Analysing and Performing a Song

Ici Bas! by Sully Prudhomme and Gabriel Faure

Being inspired by Constantin Stanislavski’s texts on ‘Building a Character’ and ‘Creating a Role’ I wanted to try to put some of this into practice when preparing songs for the recital platform. I decided to look more closely at Ici Bas! by Faure to get behind the songs emotional meaning and content whilst at the same time being inspired to find music and poetry to sing depicting Isolation and loneliness which is not too difficult to find in this wonderful repertoire.

Lyrics and Translation:

Ici bas tous les lilas meurent,

Here below all the lilacs die,

Tous les chants des oiseaux sont courts,

All the songs of the birds are short,

Je reve aux etes qui demeurent toujours!

I dream of summers that last forever!


Ici bas les levres effleurent sans rien laisser de leur velours,

Here below the lips touch lightly without leaving anything of their velvet,

Je reve aux baisers qui demeurent toujours!

I dream of kisses that last forever!


Ici bas, tous les hommes pleurent leurs amities ou leurs amours,

Here below, all men weep for their loves or friendships pain,

Je reve aux couples qui demeurent, aux couples qui demeurent, qui demeurent tourjours!

I dream of lovers who forever, of lovers who forever, who forever remain together!


Making connections using Stanislavski principles:

1. What is the situation I am in? Who am I in this situation?

  • I am mourning the loss of someone I loved perhaps a lover or friend.
  • I could be a male or a female, an older person, perhaps because of my comfortable relationship with and experience of death.
  • Maybe I am a younger person with idealistic visions of love and couples that stay together for all eternity, feeling dejected and the pain of rejection feeling unloved after a passionate love affair that has now ended.

11. What is purpose of song? Link with own instinctive thoughts and emotional reactions. How have I experienced this in my own life?

  • This is a song about bereavement and loneliness I am singing this because I miss my lover who has passed away or I am lonely and feeling the pain and loss and separations of the end of a relationship feeling now unloved.
  • I am singing to myself to comfort my loneliness and sorrow.
  • My underlying thoughts and emotions throughout this song are sadness looking around at nature feeling that nothing here on earth lasts forever and soon expires.

III.  How am I communicating these personal associations and understanding of the text and song to the audience? Who do I want the audience to be?

  • It is summer time I am sitting alone in a quiet place like my house, a garden, or at the grave of my loved one to think, reflect on my emotions, be alone with the memory of my loved one, and lament.
  • My thoughts and feelings as the song ends are longing and anticipation of spending eternity with the one I love.
  • I want the audience to understand my emotional state, connect, share empathise in the loss I feel, relieve me of my loneliness and make me feel loved again.


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