🎻♫♪ – Chants d’Auvergne by Joseph Canteloube

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
110/501Title: Chants d’Auvergne
Composer: Joseph Canteloube
Nationality: French

A nice bit of a change of pace again with the classical piece of the week (which, looking back at how I originally prefaced the 1001 classicals list as being something I would do rarely, is neat to able to say) in that this feels about as close to a popular music album that I am likely to get. Chants d’Auvergne is a collection of traditional folk songs of the region that have been set to classical music by Joseph Canteloube. In essence, this is a songbook and an album of these reads similar to the acclaimed series that Ella Fitzgerald did in the 1950s when she made multi-disc albums of the composers of the Great American Songbook.

The songs themselves are still sung using the Occitan language, which is founded in the south of France with dialects of it spoken in Spain, Monaco and Italy. Given that most of the dialects of this language are endangered, there is something beautifully unique when listening to Chants d’Auvergne. 

As this is a collection of folk songs, rather than a purpose made classical piece, there is something different about these. For one, there is more levity to a number of these songs and they have a passing resemblance to a sung verse-chorus structure. Others start to get more ethereal in the same way that ‘Donna Donna’ by Joan Baez or ‘Forward, Oneroi’ from Over The Garden Wall. So yes, this was a nice and varied listen for an hour and a half.

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