As I was working on this transcription of Ernest Chausson’s Poème de l’amour et de la mer op. 19 for voice, string quartet and piano, I wanted above all to respect the absolute uniqueness of that work, achieving in a large-scale musical fresco the coexistence of the symphonic sweep with the intimacy of the French art song.
With the marvelous example of the Chanson perpétuelle, a later work though with a totally different agenda of expression, but also written with an accompaniment of piano and string quartet, we can rightfully imagine that Chausson would have transcribed himself his Poème for this kind of ensemble, had he not prematurely passed away.
I was at first intimidated by the perfection of the orchestral version of this work and I really thought about the artistic legitimacy of this transcription. Then, I remembered how frequent this kind of adaptation was in the 19th century, always in the salutary aim of making new music better known and more appreciated, and it occurred to me that this third version would provide further insight about this piece without affecting its integrity.