Song texts & translations

Francis Poulenc, (1899-1963),

Paganini, Métamorphoses no. 3 (1943)

3. Paganini


Violin seahorse and mermaid

Cradle for hearts, heart and cradle

Marie-Magdalene’s tears

A queen’s sigh*

        Echo*.


Violin pride of deft hands

departure on horseback over water

love riding mystery

Praying thief

         Bird.


Violin morganatic woman

Puss in Boots running through the forest

Wellsprings of lunatic truths

Public confession

          Corset.


Violin the suffering soul’s alcohol

Preference. Evening muscle

Sudden season’s shoulder

Oak leaf

        Mirror.


Violin knight of silence

Plaything escaped from happiness

Bosom of a thousand presences

Pleasure boat

          Hunter.



In Vilmorin’s original poem :

  1. *a queen’s supper

  2. *sob

3. Paganini


Violon hippocampe et sirène
Berceau des coeurs, coeur et berceau
Larmes de Marie-Madeleine
Soupir* d’une Reine
       Écho*.


Violon orgueil des mains légères
Départ à cheval sur les eaux
Amour chevauchant le mystère
Voleur en prière
        Oiseau.


Violon femme morganatique
Chat botté courant la forêt
Puits des vérités lunatiques
Confession publique
        Corset.


Violon alcool de l’âme en peine
Préférence. Muscle du soir
Épaule des saisons soudaines
Feuille de chêne
        Miroir.


Violon chevalier du silence
Jouet évadé du bonheur
Poitrine des mille présences
Bateau de plaisance
        Chasseur.



Dans le poème de Vilmorin :

  1. *Souper d’une Reine

* sanglot




Louise de Vilmorin (1902-1969)

Le Sable du Sablier

Original title «Métamorphoses»

« Nothing is more beautiful than a man and the violin he’s playing : they form the most closely united couple in the world … the attitude of the man is superb. Standing, his head inclined on his shoulder, he cradles his violin. His right arm is wide open, and while he guides the bow when his bow, his left hand moves and languishes trembling on the strings. I can understand why a woman might be jealous of a violin » -- Louise de Vilmorin




quoted in Jean Bothorel, Louise de Vilmorin, Paris, Grasset & Fasquelle, 1993

(translation p.g.)

Louise de Vilmorin

(1902-1969)



Albena Vatcheva, The song of the mermaidhttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/index.htmlshapeimage_3_link_0

Paula Wilder-Gaubert, soprano Daniel Lockert, piano

Recital Programme

Violin seahorse & mermaid

October 11, 18, 2015