Gabriel Fauré

Le Papillon et la Fleur, song for voice & piano in C major, Op. 1/1

    Description by Jeremy Grimshaw

    Le papillon et la fleur (The Butterfly and the Flower) dates from very early in the career of Gabriel Fauré and was, in fact, his first published composition (Op. 1/1, 1965). The song, or mélodie, as Fauré took to calling them, is clearly a skillful rendering of Victor Hugo's poignantly quaint poem, but follows largely after the Germanic style of mid-century and only hints at Fauré's later, more languorous style. The poem depicts the amorous entreaties of a flower to the butterfly that visits it, the former bemoaning how widely the latter roams free, untethered by roots in the soil, visiting countless other flowers. The poem unrolls in a singsong manner, with clear rhyme and meter, suggesting a similarly straightforward setting. Fauré is thus limited in the extent to which any particular sentiment or feature of the text can find resonance with the music, although his simple strophic structure is certainly not lacking in charm. Indeed, the sturdy bassline underscoring the melody and the cascading figure in the right hand that serves as an interlude between strophes aptly conveys the coy romantic humor of the poet's transparent metaphor. Fauré's later mélodie, of course, become more harmonically complex, structurally varied, and intellectually engaging, but not necessarily more endearing.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Signum Classics SIGCD 427
    2015 BIS BIS 2102
    2014 Solo Musica SM 208
    2014 OSJ Alive OSJCD 01
    2012 Warner Classics
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099909442
    2011 Decca
    2010 Barbara LeMay
    2009 Versluis, D.E. 1030
    2008 EMI Classics 2292152
    2008 EMI Classics 501759
    2008 Sony BMG 732231
    2006 Decca 4757984
    2005 Hyperion 67336
    2005 Decca 4756302
    2003 Challenge Records 72117
    2002 Ambroisie 9921
    2000 Forlane 16760
    2000 Bellavoce 107008
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 1951138
    2000 EMI Music Distribution / Erato 7243545360
    1999 CRD Records 3477
    1998 Orfeo D'Or 492981
    1993 RCA Victor 9026614272
    1993 Hyperion 66320
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 1901138
    Well-Tempered Productions 5163
    Proprius-AudioSource 9996
    Music Chamber
    Wigmore Hall Live 31