Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire

The Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire (CD 64) constitute a song cycle for voice and piano by Claude Debussy, on poems taken from Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire. Composed from December 1887 to March 1889, these five highly developed vocal pieces were not well received by Parisian musical circles because of the Wagnerian influence they revealed.

Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire
Song cycle by Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy, portrait by Marcel Baschet (1884).jpg
The composer in 1884, portrayed by Marcel Baschet
CatalogueL. 64
Textpoems by Charles Baudelaire
  • voice
  • piano

This aesthetic, following on from the harmonic innovations of Tristan und Isolde, was gradually abandoned by Debussy, addressing the composition of Pelléas et Mélisande. Thus, the Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire represent a particular moment of the musical evolution of Debussy. Musicologists agree that it is "a work of crisis and transition."[1]


  1. Le Balcon
  2. Harmonie du soir
  3. Le jet d'eau
  4. Recueillement
  5. La mort des amants


The composition of the Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire extended over more than a year: La mort des amants was completed in December 1887,[2] Le balcon in January 1888,[1] Harmonie du soir in January 1889,[2] and Le jet d'eau in March of the same year.[2] Recueillement is an undated melody.[2]


The work was ill received by Parisian musical circles. After the success of Ariettes oubliées, nobody wanted to edit or perform the Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire, according to Jean Barraqué.[3] Debussy was reduced to publishing an edition of his melodies by subscription, with only 150 copies.[4]


  1. ^ a b (Harry Halbreich 1980, p. 633)
  2. ^ a b c d (Harry Halbreich 1980, p. 634)
  3. ^ (Jean Barraqué 1962, p. 104)
  4. ^ (Edward Lockspeiser 1980, p. 155)



  • Jean Barraqué (1962). Debussy. Solfèges (in French). Paris: Éditions du Seuil. p. 250. ISBN 2-02-020626-9. Jean Barraqué1962.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • André Boucourechliev (1998). Debussy, la révolution subtile. les chemins de la musique (in French). Paris: Fayard. p. 123. ISBN 978-2-213-60030-7. André Boucourechliev1998.
  • Edward Lockspeiser; Harry Halbreich (1980). Claude Debussy (in French). Paris: Fayard. p. 823. ISBN 2-213-00921-X.
    Edward Lockspeiser (1980). Claude Debussy, sa vie et sa pensée (in French). Paris: Fayard. pp. 7–529.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
    Harry Halbreich (1980). Claude Debussy, analyse de l'œuvre (in French). Paris: Fayard. pp. 533–748.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

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