Demain, dès l'aube - (2006)   

Victor Hugo

for bass baritone and piano


pour Jean Teitgen avec mon admiration

Demain, dès l'aube, à l'heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m'attends.
J'irai par la forêt, j'irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l'or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j'arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

from Les contemplations

[ 4 pages, circa 3' 55" ]


Victor Hugo

Tomorrow, at dawn, at the hour when the countryside is alit,
I will leave. See here, you know what I must do.
I will go through the forest, I will go across the mountain.
I will not remain far from you for long.

I will trudge on with eyes fixed on my thoughts,
Without seeing what it outside of me, without hearing any noise,
Alone, unknown, bent, with crossed hands,
Sad, and the day will be for me as night.

I will not notice either the golden sunset as night falls,
Nor the distant mist which descends over Harfleur,
And when I arrive, I will place on your grave
A bouquet of holly and heather in bloom.

As the mourner must cross mountains and through forests with but a constant grief as his companion, the chords which form the accompaniment are few, dreary and repetitive, altered merely in their voicing. The vocal line begins at its height and descends without stopping to the lowest in the tessitura, before rising again, and the treatment of the strophes is the generally same, for such is the experience of relentless grief.

Jean Teitjen

The song is written for Jean Teitgen, a wonderful bass baritone from Normandy, who sang a warm and lyrical Philebos in Der König Kandaules. Having watched his work in rehearsals and performances alike, it was a necessity to compose this for him. The choice of Hugo's text was his, offered without hesitation which demonstrated his admiration for this poem. I wish him much success in his career as singer and actor.

The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.

 

Demain, dès l'aube