Ever on the hunt for good, expressive singing, I came across Jean Panel, who, in his time, was a very well known French tenor. I would have liked to use the French version of Flotow’s “M’appurì, from the opera Martha, which is sung in the original German, Italian, and French, but I could not find the French lyrics. Instead, I decided to use two pieces whose lyrics I could find, at least in French.

I am guilty of repetition. The first piece is from Godard’s Jocelyn. This is the famous lullaby from that opera. I have posted this before, but Planel does such a beautiful job with it that I thought that it was worth posting again.

The second piece is a French translation of Enrico Toselli’s Serenata, from Rimpiato, Op. 6 No. 1.

What I like very much about Planel is that his French is excellent. That may seem to be strange praise addressed to a Frenchman, but very few French people sing well in their own language! French is a very difficult language in which to sing because of the nasal vowels and the élison between consonants and vowels. Furthermore, Planel keeps the sound off his throat and in the resonating spaces of his head. It is a very different way to sing French than we have today. His sound is not pushed or forced; it just flows.

If anyone is interested in learning more about him, there is an “Association Jean-PLANEL”, that can be found on the internet.

Viens, le soir descend
Et l’heure est charmeuse
Viens, toi si frileuse
La nuit déjà comme un manteau s’étend.
Viens, tout est si doux
Si plein de promesses
On sent la caresse
Des mots d’amour qu’on écoute à genoux.
Un sourire en tes grands yeux
Me révèle un coin des cieux
Reviens apaiser
Mon coeur battant à se briser
Je t’aime à jamais
Sans crainte des regrets
Que le bonheur berce infiniment
Par son fol enchantement
Le cher émoi de ton coeur aimant.

Je t’aime à jamais
Sans crainte des regrets
Que le bonheur berce infiniment
Par son fol enchantement
Le cher émoi de ton coeur aimant.

Le jour agonise
L’heure est exquise
Enivrons-nous d’amour
Toujours, toujours !

Come, the evening is falling
And the hour is charming
Come, you are so chilly
Night already stretches out like coat
Come, everything is so sweet
So full of promises
One feels the caresse
Of words of love that one listens to when kneeled.
A smile in your large eyes
Reveals a corner of Heaven
Come back to calm
My heart beating which will break
I love you forever
Without fear of regrets
May happiness cradle forever
By its mad enchantment
The dear emotion of your loving heart.

I love you forever
Without the fear of regrets
May happiness cradle forever
By its mad enchantment
The dear emotion of your loving heart.

Day is dying
The hour is exquisite
Let us be intoxicated with love
Always, always!

Berceuse

Cachés dans cet asile où Dieu nous a
conduits,

Unis par le malheur, durant les longues nuits
Nous reposons tous deux endormis sous les voiles
Ou prions aux regards de tremblantes étoiles.

Oh ne t’éveille pas encore
Pour qu’un bel ange de ton rêve
En déroulant son long fil d’or,
Enfant, permette qu’il s’achève.
Dors, dors, le jour à peine à lui.
Vierge Sainte, veillez sur lui.

Lullaby

Hidden in this sanctuary where God led us

United by misfortune during the long nights
We both rest asleep under their veils
Or pray under the gazes of the trembling stars

Oh! do not wake up yet
So that a beautiful angel in your dream,
by unwinding its long golden thread
Child, allows it to come to an end
Sleep! Sleep! the day just barely his
Holy Virgin, watch over him.

Jean Planel, 1903 – 1986

Born in 1903 in Montélimar, Jean PLANEL was raised with a love of music by his father Alphonse PLANEL, composer and music publisher. Jean studied music with him, then in Marseilles, and soon joined his younger brother Robert in Paris where both took courses at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Musique. A pupil of Paul Vidal (composition), Hettich and Louise Grandjean (voice), in 1931 he obtained the Premier Prix de Chant, “first named”. As soon as he left the Conservatoire, his career took off. His voice with a rare, sensitive and nuanced timbre, his range that ranges from light tenor to high counter, his impeccable technique with regard to breathing, production and articulation, have made him achieve great successes.