The World's most beautiful music: Baïlèro from Canteloube's Chants d'Auvergne

>> Saturday, May 17, 2008


I first encountered this enchanting piece of music several years ago when I bought a CD of various arias and art songs sung by Kiri Te Kaniwa. The first time I listened to it I thought it to be the most heavenly music I'd ever heard.

Marie-Joseph Canteloube de Malaret (21 October 1879 - November 4, 1957), was a French composer. Canteloube was born in Annonay, Ardèche and died at Grigny, Essonne, a part of the Île-de-France region.

He is best known for his collection of orchestrated folk songs from the Auvergne region, Chants d'Auvergne ("Songs of the Auvergne"). Canteloube himself believed that "les chants paysans s’élèvent bien souvent au niveau de l’art le plus pur, par le sentiment et l’expression, sinon par la forme" ("peasant songs often rise to the level of purest art in terms of feeling and expression, if not in form").

Canteloube studied music in Paris under Amélie Daetzer, a former pupil of Chopin. He also studied composition under Vincent d'Indy. His first composition, Colloque sentimental, dates from 1903. His other works include the operas Le Mas and Vercingétorix. In 1925, he founded La Bourrée, an association whose aim was to promote the Auvergne. In 1941, during the Nazi occupation of France, Canteloube joined the Vichy government, an action that has been attributed to political naiveté.

As well as collecting and arranging traditional folk songs, Canteloube wrote extensively on the subject of music. His works include biographies of his former teacher, Vincent d'Indy, and of Déodat de Séverac.

Information source: Wikipedia

This version features Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, and has the English translation of the French text at the bottom of the screen.




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