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I'm searching for an english translation of Berlioz Les Nuit...

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Question by Thomas
Submitted on 6/28/2003
Related FAQ: FAQ: rec.music.classical
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I'm searching for an english translation of Berlioz Les Nuit d'ete

Answer by Bruce
Submitted on 11/5/2003
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Hi Thomas

At http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/merge.cgi?72. Or any CD with a decent booklet.

Caution: sometimes publishers of booklets etc use existing verse translations which pull around the original to get rhymes and metrics in English. The most useful kind of translation for a listener is plain, and as much as possible laid out in the word order of the original. That way we can hear how the composer has treated the word.

In the online English version, stanza one of Villanelle goes like this:

When verdant spring again approaches,
When winter's chills have disappeared,
Through the woods we shall stroll, my darling,
The fair primrose to cull at will.

Here's a plain version for comparison:

When comes in the new season
When have disappeared the frosts
Together we will go my beautiful one
To pick the lily of the valley in the woods.

Look at the last lines of the two versions. The flower in Fr is 'muguet' = lily of the valley. But that doesn't fit the music! So the translator alters it to 'primrose'.

Moral: if a translated lyric doesn't read like any English you've ever seen, it's probably trustworthy.



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