Composers > Anecdotes > “The Pleasure of Love”
by Georg Predota | June 11th, 2018

standard “The Pleasure of Love”

Jean-Paul-Égide Martini, composer of Plaisir d'amour

Jean-Paul-Égide Martini

On a list of the most popular love songs in classical music, Plaisir d’amour (The pleasure of love) would undoubtedly rank supremely high. Originally composed in 1784, Hector Berlioz arranged the tune for orchestra, and various pop-music settings include the steamy 1961 Elvis Presley adaptation “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” The original text comes from a poem by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1755–1794), who had used it in his novel Célestine:

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,

chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

 

 

J’ai tout quitté pour l’ingrate Sylvie,

I gave up everything for ungrateful Sylvia,

Elle me quitte et prend un autre amant.

She is leaving me for another lover.

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,

chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

 

 

"Tant que cette eau coulera doucement

As long as this water will run gently

vers ce ruisseau qui borde la prairie,

Towards this brook which borders the meadow,

je t’aimerai", me répétait Sylvie,

I will love you", Sylvia told me repeatedly.

l’eau coule encor, elle a changé pourtant.

The water still runs, but she has changed.

 

 

Plaisir d’amour ne dure qu’un moment,

The pleasure of love lasts only a moment,

chagrin d’amour dure toute la vie.

The grief of love lasts a lifetime.

Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian, poet who wrote the lyrics to Plaisir d'amour

Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian

Only a French poet can capture the essence of longing in such clarity and beauty, don’t you agree? And the same of course goes for the musical setting by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini (1741-1816). Let’s not jump to conclusions that quickly, since Martini was born Johann Paul Aegidius Martin in Bavaria! Educated in a Jesuit seminary, he later studied philosophy in Freiburg but abruptly discontinued his education. He first changed his name to “Schwarzendorf” hoping to avoid having to pay a refund for his educational costs, and subsequently moved to France under the new name “Martini.”

He did become a successful court musician directing concerts for Marie Antoinette, and adapting to the new political realities brought on by the French Revolution, later served Napoleon and the restored Chapelle Royale. His light operas enjoyed great success, as did his chansons including “Plaisir d’amour.” Eventually appointed professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire, Johann Martin—sorry, Jean-Paul-Égide Martini—died in Paris in February 1816. Just goes to show, love is universal after all!

Jean-Paul-Égide Martini: Plaisir d’amour

More in Anecdotes:

Latest Articles:

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *