Au Clair De La Lune

Commissioned by Chor Leoni Men’s Choir

I’m really inspired by children’s poetry and I love setting it for adult performing
ensembles. These texts work especially well in a choral context because the
narratives tend to be very direct, lean, and wholly evocative in a mystical way. Au
Clair De La Lune hints at a story of chasing love in the moonlight. We’re teased
with a few humorous sexual euphemisms but the way the story is told by the
music is anything but humorous. It’s desperate and at times, quite frightening.

This piece opens with the darkest colours and the most distant glimmer of light.
There’s a breathless and desperate, almost suffocating, paroxysm on the words,
“On n’y voit qu’un peu” (One could barely see) that claws its way into the incendiary
chord in the phrase, “On chercha le feu” (We sought the fire). While the music asserts
to us the way forward, it lacks the capacity to sustain itself. Instead, it capitulates and
we’re left to search for a different kind of fire – a more gentle and carnal one.
The choir ends up finding this fire and, in a massive conflagration, burns their
way out of the night to the light on the other side.

Duration approximately 6 minutes

For TTBB choir

Anonymous, 19th cent.

Au clair de la lune
Mon ami Pierrot
Prete-moi ta plume
Pour écrire un mot.

Ma chandelle est morte
Je n’ai plus de feu
Ouvre-moi ta porte
Pour l’amour de Dieu.

Au clair de la lune
Pierrot repondit
Je n’ai pas de plume
Je suis dans mon lit.

Va chez la voisine
Je crois qu’elle y est
Car dans sa cuisine
On bat le briquet.

Au clair de la lune
L’aimable Harlequin
Frappe chez la brune
Elle repond soudain.

Qui frappe de la sorte?
Il dit a son tour
Ouvrez votre porte
Pour le Dieu d’Amour.

Au clair de la lune
On n’y voit qu’un peu
On chercha la plume
On chercha du feu

En cherchant d’la sorte
Je ne sais ce qu’on trouva
Mais je sais que la porte
Sur eux se ferma.