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The song first appeared on the second studio album Ainsi soit je… released in April 1988.
Words of the song by Charles Baudelaire. Music, production, arrangements and direction by Laurent Boutonnat. This song is an adaptation of Baudelaire’s poem, L’Horloge, which closes the Spleen at Idéal des Fleurs du mal section.
By the way, how many times do we see a word “spleen” in Mylene’s lyrics?
“Baudelaire is a cursed poet, good but he is above all a poet whom I like. I appreciate his neuroses, his persecutions, and then the choice of L’Horloge because the notion of passing time, does not leave me indifferent. Baudelaire has an incredible writing. Perhaps the audience of the Top 50 does not know him but it is not very serious on the contrary, it can provoke in him, a discovery more accessible than through the collections. Laurent Boutonnat composed this music and it seemed obvious to me to include this poem that I have in memory for a long time. Without comparing myself to Léo Ferré,
I think that our approaches are similar … ” (Mylène Farmer – “Grafifti” – April 1988)
“I really like Léo Ferré, this narrative side of some of his titles. We thought about it by listening to a composition again. Baudelaire almost naturally imposed himself for this type of approach. ” (Mylène Farmer – ” L’Est Républicain “- 10/30/1988 )
“The theme of passing time obsesses me. It is one of his most beautiful poems, one of those which has not been dissected ” (Mylène Farmer – ” L’Est Républicain “- 10/30/1988)
L’Horloge was sung on all the dates of Tour 89 from May 11 to December 8, 1989. Arrangements for the stage: Laurent Boutonnat and Bruno Fontaine.
L’Horloge is the show’s first song.
From the release of the album Ainsi Soit Je … in April 1988, Mylène was already thinking of opening the show with this title:
“The stage, it becomes more and more a desire! Baudelaire could open this stage; it is an idea.” (Mylène Farmer – “Grafifti” – April 1988)
L’Horloge has a key role in the show both for the scenario and for the setting:
“The basic idea was the inexorable flow of time. We therefore chose an arrangement based on the round of the seasons, organized around Baudelaire’s L’Horloge (..) The setting was not really a cemetery. started from photos of Stonehenge that I had found – ruined, mysteriously arranged stones, a veritable observatory of the planets, which tells the story of men in the face of time. There was an obvious symbolic connection with the central idea of seasons and time That it was dressed in cemetery clothes in the end, it is a drift, no doubt, but which also tells the ‘murderous time’ of which L’Horloge speaks (Gilles Laurent – “IAO” – 2006)
Paris La Défense Arena 2019
Mylène sings L’Horloge during the nine concerts at Paris La Défense Arena from June 07 to 22, 2019.This is the finale of the show. Arrangements for the stage: Olivier Schultheis. The effect of the grand finale is indescribable. The crematorium like fire takes over the entire stage in one gigantic flame which doesn’t leave anyone untouched just like no one can resist the flame of time. Sooner or later, it will consume each and every one of us…Some will burn in an instant while others will turn to ashes slowly. But nevertheless, it is a necessary rule of our such short of a human existence. The fire also cleans, and if we can find enough of prospective and appreciate this act of transformation as a biggest blessing of all, we might be able to comprehend the genius of Baudelaire and Mylene.
Dramatically Mylene delivers powerful message to us: “remember, you are dust and unto dust you shall return.”
Full 2019 concert in Full HD. The song starts at 1h:47 min https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1EJ411t71F/?spm_id_from=333.788.videocard.11
Do you know that Jean-Louis Murat also has his version of L’Horloge. But I will leave you to listen with no further comments.
The background images during the live concert strongly reminiscent of the famous painting by Vasily Vereshchagin The Apotheosis of War
The background is reminiscent of Teatro di San Carlo de Napoli’s production of Bellini’s Norma, Teatre Principal, Palma, Spain (June 2018).
Gorgeous piano cover from an incredibly talented fan of Mylene’s Stas Krainikovskiy. Visit his channel for more compositions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yf2N2XvLSm8
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lyrics with translation
Horloge ! dieu sinistre, effrayant, impassible
Dont le doigt nous menace et nous dit "Souviens-toi !
Les vibrantes Douleurs dans ton coeur plein d'effroi
Se planteront bientôt comme dans une cible"
"Le Plaisir vaporeux fuira vers l'horizon
Ainsi qu'une sylphide au fond de sa coulisse
Chaque instant te dévore un morceau du délice
A chaque homme accord‚ pour tout sa saison
"Trois mille six cent fois par heure, la Seconde
Chuchote: Souviens-toi ! - Rapide, avec sa voix
D'insecte, Maintenant dit : Je suis Autrefois,
Et j'ai pompé ta vie avec ma trompe immonde !
"Remember ! Souviens-toi, prodigue Esto memor !
(Mon gosier de métal parle toutes les langues)
Les minutes, mortel folâtre, sont des gangues
Qu'il ne faut pas lâcher sans en extraire l'or !
"Souviens-toi que le temps est un joueur avide
Qui gagne sans tricher, à tout coup ! c'est la loi
Le jour décroît ; la nuit augmente, souviens-toi !
Le gouffre a toujours soif: la clepsydre se vide
"Tantôt sonnera l'heure où le divin Hasard,
Où l'auguste Vertu, ton épouse encore vierge,
Où le repentir même (oh ! la dernière auberge !)
Où tout te dira : Meurs, vieux lâche ! il est trop tard !
Clock! sinister, frightening, impassive god
Whose finger threatens us and says "Remember!
The vibrating pains in your heart full of fear
Will soon be planted as in a target".
"The vaporous Pleasure will flee towards the horizon
Like a sylph in the depths of its backstage
Each moment devours you a piece of the delight
To each man tune' for all his season
"Three thousand six hundred times an hour, the Second
Whispers: Remember! - Quickly, with its voice
Of an insect, Now says: I am Formerly,
And I pumped your life with my foul trunk!
"Remember! Remember, prodigal Esto memor!
(My metal gullet speaks all languages)
The minutes, mortal fool, are gangues
That you must not let go without extracting the gold!
"Remember that time is a greedy player
Who wins without cheating, every time! it is the law
The day decreases; the night increases, remember!
The abyss is always thirsty: the clepsydra is empty
"Soon will sound the hour when the divine Chance,
When the august Virtue, your still virgin wife,
Where repentance itself (oh! the last inn!)
Where all will say to you: Die, old coward! it is too late!