Where can I find Baudelaire songs?
At the moment, there is no one place to find all of the songs which have used Baudelaire’s poems. As the Baudelaire Song Project team build up our research database, we make information about songs available via the website and Twitter so that we create a single resource for accessing all known song settings of Baudelaire’s poetry. The full database will be released in 2019, but we welcome enquiries and are happy to share relevant song information prior to the official release of the dataset. We also release data tables for specific sets of songs. Please drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @BaudelaireProj.
We blogged at the end of 2016 about some new Baudelaire songs. For mélodie fans, Nicolas Chevereau’s Cinq poèmes de Baudelaire are a real gem. For chanson fans, Belgian chanson française/folk band Exsangue are releasing singles from their new album via BandCamp. If you like a live multimedia experience, try Baudelaire in a Box – prepared by an inventive Chicago theatre collective who are performing the whole of Les Fleurs du mal in newly-commissioned songs with illustrated ‘crankies’. But there is plenty more out there!
A few CD collections of Baudelaire-only songs do exist and are a great place to start, particularly for classical art song/mélodie and chanson settings. Our findings already show that, wonderful as these recordings are, they barely scratch the surface of what has emerged ‘musically’ from Baudelaire’s work! At least two famous French singer-songwriters have also attempted to set all of Baudelaire’s poems to music in chanson style (Léo Ferré and Georges Chelon) which give a flavour of what happens to Baudelaire’s poems in performance. But we are also findings settings in musical styles as varied as extreme/black/death metal, gothic rock, electronica, and rap, and settings in languages from English through to Norwegian, Greek, Polish, Japanese, Korean, and more besides.
Universal Music France’s 2013 ‘Charles Baudelaire le musicien’ 3-disc collection of music which inspired Baudelaire, classical song settings, and French ‘chanson’ settings, contains just 30 songs
XXI – 21 Productions 2009 ‘Les Fleurs du Mal // de Fauré à Ferré collection of 18 songs peformed by Marc Boucher and Olivier Godin
Harmonia Mundi’s 2003 ‘Mélodies sur des poèmes de Baudelaire’ classical song collection performed by Felicity Lott and Graham Johnson contains just 15 songs
Léo Ferré, Les Fleurs du Mal (multi-volume LP, with the first volume released in 1957 to celebrate the centenary of the first publication of Les Fleurs du Mal, followed up in 1967 with another double album, and an unfinished project to complete the full set prepared in 1977 but not released until after Ferré’s death in 2008).
Georges Chelon, Les Fleurs du Mal (2-volume CD released in 2004).
You can also find out about how our KS3 songwriting workshops for Years 7, 8, and 9 are helping schools teaching languages (MFL) and music (songwriting) with enrichment activities and extra resources to help enhance existing curriculum. We love seeing students develop their confidence about performing in a foreign language! See our Education page for more information.
Some famous songs