Throughout Gabriel Fauré’s 1879 song, Le Secret, serene, hypnotically repeating chords in the piano toll like an immortal bell. We drift into a detached dreamscape which seems to anticipate the final, time-altering movement of Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.
The song’s text is a setting of Paul-Armand Silvestre’s poem, Mystère, from the collection, Le pays des roses (1882). Its three stanzas blur the lines between dawn, day, and night. A sense of transcendental mystery is captured in Fauré’s music. It suggests the simplicity, inevitability, and lament we often hear in Schubert’s songs.
Here is a performance by the American soprano, Barbara Bonney, and pianist Warren Jones:
- Fauré: Le Secret, Op. 23, No. 3, Barbara Bonney, Warren Jones Amazon
Photograph: Haystacks, End of Summer (1890), Claude Monet