance on 22nd November 1989 in studio 106 of Maison de Radio-France in Paris by Liliane Mazeron and Clara Novakova.
Recording : CD Maguelone 350 529 – Liliane Mazeron et Clara Novakova
Who can be remain unmoved by the sad languor breaking through the apparent frivolity of these verse cycle Verlaine calls Les Amies (Girlfriends) ? Wit hits delicate picturesque, turbulent phrases, the view the poet gives of these feminine loves is both tender and troubled, yet restrained and full of a sweet and shadowed nostalgia.
Two women’s voices bring to life these innocent and crazily sensuous caresses ; one with words and the other without, and therefore even more united in the vibrant pleasure of their loving arabesques.
Intense, eyes sunken and breasts taut,
Sappho, driven by languorous desire,
Like a she-wolf haunts the frozen shore.
She dreams of Phaon, forgetful of the lyre,
And, finding that her tears are still disdained
Tears her long hair in handfuls once again;
Then she evokes, with endless remorse,
The days when youth’s fire shed its purity
Over verse singing love, soul’s memory
Repeats to slumbering virgins evermore:
And see how her pallid eyelids’ shudder,
Leaping to the waves, called by the Fates –
While that dark sea Selene illuminates,
The pale Selene who avenges Lovers.
Note: Phaon, a boatman, famed for his beauty, beloved by Sappho; Selene, the Moon-goddess.