RC 130 Puisque l’aube grandit

  • Verlaine, Paul
  • mezzo-soprano and orchestra
  • July 5, 1916 - July 19, 1916
  • duration 7:00

When Diepenbrock started his instrumentation of Puisque l’aube grandit (Since Dawn Awoke, RC 97) on 5 July 1916, it was a long time since he had orchestrated a piano song. We do not know who initiated the arrangement of this composition from 1909. Considering the fact that the performance was already to take place on 16 August, it is very likely that either the singer Elise Menagé Challa (1888-1962) or the Residentie Orchestra asked Diepenbrock to do so. The orchestration was completed in two weeks.

Diepenbrock explained his use of a small orchestra (one flute, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns and strings) for this passionate song as follows:

According to an Italian a century ago, accompaniment should be a “guard of honour” and not, as the “modernists” did it then, “a troupe of gendarmes”. I have tried to return to that idea. (BD IX:140)

Diepenbrock was so pleased with the result that he decided to revise the orchestration he made in 1907 of Recueillement (Contemplation, RC 79/80) based on the same criteria.

There are no surviving reviews of the premiere by Elise Menagé Challa (1891-1962) and the Residentie Orchestra conducted by Rhené-Bâton (1879-1940). However, documentation shows that she sang Puisque l’aube grandit with the Colonne Orchestra in Paris in the autumn of 1923.

Ton Braas