Les Cloches (Claude Debussy)

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  • (Posted 2008-07-18)  CPDL #17549:  Network.png
Editor: David Newman (submitted 2008-07-18).   Score information: Letter, 3 pages, 144 kB   Copyright: Public Domain
Edition notes: Editions in A Minor and C sharp Minor. English translation by Isabella G. Parker

General Information

Title: Les Cloches
Composer: Claude Debussy
Lyricist: Paul Bourgetcreate page (1852-1935)

Number of voices: 1v   Voicing: Soprano solo
Genre: SecularArt song

Language: French
Instruments: Piano

First published: 1891 in Deux Romances, No. 1
Description: Original key is G flat Major.

External websites:

Original text and translations

French.png French text

Les feuilles s’ouvraient sur le bord des branches,
Les cloches tintaient, légères et franches,
dans le ciel clément.

Rythmique et fervent comme une antienne,
ce lointain appel
me remémorait la blancheur chrétienne
des fleurs de l’autel.

Ces cloches parlaient d’heureuses années,
et, dans le grand bois,
semblaient reverdir les feuilles fanées,
des jours d’autrefois.

English.png English translation

singing translation by Isabella G Parker
The leaves on the green boughs gently are swinging,
op'ning silently
The bells with their music airily ringing
'Neath the smiling sky

Slowly breathing like an anthem of warning
Afar through the air
Bringing mem'ry sweet of lilies adorning
Holy altar fair

Those bells tell of happy years now o'ershaded
And with solemn tone
Once more they refresh the leaves that are faded,
The years that are gone.