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  • Salut printemps! (C. Debussy)

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Salut printemps, jeune saison

Salut printemps, jeune saison
Dieu rend aux plaines leur couronne
La sève ardente qui bouillonne
S’épanche et brise sa prison
Bois et champs sont en floraison.

Un monde invisible bourdonne
L’eau sur le caillou qui résonne
Court et dit sa claire chanson

Salut printemps, jeune saison
Dieu rend aux plaines leur couronne
La sève ardent qui bouillonne
S’épanche et brise sa prison

Le genet dore la colline
Sur le vert gazon l’aubépine
Verse la neige de ses fleurs
Tout est fraicheur, Amour, lumière
Et du sein fécond de la terre
Montent des chants et des senteurs.

Salut printemps, jeune saison
Dieu rend aux plaines leur couronne
La sève ardente qui bouillonne
S’épanche et brise sa prison
Salut printemps!
Ciao primavera, stagione giovane
Dio restituisce la corona nelle pianure
La linfa infuocata che bolle
Versare e rompere la sua prigione
Boschi e campi sono in fiore.

Un mondo invisibile ronza
L’acqua sulla ghiaia che risuona
Corri e pronuncia la sua canzone chiara

Ciao primavera, stagione giovane
Dio restituisce la corona nelle pianure
La linfa infuocata che bolle
Versare e rompere la sua prigione

Il genet dorato la collina
Sull’erba verde biancospino
Versa la neve dei suoi fiori
Tutto è fresco, amore, luce
E del fertile seno della terra
Canta canzoni e profumi.

Ciao primavera, stagione giovane
Dio restituisce la corona nelle pianure
La linfa infuocata che bolle
Versare e rompere la sua prigione
Ciao primavera!

Salut Printemps

Debussy was 20 years old when he wrote this piece for women’s choir and orchestra. This version features Marius Francois Gaillard’s piano reduction:
Printemps

Here is another early work by Debussy, written in 1885 during the composer’s time in Rome. (He won the Prix de Rome the year before). There are echoes of Wagner. Debussy’s later Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune references Wagner’s famous “Tristan” Chord and then moves into the dreamy territory beyond its long-delayed resolution.

In February, 1887 Debussy offered this description of Printemps:

The idea I had was to compose a work in a very special color which should cover a great range of feelings. It is to be called Printemps, not a descriptive Printemps, but a human one…I should like to express the slow and labored birth of beings and things in nature, their gradual blossoming, and finally the joy of being born into some new life. All this is without a program, for I despise all music that has to follow some literary text that one happens to have got hold of. So you will understand how very suggestive the music will have to be – I am doubtful if I shall be able to do it as I wish.

The original score for orchestra and wordless chorus was lost, with only a piano reduction surviving. This two-movement suite was orchestrated by Henri Büsser in 1912 with Debussy’s assistance. It’s far from the composer’s “mature” work, but fascinating, nonetheless.

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