R J Dent’s song lyrics have appeared in The Baudelaire Songs, a new three-song-cycle composed by Finnish composer/pianist Outi Tarkiainen.

The Baudelaire Songs (2009-2013)
Composed by Outi Tarkiainen

A three-song-cycle for soprano and piano
Songs: 1. The Albatross; 2. The Abyss; 3. Obsession

Text: Poems from The Flowers of Evil (ISBN-10: 0-9799847-7-7 &
ISBN-13: 978-0-9799847-7-8) by Charles Baudelaire, translated into English by R J Dent

Graphic - The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise

Soprano: Sanna Heikkinen
Piano: Johanna Tilus

Duration: 16 minutes

Commissioned by: Lied-duo Heikkinen & Tilus
Publisher: Uusinta
Nurmes, Finland, 26th April 2013

Here is a film of The Albatross being performed in Helsinki in September 2009.

The Albatross

Often, for amusement, the sailing crew
catch that bird of the seas, the albatross;
companion on our voyage, it follows
the ship as it slides through the sea’s abyss.
When it has been dumped, this once-great sky king,
awkward and ashamed, onto the ship’s boards,
it pitifully drags its great white wings
along its feathered sides like useless oars.
This graceful voyager through shades of blue,
once beautiful, is now clumsy and weak;
one sailor mocks the cripple who once flew,
another stubs a pipe out on his beak.
The poet is just like this prince of clouds;
beyond range, above storms – these are his haunts;
exiled on Earth amidst a jeering crowd,
his giant wings won’t permit him to walk.

Copyright © R J Dent 2009

Here is a film of The Abyss being performed in Helsinki in September 2009.

The Abyss

Pascal had his abyss that followed him.
Everything is abyss: action, desire, dream – word.
I feel the wind of fear pass frequently
through my thick hair, which often stands on end,
up and down, everywhere, into the depths,
through silence, space, captivation, ugliness…
During my nights, a god with clever hands
draws never-ending multi-shaped nightmares
and I’m afraid of sleep – it’s a big hole
full of horrors that lead to the unknown.
Windows show me infinity. Seeing
it, my hurt mind suffers from vertigo.
How I envy the sense of nothingness;
I’m never free of numbers or of beings.

Copyright © R J Dent 2009

The music was composed and arranged by Outi Tarkiainen; the song lyrics are from R J Dent’s 2009 translation of Charles Baudelaire’s The Flowers of Evil.

Graphic - The Flowers of Evil & Artificial Paradise