Trois mélodies, Op.7 (Fauré)
Trois mélodies is a set of mélodies for solo voice and piano, by Gabriel Fauré. It is composed of "Après un rêve" (Op. 7, No. 1), one of Faure's most popular vocal pieces, "Hymne" (Op. 7, No. 2), and "Barcarolle" (Op. 7, No. 3). The songs were written between 1870 and 1877, and published in 1878. They were not, however, originally conceived together as a set of three; the opus number 7 was imposed on them retrospectively in the 1890s, almost 20 years after their first publications.
"Après un rêve"
In Après un rêve (originally published in 1878), a dream of romantic flight with a lover, away from the earth, and "towards the light" is described. However, on waking to the truth the dreamer longs to return to the "mysterious night" and the ecstatic falsehood of his dream. The text of the poem is an anonymous Italian poem freely adapted into French by Romain Bussine.
Dans un sommeil que charmait ton image
Tu m'appelais et je quittais la terre
Hélas! Hélas! triste réveil des songes
Reviens, reviens radieuse,
"Hymne" is set to a poem by Charles Baudelaire. The meaning of the text in "Hymne" is vague to those not aware of Baudelaire's ongoing theme of paradox (as the meaning is quite apparent in his other works): the spirituality of what is sensual and the sensuality of what is sanctified. Fauré's setting of the text centers subtly around this idea. "Hymne", just like "Après un rêve", retains an ethereal mood. The unchanged harmonic motion after "Forever hail!" indicates the entrance to the untroubled world of spirituality. After the word "sel" which literally means salt but in this case refers figuratively to something engaging, the harmony begins to change. Under a soft, but highly chromatic piano line the stanza about "incorruptible love" brings the song to a dramatic climax. After this stint, the piece returns to its tranquil state; however, the piece does end with the melody's tonic note and the piano's leading tone clashing for a stunning effect. The phrase "Sachet toujours frais...travers la nuit" is omitted by Faure.