Chants d’Auvergne, Book 1: No. 2, Baïlèro

While recently checking out YouTube’s recommended videos, I found a piece I wanted to share with you.

Wikipedia tells me that the French author, composer and musicologist Joseph Canteloube (1879-1957) wrote an arrangement of Chants d’Auvergne, a collection of folk songs from the Auvergne region of France, between 1923 and 1930. The compilation, which is arranged for soprano and orchestra or piano, includes five series or books. Today’s selection, “Bailero,” is the second song in Book 1.

It’s a song whose title I was unfamiliar with, but once I listened, I remembered hearing it many times throughout my life. In 1930, the French classical singer Madeleine Grey (1896-1979) was the first to record selections from the collection. “Bailero” also appeared in the 1944 film Henry V and, in 1972, it was featured in a commercial for the alcoholic aperitif Dubonnet. I don’t know those two instances, but I’m sure I have heard it in many other contexts.

A recording of the piece, sung by American soprano Arleen Auger (1939-1993) accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra under the direction of the French violinist and conductor by Yan Pascal Tortelier, appears on a four-disc classical compilation Zen Voices (2010). There are also many, many other recordings of the piece and the series by a wide array of classical artists.

“Bailero” is also referred to as “Le Baylere” or “The Shepherd’s Song” and is a lovely piece of music that feels hopeful and life-affirming. Auger’s soprano tones float high above the orchestra’s soft string arrangement, mixing with the playfulness of wind instruments, making me think of birdsong in a pastoral nature scene.

Now you know a little about why this is My Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.

Here’s the audio from the Arleen Auger YouTube topic channel:

With my best wishes,


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