The Music of the Night

>> Sunday, January 16, 2011

While listening to Bill McLaughlin on his daily Exploring Music radio program, I was inspired by a week-long series he did that featured music that's subject was "the night". It was an interesting and beautiful series, so I thought I would create my own series here using some of the same music he featured as well as some of my own choosing. Thanks for the inspiration, Bill!

Today I feature the Barcarolle from Les contes d'Hoffmann.

Time flies by, and carries away
our tender caresses for ever!
Time flies far from this happy oasis
and does not return.
Burning zephyrs,
embrace us with your caresses!
Burning zephyrs,
give us your kisses!
Your kisses! Your kisses! Ah!

Lovely night, oh night of love,
smile upon our joys!
Night much sweeter than the day,
oh beautiful night of love!
Ah! Smile upon our joys!
Night of love, oh night of love!


Jasper January 17, 2011 at 12:05 AM  

This Offenbach is one of my all time favorite musical pieces! (And, not so coincidentally, one of the greatest ever conceived.) This and Mozart's Zauberflotte duet are the stuff of angels.

Benigni hijacked this one very savvily to real shmulzy effect in his La Vita e Bella.

Much deeper was the use of the Mozart in that wonderfully crucial scene in Shawshank. What better authorial instrument by which to show the audience that there is in them something sacred, a soul that no oppressor can touch, the consciousness of which could elevate Andy D. above his peers & past his tormentors, keeping him pure through "a mile" (and twenty years) of the worst conceivable slime...?

This Offenbach too. Simply angelic, these soprano duets. And perfect to celebrate our transition back to sanity. Yes, thank God the holiday season is over. It seems I'm no Andy; any more carolling saturating the radio & elevators, and I mighta just've lost it....

Lynette January 17, 2011 at 6:22 AM  

Thanks, Jasper. I'm glad you approve of my selection this time. (Oh, and I found it absolutely thrilling to have my seasonal line-up compared to elevator music.)

Jasper January 23, 2011 at 12:25 PM  

Goes with the territory. Start a blog, and grinches will come! :^)

Jasper January 23, 2011 at 12:41 PM  

"The most famous number in [Les Contes d'Hoffmann] is the 'Barcarolle' (Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour), which is performed in Act 2. Curiously, the aria was not written by Offenbach with Les contes d'Hoffmann in mind. He wrote it as the 'Elves’ Song' in the opera Die Rheinnixen (Les fées du Rhin), which premiered in Vienna on February 8, 1864. Offenbach died with Les contes d'Hoffmann unfinished. Ernest Guiraud completed the scoring and wrote the recitatives for the premiere. He also incorporated this excerpt from one of Offenbach's earlier, long-forgotten operas into the new opera." -Wikipedia

Jasper January 23, 2011 at 11:37 PM  

If all art is some form of theft, then Hollywood is a rapaciously thieving gypsy. This song is good proof that art is all in the presentation: True sisterly musical beauty can so easily be twisted into some asinine hipster hoof pounding.
Warning: If you adore this aria, beware the last link above; had you thought to erase distinctions between high/low art, it's enough to make any musical lover into an instant & permanent snob.


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