Verlaine

Searching for French poetry to set to music, I started with Verlaine – but after reading the body of his work, came away uninspired. He had a talent for beautiful, sonorous language – but unfortunately, his failures as a human being permeate his poetry. Despite writing one work called Sagesse, wisdom was something that seemed to eternally evade him. After reading lots of poems by various French poets over the past hundred years or so, I finally took a trip further back in time, and turned to the romance poetry of Guillaume Machaut. Always one of my favorite composers, I had never previously explored him as a poet. Why not write new musical settings of his words, without reference to the melodies he himself composed for those words? Started yesterday, and so far, two poems of twelve from his “Le Lay de Plour” are done. On a roll…