PLAYLIST - A list of romantic and passionate works of classical music you should listen to when you're in love
A playlist by France Musique, using our own unique video archive of concert and studio recordings.
Love... One of the strongest and most powerful emotions, capable of inspiring great beauty and melting the coldest of hearts. It is sometimes impossible to explain what it is we're feeling, so why not instead listen to love in all its forms expressed through music, the one true language of love, universal and understood by all, especially by these 10 great composers.
Elgar: Salut d’amour op.12
Madly in love with the English writer and poet Caroline Alice Roberts, Edward Elgar composed his Salut d'amour as an engagement present to his beloved. Despite having no words, the sweet and intoxicating melody expresses nonetheless a strong and loving affection... It is easy to understand why Alice Elgar said "yes"!
Spewack & Porter: Kiss me Kate - "So In Love" (David Pittsinger)
Alas, love isn't always simple and straightforward. Kiss me Kate tells the tale not of an amorous union between two lovers, but rather a _re_union of two old flames, now divorced. Theatre director and leading star Fred Graham and his leading lady (and ex-wife) Lilli Vanessi seem to bicker incessently, though the spark of love still shines bright. When Fred sings to Lilli in the second act in the hope of stopping her from leaving, echoing her words from Act I, he declares with his heart on his sleeve that "When I'm close to you, dear, The stars fill the sky, So in love with you am I", crossing the fine line between love and hate.
Gabriel Fauré: Notre amour op. 23 n° 2 (Duo Varnerin)
The feeling of love in our heart is often indescribable, but Armand Silvestre's poem manages to come close, and the music by Gabriel Fauré elevates his words to new and dizzying heights:
Our love is something light, like the perfumes which the breeze, brings from the tips of ferns, for us to inhale as we dream. Our love is something light.
Natalia M. King: "Love you madly"
An intoxicating and almost inebriating emotion, many have fallen off the cliff of love into the depths of madness that await below... Once love has wrapped its tight grip around your heart, it is hard not to love someone "madly"...
You're every stranger, every face, I see no one else but you. Didn't want to get attached need a plan B, what to do? Please call the doctor, tell him I truly got it badly. This is ain't no crush, this ain't no lie, I think I love you madly.
Manuel de Falla: El Amor Brujo - "Cancion del amor dolido" (Druet / Le Bozec)
The Spanish-born Manuel de Falla often found inspiration in the quintessentially hot-blooded spirit of his native land, and El Amor Brujo (translated as "Love, the Magician) is no exception. Composed as a ballet for the famous gypsy Flamenco dancer, Pastora Imperio, the work is imbued with the fiery spirit of Andalusia, and nowhere is this spirit more felt than during the Canción del amor dolido ("Song of suffering love"), a passionate declaration of anguish and jealousy. Love is not always a pleasant sensation...
Blazing stronger is the inferno which burns my blood with jealousy! [...] Love is poisoning me! Grief is killing me!
Leonard Cohen: Dance Me to the End of Love (Raquel Camarinha / Yoan Héreau)
Known as the "Godfather of Gloom" and the "High Priest of Pathos", Leonard Cohen may not be our first choice to soothe our hearts alight with the burning passion of love, and yet the Canadian singer was also known as the "Troubadour Of Love", one of the few singer-songwriters capable of putting words to the ineffable sentiment...
Bizet: Carmen - Habanera "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" (Ambroisine Bré)
The ultimate story of passion, Carmen is the epitome of the liberated woman, an exotic femme fatale who seduces the young cavalryman Don José by singing L'amour est un oiseau rebelle, a sultry and seductive aria proclaiming the casualness of love. Resistance is futile, Carmen will have her way...
Love is rebellious bird that nobody can tame, and it's all in vain to call it if it chooses to refuse
Monteverdi : "La lettera amorosa" - Léa Trommenschlager & Giani Caserotto
Part of his seventh book of madrigals, Monteverdi composed two lettere amorose, love letters adressed to the performer in question. Literally timeless, Monteverdi's lettera amorosa was composed without bars or any indication of tempo, leaving such decisions entirely to the performer. The music moves therefore at an entirely personal pace, bringing greater emotional weight to the words...
There is nothing in you that does not drag me with the invisible power of love: I am nothing more than prey and prize of your beauty.
Dowland: Can she excuse my wrongs (Les inAttendus)
Originally a poem attributed to Robert Devereaux, 2nd Earl of Essex, the text depicts a male speaker and the long-lost pleasures of his lady's favor, though not any lady but rather Queen Elizabeth I herself. Having pursued a tumultuous relationship with the Queen for almost 17 years, Robert Devereaux sought on occasion to appease these tensions with a sonnet, including Can she excuse my wrongs, a thinly-veiled attempt to regain his Queen's political favour...or perhaps simply the expression of a certain sexual frustration! Despite the Earl's declaration, Devereaux was executed in 1601 for having rebelled against his Queen. "Hell hath no fury..."
Better a thousand times to die, than for to live thus still tormented. Dear, but remember it was I, who for thy sake did die contented.
Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet, Fantasy Overture (Andris Poga / Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France)
Though ultimately tragic, Romeo and Juliet remains undoubtedly to this day one of the greatest and most powerful love stories ever told, one of star crossed lovers whose love knows no bounds and overcomes all obstacles. Profoundly inspired by William Shakespeare's masterpiece, Tchaikovsky composed an enchanting fantasy overture, and notably the famous "Love theme" melody, representing the two lovers meeting for the first time at Juliet's balcony, the strings hurriedly rising to an epic climax, followed by a gloriously powerful melody filled with content.