ravel – shéhérazade, part II – la flûte enchantée

(Bożena Bujnicka – soprano, Paweł Sommer – piano)
A song cycle by Ravel, first performed in 1904. More information about the composition can be found HERE.

The shade is soft and my master sleeps
Wearing a conical hat of silk,
His long yellow nose in his white beard.
But me, I’m yet awake,
Listening to the melody of a flute outside
which pours forth, in turns, sadness and joy,
An air in turns languid or frivolous,
Which my darling love plays.
And when I approach the window,
It seems to me that each note flies
From the flute to my cheek
Like a mysterious kiss.

kay nielsen_arabian_nights

L’ombre est douce et mon maître dort
Coiffé d’un bonnet conique de soie
Et son long nez jaune en sa barbe blanche.
Mais moi, je suis éveillée encor
Et j’écoute au dehors
Une chanson de flûte où s’épanche
Tour à tour la tristesse ou la joie.
Un air tour à tour langoureux ou frivole
Que mon amoureux chéri joue,
Et quand je m’approche de la croisée
Il me semble que chaque note s’envole
De la flûte vers ma joue
Comme un mystérieux baiser.


the match girl’s song of hope

It’s true
The heart beats lighter in a vacuum
I dreamed someday I’d burn, burn, burn
A flaming Me fanned by a You
That blue glow gutters, fades to grey
Ashen time ticks faintly on

Sex, a lonely bomb in my bag
Forgotten on the platform
My pulse racing
The last plane out of here

Please don’t leave yet
Gran, please hold on
I’m coming now
I’m coming
I’ll be there too,
Take it on with you
I’m coming now
I’m coming through

Cos one thing I’ve learned being burned is that
Love’s not about how we feel
It’s about how we deal with situations
When shit gets real
It’s way beyond desire
Real love works to heal
It doesn’t steal a kiss, delirious
Then turn, turn, turn, as you’re on fire,
To another
Hid behind the curtain (how, Lover?)
Sweep out the cinders (blown away)
and go (already far away)

It’s true
Real love spans worlds
Real love spans galaxies
Real love is greater than all that ties us to Earth from birth to death

But please don’t leave yet, Papa
Please hold on
I’m coming now
I’m coming
I’ll be there with you
Take it on too
I’m coming now
I’m coming
I’m coming now
I’m coming through
I’m close to you
With every heartbeat


A tiny Kodoma (tree spirit) from Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke” (1997)

Princess Mononoke is a period drama set in the late Muromachi period of Japan but with numerous fantastical elements. The story concentrates on involvement of the outsider Ashitaka in the struggle between the supernatural guardians of a forest and the humans of the Iron Town who consume its resources. There can be no clear victory, and the hope is that relationship between humans and nature can be cyclical.

“Mononoke” (物の怪) is not a name, but a general term in the Japanese language for a spirit or monster. The film was first released in Japan on July 12, 1997, and in the United States on October 29, 1999.

on the proliferation of magical stories


“I have a sense that a proliferation of magical stories, especially fairy tales, is correlated to a growing awareness of human separation from the wild and natural world. In fairy tales, the human and animal worlds are equal and mutually dependent. The violence, suffering and beauty are shared. Those drawn to fairy tales, perhaps, wish for a world that might live “forever after”. My work as a preservationist of fairy tales is entwined with all kinds of extinction.”

– Kate Bernheimer in the Introduction to My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (Penguin, 2010)

the flower of seven colours

Cvetik Semicvetik (Flower of Seven Colours) is a beautiful Soviet children’s animation from 1948, based on a beloved folk tale about a little girl who receives a magic flower with seven free wishes from an old crone. None of her wishes leads to happiness, until the last wish, which she doesn’t use for herself, but for someone else. By making someone else happy, she is made happy too.

There are many different illustrated versions out there, but perhaps the most trippy one comes from the mind of Russian artist Benjamin Losin. Losin apparently illustrated two different versions of this book.