Alfred Bruneau La Sarabande

In Classics, Songs, Songs in French by Vogler & Lindqvist1 Comment

La Sarabande  lyrics by Catulle Mendès

Qui la dansait, le mollet bien fourni?
C’est il signor Giulio Mazarini.

Pour être Cardinal,
On n’en est pas moins homme,
On danse, et non point comme
Un saltateur banal.

Qui la dansait, le mollet bien fourni?
C’est il signor Giulio Mazarini.

Très grave et très charmant,
Rose quand la reine entre,
Il ondulait du ventre
Sacerdotalement.

Qui la dansait, le mollet bien fourni?
C’est il signor Giulio Mazarini.

On tuait aux remparts,
On mourait dans les rues;
Les riviéres accrues
Roulaient des morts épars

Qui la dansait, le mollet bien fourni?
C’est il signor Giulio Mazarini.

Tandis que sans Aves
Vous dansiez, gens de bande,
Une autre Sarabande
A deux pieds des pavés!

The Sarabande, translation by Philipp Vogler

Who danced it, with a good full calf?
It was Signor Mazarini.

To be a cardinal
One does not have to be less of a man
One dances, but not at all like
A trivial dancer.

Who danced it, with a good full calf?
It was Signor Mazarini.

Very gravely and very gracefully
Blushing when the Queen entered
He swayed the belly
Priestly

Who danced it, with a good full calf?
It was Signor Mazarini.

We killed on the battlements
We died in the streets;
The swollen rivers
Rolled the dead apart

Who danced it, with a good full calf?
It was Signor Mazarini.

Meanwhile without the Aves
You would dance, you bastards,
Another Sarabande
Two feet above the cobblestone.

The poem is referring in the first verse quite clearly to the Fronde of the common frenchmen in 1644, in the second verse to the rumours about Mazarinis relation with Anne, and in the last to people being executed by hanging; thus “dancing above the cobblestone”. Aves mean the Ave Maria prayers.

Giulio Mazarini,

born in Pescina (Italy) in 1602  served as the Chief Minister of the French King from 1642 until his death. Cardinal Richelieu, the previous Chief Minister of Louis XIII, being impressed by Mazarini‘s diplomatic talents, invited him to join the service of France and brought him into the state council.  After Richelieu‘s death Mazarini, now Cardinal Mazarini, succeeded him as chief minister of Louis XIII. When the king died, his successor Louis XIV was only 4 years old. His mother Anne of Austria took over the regency instead with Mazarini by her side.
(There were rumours that they even were secretly married and that the Dauphin was their son.)
Mazarini continued the absolutistic politics of Richelieu. In 1644, to prevent Paris from growing further Mazarin tried to raise taxes by fining those who built houses outside the City Walls. The resentments of the ordinary Frenchmen led to open violence, the so called Fronde.
Mazarin needed money for the war against the Habsburgs. He proposed that the magistrates of the high courts forgo their salaries for a number of years; they were outraged, as was the parliament of Paris, because although its deputies’ salaries were not threatened, Mazarin wanted to create new offices that would undermine its powers. The parliament joined by other government bodies to demand various reforms. This led to even more violence. Mazarini imprisoned important opponents, among them Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé. Condé’s friends and allies revolted. Anne had to release the imprisoned princes. Mazarini fled to Cologne.
Condé was not a gifted politician. Having alienated nobles, parliament, and Parisians, he openly revolted against the crown. His troops entered Paris in 1652. Although in exile, Mazarin reached agreement with Turenne, a general as talented as Condé. Turenne’s forces pursued Condé’s, who in 1653 fled to the Spanish Netherlands. Louis XIV, now of age to claim his throne, recalled Mazarin in February 1653, who from then on served as chief minister until his death in 1661 reinstalling royal absolutism without any limitation.
(Source: wikipedia: Jules Mazarin; Fronde)

Learn more about Alfred Bruneau here.

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Comments

  1. Gregory

    Wonderful project. I wish more this music. Congratulations

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