Hector Berlioz: Les nuits d'Ete for Solo Voice & Orchestra Op.7 Hol.81B . Version for medium voice.
BA 5786-90: Vocal score voice & piano
Berlioz composed these songs in 1840–41, between the composition of Roméo et Juliette and La damnation de Faust. The poems were taken from a collection entitled La comédie de la mort by Théophlie Gautier, published in 1838. The songs were for mezzo-soprano or tenor with piano accompaniment, and were published as a cycle under the title Les nuits d’été in 1841. The second and fourth songs, Le spectre de la rose and Absence, were performed a few times at that period, and Absence was sung twice in February 1843 by Marie Recio on Berlioz’s first tour of Germany. For Marie, who later became his second wife, Berlioz at once orchestrated the song for mezzo-soprano and small orchestra. A dozen years later Berlioz orchestrated the remaining five songs of the cycle, which appeared in its orchestral form in 1856. Two of these songs, Le spectre de la rose and Sur les lagunes, were now transposed to a lower key, so that the cycle was no longer within the compass of a single voice.