It was to her teacher Henri Busser, professor of counterpoint at the Conservatoire de Paris, that young composer and organist Henriette Roget (1910-1992) dedicated, in 1934, the Four French Ballads, composed to the poetry of Paul Fort (1872-1960). Nicknamed “the northern cicada” by Mistral, this friend of Verlaine, Mallarmé and Apollinaire began his career as a symbolist playwright at the Théâtre des Arts before deciding to focus exclusively on poetry. His French Ballads mingled popular feeling, creative fantasy and rhythmic elasticity – an alliance that would inspire musicians as diverse as Honegger, Caplet and Brassens. Roget detested works of bravura and bombastic grandiloquence; Paul Fort’s verse provided fertile material for her inclination toward sincerity, spontaneity and unembellished lyricism. In “Le Bonheur”, “Il nous faut aimer sur terre”, “Si le bon dieu l’avait voulu” and “Le Diable dans la nuit”, the music translates the beating of hearts and the vibrations of light with a delicacy and a naturalness that brush the very depths of the soul. Through each of these pure crystals, a precious gift shines: the art of suggestion.
- II. Il nous faut aimer sur terre
- III. Si le bon dieu l’avait voulu
- IV. Le Diable dans la nuit