René Damen - Chamber Music
 
La Chanson de l'Amour Fol - Duet for Piano & Oboe in 3 movements - (2019 - duration 10:04)

 

Inspired by Jacques Brels's "La Chanson Des Vieux Amants"
Recorded at the Corthell Hall, USM School of Music, November 26, 2019 (Thank you, Lori!)
Performers: Josie DiPhilippo, Piano and Aaron Emerson, Oboe

Intrigued by the Flemish / French singer Jacques Brel ever since I was 15, by his personality, his raw and driven performance style and the lyrics to his chansons, one song stands out for me in particular: La Chanson Des Vieux Amants. It kept me spellbound for decades, as I attempted to decipher the meaning behind its gripping lyrics.

For this duet, specifically written for the gifted oboist Aaron Emerson, I borrowed three significant quotes from the song as my inspiration for, and the interpretation of the subject matter as I finally came to see it. The quotes serve as the titles of the movements.

René

  • I. Chambre Sans Berceau
  • II. Éclats Des Vieilles Tempêtes (starts at 3:10)
  • III. Je t'aime Encore, Tu Sais, Je t'aime (starts at 6:48)

WATCH LIVE PERFORMANCE ON YouTube.

La Chanson Picture 1

I. Chambre Sans Berceau (Room without crib)

The relationship between two people-in-love is challenged and tested, causing anguish and friction, when their marriage remains childless. Blame and guilt slowly drives a wedge between them, despite attempts to hang on to their committed love.
La Chanson Picture 1

II. Éclats Des Vieilles Tempêtes (Shards of old storms)

After twenty years the echos of raging old storms are still audible and shards of broken dreams still visible in the corners of that room. But every now and then, when the taste for fighting is lost, a clear and hopeful tune can be heard ringing throughout the house.
La Chanson Picture 1

III. Je t'aime Encore, Tu Sais, Je t'aime (I still love you, you know, I love you)

Despite decades of resentment, neglect and infidelities, in the end the love survives; though un-passionate and non-exuberant, as a given it persists, pure and simple, as on the beat of a slow, never-ending three-step dance between two kindred souls.

 
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