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Waltzes About France


Listen to a performance of the work by the New Hampshire Master Chorale conducted by Dan Perkins, with the Plymouth State University Faculty Jazz Quartet:


  • Score: $1.50 (for reproduction rights; minimum purchase of 10 required; additional charge for hard copies); set of parts: $6
  • For SATB chorus and jazz quartet (tenor sax, piano, bass, and drums)
  • Secular text (settings of texts about rural France and Paris)
  • 8:00
  • Difficulty rating (1-5): 3
  • View a PDF score excerpt
  • Purchase, request full review copy or more information, etc.

Waltzes About France was commissioned by the New Hampshire Master Chorale, Dan Perkins, Music Director, and premiered by them on November 19, 2010.

When Dan Perkins and I discussed potential works for the New Hampshire Master Chorale's Fall 2010 concerts centered on France, our ideas began to coalesce around two distinct compositions for it—one involving some straight-ahead jazz, and one in a more standard vein (see Love Always! elsewhere on this site). I actually began writing the jazz piece first, in a way—when Dan first told me about this concert, I started thinking about the great French singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour, and imagining a song he might have written in English about Paris, love, and regret. The second movement of this work is an arrangement of the resulting song, “The Streets of Paris.” I wanted to contrast that movement with something lighter and sunnier, and a text I found by the 19th century English poet Barry Cornwall was just the inspiration I was looking for. Both these movements are in 3/4 time, both texts are about France, hence the title: Waltzes About France.

In France

The poplars in the fields of France
Are golden ladies come to dance;
But yet to see them there is none
But I and the September sun.

The girl who in their shadow sits
Can only see the sock she knits;
Her dog is watching all the day
That not a cow shall go astray.

The leisurely contented cows
Can only see the earth they browse;
Their piebald bodies through the grass
With busy, munching noses pass.

Alone the sun and I behold
Processions crowned with shining gold—
The poplars in the fields of France,
Like glorious ladies come to dance.

—Barry Cornwall (1787-1874)

The Streets of Paris

The streets of Paris
are filled with dreams
of love and laughter
or so it seems
My heart’s in Paris
so here I’ll stay
though you have gone away.

The spires of Paris
caress the sky.
They reach to heaven
and hear me cry.
The towers of Paris
embrace the dawn
and tell me that you’re gone.

We ran red-lit sidewalks
around Place Pigalle—
we thought the first act had begun.
That night, at the Opera
beneath the Chagall
you told me we’d always be one …

The streets of Paris
I walk alone
except for mem’ries
of love we’d known.
My heart’s in Paris
so here I’ll stay
though you have gone away.

The clocks of Paris
still tell the time—
they mark the moments
since you were mine.
The lamps of Paris
still light each street
where you and I won't meet.

The cobblestone pathways,
the shops of Montmartre,
cafes smelling faintly of beer,
they sing of your sweetness
and tear at my heart
and mockingly ask why I’m here.

The streets of Paris
I walk alone
except for mem’ries
of love we’d known.
My heart’s in Paris
so here I’ll stay
though you have gone away.

—JCS

full chorus, instrument, ensemble, jazzy, music, modern, contemporary, classical, contemporary

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Jonathan Santore
Plymouth, NH
info@jonathansantore.com

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