Vote for me!
- Thursday 23 February Hours 20.00
- Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista
- Entertainment Music Theather
THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23 AT 8 PM
SCUOLA GRANDE SAN GIOVANNI EVANGELISTA
Vote for me!
Louis XIV and Napoleon understood very well just how effective music – and especially the popular genres of chanson, opéra-comique and operetta – could be as weapons of political propaganda. It comes as no surprise that the nineteenth century, which saw so many conflicting regimes succeeding each other, should offer an almost infinite repertory of satirical or demagogic pieces on the theme of elections and sovereignty. This recital, Votez pour moi!, invites the listener to witness the exercise of rhetoric, popular complaint and deceitful manipulation. Any resemblance to persons living or dead will, of course, be purely coincidental.
The origins of the political song are closely intertwined with those of politics themselves. Its expansion in the nineteenth century was made possible by the diffusion of inexpensive editions and arrangements of all sorts. The multiplication of venues for concerts – or rather for popular oratory (notably the caf’conc’ of Montmartre) – facilitated the development of a genre with two faces: the political chanson oscillated between propaganda and protest, devotion and calumny. Accompanied on the piano or by larger instrumental forces (often improvised, and sometimes very original), the chansonnier expounded on topics drawn from current events in easily memorised melodies and irresistibly catchy refrains.
The structure of the chanson was governed by strophic form: the text, sometimes extremely long, was divided into three, four, even as many as ten verses (couplets), very often with a punch-line that systematically brought the listener back to the song’s main topic. Of course, bawdy double entendres were much in favour with the lyric writers, and some serious or tender songs in fact incorporate an elaborate second degree of meaning. Indeed, the virtuosity of this repertory lies in its literary component rather than in the uncomplicated melodic line and accompaniment. Nevertheless, composers of ‘art song’ did not hesitate to set texts by Béranger, for example, as witness Lalo’s Le Vieux Vagabond with its strikingly socialistic sentiments.
The success of the political chanson soon outgrew the intimate surroundings of meetings in cafes. Composers began to introduce it into large-scale works: whereas the traditional opéra-comique preferred the innocuous salon romance (‘Connais-tu le pays’ from Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon or the ‘Berceuse’ from Godard’s Jocelyn), the operetta and the opéra-bouffe chose the chanson, as with Clairette’s number in Lecocq’s La Fille de Madame Angot (specifically entitled ‘Chanson politique’) or the ‘Couplets du diplomate’ in Offenbach’s Le Roi Carotte. This type of piece, initially applauded on the stage, swiftly joined the café-concert repertory in suitably adapted versions and was heard in instrumental arrangements both in the bandstands of public parks and on the barrel organ in the middle of the boulevard.
We tend to think more readily of the caustic and campaigning side of the political chanson, but it would be wrong to overlook the sentimentalising repertory dealing with the themes of poverty, abandonment and solitude. Society’s rejects could recognise their plight in the sometimes tear-jerking romances of men like Boileau (‘Quand on n’a pas le sou’) and Béranger (‘Le Suicide’). Such unfortunates found consolation in the strains of edifying chansons with strong religious connotations or in those featuring courageous and resolute national figures. Joan of Arc was the most celebrated of these, and became a particular inspiration after France’s defeat in the war of 1870. Her origins in eastern France then came to resonate with the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and the redrawing of the frontier with the Prussian Empire. Joan even became the subject of the cantata for the Prix de Rome competition of 1871, which was won by Serpette, a future master of operetta . . .
La Clique des Lunaisiens and VOTEZ POUR MOI!
Making memory sing: with his ensemble La Clique des Lunaisiens, Arnaud Marzorati offers audiences an opportunity to (re)discover French chanson, from its origins to the twentieth century.
In exploring this repertory, too often left to lie neglected in libraries, the baritone and keen aficionado of literature brings back to life the first text-oriented chansons in history. These works are precious documents of the past, of the human adventure and teeming musical life unique to each era.
Tragic or playful, learned or inventive, French chanson can instruct, move, and stimulate curiosity. Drawing on a literature that ranges from the world of childhood to that of adulthood, it touches every public, thereby revealing its potential as a communicator, as the guardian of a noble popular poetry that sings to our ears and our souls.
In exploring this popular vocal heritage and stepping outside the traditional concert framework, La Clique des Lunaisiens has endeavoured for nearly ten years now to give audiences a greater understanding of history and literature in its productions.
With VOTEZ POUR MOI!, commissioned by the Palazzetto Bru Zane in 2016, the ensemble of three singers and three instrumentalists relishes a ludicescapade in the world of politics!
A toast will follow, kindly offered by the Cantine Anese Colle di Valdobbiadene
Flannan Obé director
Lara Neumann soprano (France)
Ingrid Perruche soprano (The feminist candidate)
Arnaud Marzorati baritono (The conjurer politician)
LA CLIQUE DES LUNAISIENS
Mélanie Flahaut : flute, flageolet, bassoon
Isabelle Saint-Yves : cello
Daniel Isoir : piano
Information and booking: +39 041 52 11 005 - email@example.com - BRU-ZANE.COM
Price: students and people aged under 28 years old: 5,00 euro - full price: 20,00 euro - concession: 16,00 euro*