Les nuits d'été

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Les nuits d'été (Summer Nights), Op. 7, is a song cycle by the French composer Hector Berlioz. It is a setting of six poems by Théophile Gautier. Berlioz finished composing the songs in 1841. At first they were just for a singer with piano accompaniment. The singer could be either baritone, contralto, or mezzo-soprano. Later Berlioz changed the work, making the voice a soprano and arranging the accompaniment for orchestra. The first song to be orchestrated was L'Absence. He wrote this version for a singer called Marie Recio who went with him on a concert tour of Germany. All six songs were published in their orchestral version in 1856. That is how the work is nearly always performed nowadays. The titles of the songs are:

  1. Villanelle (Villanelle)
  2. Le spectre de la rose (The spectre of the rose)
  3. Sur les lagunes (On the lagoons)
  4. Absence (Absence)
  5. Au cimetière (In the cemetery)
  6. L'île inconnue (The unknown island)

References[change | change source]

  • New Groves Dictionary of Music and Musicians ed. Stanley Sadie (1980); ISBN 1-56159-174-2