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RC 132 Incantation (“Mets ta main dans ma main”)

text source

Les cahiers d’André Walter. Oeuvre posthume (Paris: Perrin 1891), 84-86

first performance

1916-12-17 00:00:00.0 Rotterdam, Nutszaal

dedicatees

recordings

  • Anniversary Edition 6 Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD6

publications

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 6 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds 10607349
  • Diepenbrock Album B/M Vol. I
  • Incantation Alsbach & Co, G. (Amsterdam) 13805187

  • Incantation (“Mets ta main dans ma main”)
  • Gide, André
  • mezzo soprano and piano
  • 1916-09-22 00:00:00.0 - 1916-10-20 00:00:00.0
  • duration 6:20

On 13 September 1916 the mezzo-soprano Marie Versteegh (1884-1953) visited Diepenbrock at his home in Laren, where she sang through Beiaard (Carillion, RC 129) and the only just completed Belges, debout! (Belgians, Arise!, RC 131) with him. Impressing Diepenbrock with her voice and musicality, she inspired him to write Incantation. This was the first ‘art song’ he had composed since the start of the First World War. Since then Versteegh included songs by Diepenbrock in her repertory. …more >

Incantation (incipit)


On 13 September 1916 the mezzo-soprano Marie Versteegh (1884-1953) visited Diepenbrock at his home in Laren, where she sang through Beiaard (Carillion, RC 129) and the only just completed Belges, debout! (Belgians, Arise!, RC 131) with him. Impressing Diepenbrock with her voice and musicality, she inspired him to write Incantation. This was the first ‘art song’ he had composed since the start of the First World War. Since then Versteegh included songs by Diepenbrock in her repertory.

Diepenbrock composed Incantation between 22 September and 20 October 1916. He derived the text, a poem in free verse, from Les cahiers d’André Walter (The Notebooks of André Walter) by André Gide. He had owned this booklet since 1892. The title Incantation is by Diepenbrock himself. He also changed several words and omitted two lines of text, which he had set to music initially, but then crossed out in the definitive version, turning the piano part into a short intermezzo. He told Johan Alsbach, who published the song in 1917, that without these changes the text was useless for the composition. (BD IX:281)

Diepenbrock commented on the character of the piece in a letter to the young singer Jacoba Repelaer van Driel: This is once again an old-fashioned love song. (BD IX:246) Due to the presence of several thirds passages and the almost complete absence of four-part polyphony in the accompaniment, this song is more in keeping with the usual piano idiom than the rest of Diepenbrock’s oeuvre.

Both manuscripts and the printed edition of Incantation are dedicated to Marie Versteegh, who premiered the song on 17 December 1916. Afterwards Diepenbrock wrote to her:

You are entirely entitled to the dedication, not only because of your voice and your musical talent, but also because I would not have written this song without you, even if chance had put the text by Gide into my hands. (BD IX:278)

Marie Versteegh sang the song various times on a tour she made together with her husband Gerard Zalsman through the Dutch East Indies, China and Japan.

Together with the Berceuse for mezzo-soprano and piano (RC 112), the song is included in the album bound in calf leather that the composer gave as a present to Berthe Seroen (1882-1957) in 1917. With her unequalled expressive presentation and excellent technique, she was a great advocate of Diepenbrock’s French songs, usually accompanied by Evert Cornelis (1884-1931). Their rendition of Incantation and Berceuse in the Recital Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw on 27 March 1917 really impressed the audience and the press.

Ton Braas



Incantation

Mets ta main dans ma main,
que nos doigts s'enlacent,
Ton cou sur mon épaule
et que nos coeurs se sentent battre,
Laisse peser ton front
et que nos regards se confondent.

Ne parlons pas, restons ainsi,
que j'entende chanter ton âme
Et que la mienne y réponde
au travers des doigts confondus,
Des coeurs approchés, des regards qui s'appellent...
Ne parlons pas – silence.

Ton âme chante dans tes yeux sombres.
Fais les plus proches, mon amie,
Je la sens toujours trop lointaine.

Plus proches, ah! plus proches encor –
Que tes regards me troublent!
On croirait qu'ils sourient et que ton âme pleure.

Qu'elle est donc loin encor derrière tes prunelles.

Dans l'ombre humide de tes yeux
Plonge mon âme désireuse, –
Mais toujours plus encore se recule ton âme
Derrière tes prunelles.

Ne me regarde pas – parle plutôt – j'écoute.
Oh parle et je te rêverai
Semblable à l'inflexion de ta voix douce.

Qu'importent les mots – parle sans suite,
Parle lentement, songe à l'harmonie
Qui me révélera ton âme.

Je m'endormirai au bercement de tes paroles.

 

Spell

Place your hand in mine,
That our fingers enlace;
Your head on my shoulder,
That each feels the other’s heart beat;
Let your head sink
And our glances mingle.

Let us not talk, but remain like this,
That I may hear your soul sing
And that mine may answer
Over our enlaced fingers;
Of close-come hearts, of beseeching glances
Let us not speak – be silent.

Your soul sings in your dark eyes.
Bring them closer, my beloved,
For I feel your soul is too distant.

Nearer, ah, nearer still –
How your glance disturbs me!
As if your eyes smile and your soul weeps.

How distant your soul seems behind your eyes.

My soul, ardent with desire, dives
Into the moist shade of your eyes –
But your soul withdraws even further
Behind your eyes.

Do not look at me – speak rather – I am listening.
O speak, and I shall dream of you
As the tones of your sweet voice reveal you to be.

Words are of no account – speak of anything,
Speak slowly, consider only the harmonies
That your soul will reveal to me.

Your words will be my cradle as I fall into sleep.

(transl. Peter Lockwood)

 


 


  • A-6(11) Incantation

    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    • 8

    A-6(11) with dedication and dated on the last page 20 Octob. 1916

    • 1916-10-20 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: 8
  • A-81(8) Incantation

    semi-autograph A-81(8)

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • A-81(9) Incantation

    semi-autograph  A-81(9)

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • B-1(10) Incantation, vocal part

    vocal part B-1(10)

    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • B-12(8) Incantation

    B-12(8) with dedication and dated on the last page 1 Nov / 1916

    • 1916-11-01 00:00:00.0
    • location: Diepenbrock Archief Laren
    • pages: unknown
  • HGM 189/23f Incantation

    semi-autograph HGM 189/23f (NMI, archive Berthe Seroen, Diepenbrock Album)

    • location: Nederlands Muziek Instituut, archive Berthe Seroen
    • pages: unknown

  • click to enlarge

    Anniversary Edition 6

    cd Et'cetera KTC 1435 CD6
    Alexander, Roberta ♦ Jansen, Rudolf ♦ Nes, Jard van ♦ Holl, Robert ♦ Prégardien, Christoph ♦ Pfeiler, Christa ♦ Doeselaar, Leo van ♦ McFadden, Claron ♦ Ameling, Elly ♦ Meer, Richte van der ♦ Baldwin, Dalton

    Tracks: 1 = RC 79; 2 = RC 68; 3 = RC 117; 4 = 97; 5 = RC 132; 6 = RC 104; 7 = RC 111; 8 = RC 43; 9 = RC 99; 10 = RC 138; 11 = RC 137; 12 = RC 4; 13 = RC 15; 14 = RC 14; 15 = RC 13; 16 = RC 51

  • Complete Songs for Solo Voice and Piano Vol. 6

    1998 Donemus / Alphons Diepenbrock Fonds Braas, Ton
  • Diepenbrock Album B/M Vol. I

    1952 Reeser, Eduard
  • Incantation

    1917 Alsbach & Co, G. (Amsterdam)

17 dec 1916: Uitvoering van Incantation en Écoutez la chanson bien douce (RC 40) in de Nutszaal te Rotterdam door Marie Versteegh met begeleiding van Louis Schnitzler. Het programma vermeldt verder liederen van Debussy, Duparc, Chanserel, Pierné, Delâge-Prat, Chausson, Zalsman, Landré en Constant van de Wall.

Na de pauze heeft de concertgeefster een nieuw groot lied van Diepenbrock gezongen, Incantation, poëzie van André Gide. Poëzie die Diepenbrock tot een indrukwekkend schoon stuk muziek geïnspireerd heeft. De stijl is nog zuiverder, nog helderder, zou men zeggen dan in de toch al zoo meesterlijke liederen die de componist aan dit stuk vooraf heeft doen gaan. Ook hier, evenals bij Debussy, muziek die uit de poëzie afgeluisterd is, muziek en dicht tot een zeldzaam harmonisch geheel saamgesmolten, muziek die bovendien persoonlijk, geen imitatie van de jonge Fransche is, al heeft Diepenbrock natuurlijk de beginselen waaruit al zooveel schoons gekomen is, aanvaard en in zich opgenomen. — Op dit rijk doordachte stuk kunst van onzen landgenoot heeft Mevr. Versteegh zijn bekende Écoutez la chanson bien douce doen volgen. [...] Mevrouw Versteegh, als vertolkster van het Fransche lied, hier reeds meermalen gewaardeerd, scheen ons aanvankelijk wat zenuwachtig, waardoor zij zich niet geheel geven kon; doch gaandeweg wist zij warmte en kleur in de voordracht te brengen en te boeien door haar fraai gevormde stem van jong, blank timbre. Met Louis Schnitzler, in wien Mevr. Versteegh een meesterlijk begeleidende pianist had – hoe treffend was zijn spel door kleur en klankschakeering, door beheersching ook in het zeer zware lied van Diepenbrock – heeft de concertgeefster verdienden bijval gevonden.

Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant ([Willem Landré]), 18 december 1916

pdf All reviews for RC 132 Incantation (“Mets ta main dans ma main”)