Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Berlioz, Les Nuits d'été. Janet Baker.n°6. L'ile inconnue


Text: Pierre-Jules-Théophile Gautier (1811-1872)

L'ile inconnue/
The unknown isle

Say, young beauty,
Where do you wish to go?
The sail swells itself,
The breeze will blow.
The oar is made of ivory,
The flag is of silk,
The helm is of fine gold;
I have for ballast an orange,
For a sail, the wing of an angel,
For a deck boy, a seraph.

Say, young beauty,
Where do you wish to go?
The sail swells itself,
The breeze will blow.

Is it to the Baltic?
To the Pacific Ocean?
To the island of Java?
Or is it well to Norway,
To gather the flower of the snow,
Or the flower of Angsoka?
Say, young beauty,
Where do you wish to go?
Lead me, says the beauty,
To the faithful shore
Where one loves always!
This shore, my darling,
We hardly know at all
In the land of Love.

4 comments:

abackst1 said...

I'll go to this unknown isle! How can you not get swept up in this exuberant outburst? The precision and clarity in Baker's performance is great.

Matthew said...

I enjoy the romantic imagery of nature concluding this work. For some reason this last movement doesn't fit for me. Mainly because of it's naive, optimistic nature. I enjoy the musical and poetic imagery very much but it seems to under mind the other movements. I may be thinking too egocentrically, because I think if I would have taken this journey, my revelation would have been different. Maybe speaking of the pain that was endured and saying that I will continue to love. Something more consistent.

Sheerya said...

Just reading the poem gave me chills before I even watched the video! What marvelous words and sentiments! I thoroughly enjoyed Berlioz's musical setting, which seemed completely natural. You cannot watch this video without smiling and feeling happy yourself.

Ed Lein said...

Newly translated for program notes for a concert I'm hosting May 26: http://mainconcerts.blogspot.com/2009/05/526-615-pm-anne-elise-richie.html --I think I'm finished with the translation now, but any further revision will be reflected on the concert blog page...
(English version ©2009, by Edward Lein -- please notify/credit if reprinting)

The Unknown IslandTell me, my dear young thing,
Where might you wish to go?
The sail unfurls its wing,
The breeze begins to blow!


The oar’s made of ivory
The flag of silk moiré,
A golden helm most fine;
For ballast I have oranges,
For sails, the wings of angels,
For shipmate, a seraphim.

Tell me, my dear young thing,
Where might you wish to go?
The sail unfurls its wing,
The breeze begins to blow!


Might it be the Baltic?
Or the wide Pacific?
To the Isle of Java?
Or to Norway might we go
To cull flowers in the snow,
Or a bloom from Angsoka?

Tell me, my dear young thing,
Where might you wish to go?


“Carry me,” said the beauty,
“To that shore where truly
We’ll find eternal love.”
--That certain shore, my dear,
Is rarely known, I fear,
In the realm of love.

Where might you wish to go?
The breeze begins to blow!