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. The collection was completed in 1841, and initially composed for tenor, and mezzo-soprano, later arranged for baritone, contralto, or soprano, and piano.[1] Berlioz later gave it full orchestral accompaniment in 1856; almost all modern performances of the piece use the orchestral rather than the piano version.[2][3]

The title of the song collection is a nod to the French title of A Midsummer Night's Dream,[4] by Berlioz's beloved Shakespeare.

Order of the songs[edit]

At first Berlioz had difficulty in deciding on a suitable order for the songs, but he finally settled on the following sequence, which is generally used for performances today, and which places the two liveliest movements at either end:

  1. Villanelle
  2. Le spectre de la rose
  3. Sur les lagunes
  4. Absence
  5. Au cimetière
  6. L'île inconnue

Selective discography[edit]


  1. ^ Gérard, Yves. Page 6 of liner notes to Les nuits d'été, Virgin Classics 7243 5 45422 2 0.
  2. ^ Ellis, Katharine (November 1993). "Reviews of Books: Berlioz Studies (ed. Peter Bloom)". Music & Letters 74 (4): 594–598. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 737596. 
  3. ^ Holoman, D Kern (1993). "The Berlioz Catalogue: History, Structure, Problems, Lessons". Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. T. 34 (Fasc. 3/4): 295–306. doi:10.2307/902284. ISSN 0027-4224. JSTOR 737596. 
  4. ^ L'éducation musicale septembre/octobre 2002


  • Yves Gérard, liner notes to Les nuits d'été by Hector Berlioz, Véronique Gens (soprano), Virgin Classics 7243 5 45422 2 0.
  • Track listing of "Les nuits d'été", Veronique Gens (soprano), Virgin Classics 7243 5 45422 2 0

External links[edit]