Les Roses de Saadi


Les Roses de Saadi - (2015)    

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore

for mezzo soprano and piano

for Sarah Rose Taylor


J'ai voulu ce matin te rapporter des roses;
Mais j'en avais tant pris dans mes ceintures closes
Que les noeuds trop serrés n'ont pu les contenir.

Les noeuds ont éclaté. Les roses envolées
Dans le vent, à la mer s'en sont toutes allées.
Elles ont suivi l'eau pour ne plus revenir.

La vague en a paru rouge et comme enflammée.
Ce soir, ma robe encore en est toute embaumée . . .
Respires-en sur moi l'odorant souvenir.

[ 2 pages, circa 1' 45" ]

Marceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)


I would have brought you roses this morning;
But I put so many in the sash of my gown
That the taut bows could not keep them all.

The sash bows split. The roses blew away
In the wind, and all were borne to the sea,
To the water, never to return.

The wave looked red as if in flames.
This night, my dress is still perfumed....
Savor through me this fragrant memory.

paraphrase of the composer



A simple song form as the slow harmonic rhythm underpins a melody to follow the chord structures. From the morning tale, the moment remembering it and inviting the lingering scent in the dress leaves the natural diatonic for more sensual harmonies, before a return to the tale. The title references a Persian poet from centuries ago, as art joins across centuries. Aside from the friendship with the mezzo for whom this small chanson is composed, the poet, Marceline Desbordes-Valmore, performed at the Theater de la Monnaie, where I too had performed on a number of occasions. Memories and connections, across days, across centuries...




The score for Les Roses de Saadi 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.


Les Roses de Saadi

8 1/2 x 11 edition