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Which vocalist performed the best rendition of Fauré's 3 Mélodies, Op. 23: No. 1, Les berceaux?

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3 Mélodies, Op. 23: No. 1, Les berceaux · Sabine Devieilhe

3 Mélodies, Op. 23: No. 1, Les berceaux · Véronique Gens

3 Mélodies, Op. 23: No. 1, Les berceaux - Sandrine Piau

"Like many composers, Faure was consistently attracted by texts about the sea, or any other body of water (Au bord de l'eau, L'horizon chimerique, Les matelots, La fleur qui va sur l'eau, to name just a few), and in this text, the poet draws the parallel between the rocking of a ship and of a cradle, which Faure captured in his setting, one of his most haunting songs. The accompaniment carries this rocking theme steadily in a pensive minor, while the voice in the first verse quietly describes, without any particular "painting" except the simply rising and falling line, the ships in the harbor. In the second, the music becomes more emotional, in the crescendo to the long high notes and the dramatic octave descent, depicting the pull of the horizon. In the last verse, while the accompaniment returns to the rocking motif, the extended notes in the vocal line subtly portray the conflict that the text personifies in the boats, the desire to remain gently rocked in harbor."
- AllMusic Guide

Les berceaux - The cradles

Le long du quai les grands vaisseaux,
Que la houle incline en silence,
Ne prennent pas garde aux berceaux
Que la main des femmes balance.

Along the quay the great ships,
Listing silently with the surge,
Pay no heed to the cradles
Rocked by women’s hands.

Mais viendra le jour des adieux,
Car il faut que les femmes pleurent,
Et que les hommes curieux
Tentent les horizons qui leurrent

But the day of parting will come,
For it is decreed that women shall weep,
And that men with questing spirits
Shall seek enticing horizons.

Et ce jour-là les grands vaisseaux,
Fuyant le port qui diminue,
Sentent leur masse retenue
Par l’âme des lointains berceaux.

And on that day the great ships,
Leaving the dwindling harbour behind,
Shall feel their hulls held back
By the soul of the distant cradles.
I liked Sabine Devieilhe best, but can't very well describe why. She was "affectated" in a good way. But it was also something about the structure of the voice. I'll see if other comments described it better than me.

Edit: Ha ha, I am the only one voting for her ! Let's see what's going on.

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As for the lyrics of this Faure song, it is almost-almost waking up a dormant feminist in me. From the perspective of the text, it should be a man who sings it. From women, it is a masochism. Adventurous men and weeping women ? Come on ! If it were war, I could agree, but traveling ?! We like that too, at least some of us. Maybe it used to be impossible for women - too bad.

As a whole thing, though, I like the lullaby feel, and I want Sabine Devielhe to be my mom in my next life and sing it to me.

P.S. There is a song lyrics I hate much more than this one, and that is Duparc's Chanson Triste !
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