Download Edward Gold's "Dans une langue inconnue" / "In a Strange Language" (2.9 MB)

Edward Gold ~ "Dans une langue inconnue" / "In a Strange Language"

2 juillet / July 2 ...

J'ai visité le mont Saint-Michel que je ne connaissais pas....

Les gens du pays, ceux du mont, prétendent qu'on entend parler la nuit dans les sables, puis qu'on entend bêler deux chèvres, l'une avec une voix forte, l'autre avec une voix faible.... les pêcheurs attardés jurent avoir rencontré, rôdant sur les dunes, entre deux marées, autour de la petite ville jetée ainsi loin du monde, un vieux berger ... qui conduit, en marchant devant eux, un bouc à figure d'homme et une chèvre à figure de femme, tous deux avec de longs cheveux blancs et parlant sans cesse, se querellant dans une langue inconnue, puis cessant soudain de crier pour bêler de toute leur force.

I have been to Mont Saint-Michel, which I had not seen before....

The country people, those belonging to the Mornet, declare that at night one can hear talking going on in the sand, and also that two goats bleat, one with a strong, the other with a weak voice.... belated fishermen swear that they have met an old shepherd.... guiding and walking before a he-goat with a man's face and a she-goat with a woman's face, both with white hair, who talk incessantly, quarreling in a strange language, and then suddenly cease talking in order to bleat with all their might.

I have always been intrigued by Mont Saint-Michel, the rocky tidal island and church commune in Normandy, France, and only regret I never got there. My short composition tries to describe its bells, landscape, and later on, the goat-bleating (highly stylized, of course) mentioned in this section of Maupassant's novella.

The "soggetto cavato" on which this whole project is based is used here at the very beginning in the top notes of the piano, and both for the main theme in the piano and its repeat in the violin and bassoon.

Listen to more music.

Art: William Julian-Damazy. Illustrations for Guy de Maupassant's Le Horla. (Paris: Librairie Ollendorff, 1908). Public domain..

Rose image: P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, and Henry T. Williams. "The Rose Geant Des Batailles, (Giant Of Battles)," in The Horticulturist, and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste... Public domain..

English Translation: The Works of Guy de Maupassant, vol. 1, Boule de suif and Other Stories, (New York: National Library Company, 1909).

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© Copyright 2010 by Edward Gold (music and text), Joseph Dillon Ford (graphic design), and the Members of the Delian Society.