Mudcat Café message #1547902 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13384   Message #1547902
Posted By: Don Firth
23-Aug-05 - 04:21 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Plaisir d'Amour
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Plaisir d'Amour
In sung French, often a normally silent "e" at the end of a word is sung, although not particularly emphasized. Voici:   "TOUT-uh."

Just on the off chance that someone might be interested, Richard Dyer-Bennet recorded this on his own label, record #1, using his own excellent and reasonably literal translation from the French.

One of the things that seems to be confusing to a lot of folkies about this song is the Joan Baez recording of it. She sang the chorus of Martini's original art song, and then, to the same tune as the chorus, sang a new set of words as verses, interspersing it with the words of the chorus again—basic strophic folk song structure, which is not the way the original was written. In the original (and unlike most folk songs, with this ditty there is an original that can be referred to), it starts with the chorus. Then the first verse is to a different tune. Then the chorus again. Then a second verse in yet another tune (minor). And back to the chorus again. The Dyer-Bennet translation:
The joys of love are but a moment long;
The pain of love endures a whole life long.

I gave up all for cruel Sylvia.
She gave me up and has taken another love.

The joys of love are but a moment long;
The pain of love endures a whole life long.

"Just as that stream ever flows toward the sea
"Beside the garden wall and over the meadow;
"So I will always be true," thus often spoke Sylvia.
Still flows the stream, but she has changed her mind.

The joys of love are but a moment long;
The pain of love endures a whole life long.
On the recording, Dyer-Bennet's guitar accompaniment is a shining example of how classic guitar can not just accompany a song, but be fully integrated with it. For those who are turned off by Dyer-Bennet's "artsy" approach to singing folk songs and ballads (incidentally, he never called himself a folk singer—in fact, he often said that he was most definitely not a folk singer, so it's really unfair to criticize him on that basis), remember that Plaisir d'Amour is an art song. Dyer-Bennet is really in his element with this song. If you can get your hands on the record, or the CD reissued by Smithsonian-Folkways, give it a listen. In addition to his guitar work, listen to his phrasing and where he breathes—or where he doesn't breathe—as he sings the song. Amazing!

Don Firth