soprano - pno - vln.vla.vlc


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Programme Notes

David Matthews 'L'invitation au voyage', for soprano and piano quartet, op.90

It was with some trepidation that I decided not only to set one of the best known poems in the French language but also, inevitably, to risk comparisons with Duparc's own superlative setting. My own piece, however, is substantially different, being not simply a song but rather a kind of extended fantasy in which the instruments play as important a role as the voice. After an introduction for piano quartet, the three verses of the poem are accompanied only by the strings: the first verse by violin alone, the second verse by violin and viola, and the third by string trio. The vocal writing is often elaborate, particularly in the second verse where Baudelaire describes the extravagant furnishings of his dream house. Knowing that Julia Gooding is a baroque specialist encouraged me in some decorative extravagancies of my own. The verses are separated by interludes for piano quartet, which reflect on the words just heard, and there is an extended postlude which incorporates the final setting of the famous refrain 'Luxe, calme et volupté' (the only moment in the piece where all five musicians come together) and, at the very end, a repetition of the opening line. There is a sense at the end, I hope, that the voyage the poem promises has begun. L'invitation au voyage was commissioned by Association A Tempo for the St Nazaire Festival, and was composed between May and August this year.

© David Matthews

L'invitation au voyage

No Venue (Saint-Nazaire, Pays de la Loire, France)

Jennifer Morsches/Julia Gooding/Philippe Graffin/Roger Chase/Susan Manoff