Three songs by Ravel (written in 1913), to texts by Mallarmé, one of his favourite poets. (He had previously set the song Sainte in 1896.) It was a strange coincidence that Debussy also wrote settings of three Mallarmé poems at exactly the same time, selecting two of the same poems as Ravel: Soupir and Placet futile. The first performance was given to the Société Musicale Indépendante in Paris (14.i.1914) by Jane Bathori with the conductor D.-E. Inghelbrecht. The songs are dedicated as follows:
I. Soupir to Igor Stravinsky
II. Placet futile to Florent Schmitt
III. Surgi de la croupe et du bond to Erik Satie
The accompaniment is scored for piccolo, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, string quartet, and piano - the same forces as required for Stravinsky's Three Japanese lyrics with which the Mallarmé settings were first performed.
The text of the songs, with English translations, can be found on the Lied and Song Texts Page.