new visions in French-Canadian Music

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LA SÉRIE ENCHANTÉE – New visions in French-Canadian choral music

Dr. Laurier Fagnan has collected many beautiful and unique selections for the Cypress catalogue.  

“J’espère que vous trouverez les pièces suivantes captivantes et charmantes pour vos chœurs. Un énorme merci à tous nos compositeurs et harmonisateurs qui ont collaboré avec moi pour monter cette série dont nous pouvons toutes et tous être très fiers. Je me réjouis de penser que des chœurs de tous les coins du pays mettront leurs propres couleurs et interprétations à ces nouvelles créations qui couvrent toute une panoplie de genres et de styles. J’ai hâte de vous entendre chanter tout ça!”  Laurier Fagnan

“I hope you enjoy the marvelous French repertoire that I’ve had the pleasure to assemble for this new series. I’m most grateful to all of the composers and arrangers who graciously collaborated with artistic fervour to make this collection a reality.  It delights me to think that choirs from coast to coast will add their own unique colors and expressivity to these new creations that cover a full gamut of styles. I’m looking forward to hearing it all soon!” Laurier Fagnan

A la claire fontaine

arr. Larry Nickel

SATB with piano   –    CP 1321 – duration 3:45  
This song may have appeared as early as 1604, when the first French settlement was established in Quebec. A clear fountaine, a rose, and heart-break. Children sing this folk-song and adults relate to the deeper meanings.
Nickel gives the pentatonic melody evocative harmonization. This arrangement was premiered at the United Nations in Geneva. Please give a listen!

A la claire fontaine

arr. Mark Sirett

SA with piano   –    CP 1446 – duration 3:05 
This is the ideal setting for treble voices.

A la claire fontaine

arr. Stephen Smith

SATB a cappella   –    CP 1449 – duration 2:00  
This song may have appeared as early as 1604, when the first French settlement was established in Quebec. A clear fountaine, a rose, and heart-break. Children sing this folk-song and adults relate to the deeper meanings. Stephen’s setting is fresh and evocative.


arr. Michael Snelgrove

SSA with piano   –    CP 1535 – duration 4:25  
SATB with piano   –    CP 1536
Known the world over, this folksong is all about fun. Perhaps not so fun for the bird being threatened to have feathers plucked from multiple parts of the anatomy!

L'amour de moy

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh

SATB a cappella  –   CP 1701   – duration 4:50  
What is it about the nightingale that inspires so many poets? This lovely folksong gained popularity during the 1970’s with a recording by Nana Mouskouri. The Swingle Singers also recorded a beautiful rendition.  This setting by Erica has intuitive voice leading and long vocal lines – ideal for any choir!


by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings   –   CP 1436 – duration 3:20
Movement #1 from Meditations de la Vierge Marie. (available as a single score or the complete trilogy)

Le bas de Noël

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh, text by Mary Travers known as “La Bolduc”

SSA with piano   –    CP 1433 – duration 3:20  
Remove stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use!
Often considered to be Quebec’s first singer-songwriter, Mary Travers (known as “La Bolduc”) hit the peak of her career in the 1930s. She popularized the well-known turlutte (French Canadian mouth music) that is now synonymous with Québecois folk song. She wrote mainly political and satirical songs, but also a number of New Year’s songs, although this particular one is a Christmas song. Le bas de Noël, depicts the antics of a family as they meet to celebrate Christmas together. La Bolduc’s tongue-in-cheek tone is found even here in her non-political song.

This piece was premiered in 2007 as a commission by the CBC and was directed by Zimfira Poloz at the CBC-McGill Youth Gala Concert in Montréal. It is the second arrangement of three songs by La Bolduc, originally entitled, La Bolduc en fête.

Bien vite c’est le jour de l’An

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh, text “La Bolduc”

SSA with piano   –    CP 1434 – duration 2:00  
Mary Travers (known as “La Bolduc”) wrote mainly political and satirical songs, but also a number of New Year’s songs like this one. It speaks of families getting together for New Year’s – the good old times, the hugs and kisses, the gastronomical list of treats and of course, Grandma’s meat pie (tourtière).

Ça va venir

arr. by Jean-Charles Côté

SATB with piano   –    CP 1423 – duration 3:55   
Mary Rose-Anna Bolduc, née Travers, was a singer of French Canadian musician. She was known as Madame Bolduc or La Bolduc. During the peak of her popularity in the 1930s, she was known as the Queen of Canadian Folksingers. Jean-Charles has given a very convincing rendition of a Canadian classic.

Ce matin j’ai recontré le train

by Michael Murray

SATB a cappella   –    CP 1420 – duration 2:55  
Listen to this quality recording by musica intima – one of Canada’s finest choirs. Imagine being a bystander when the caravan with the three magi marches past on their way to Bethlehem.

C’est l’aviron

arr. Donald Patriquin

SSA with piano   –    CP 1445 – duration 4:30  
SATB with piano   –   CP 1453
This is a wonderful example of a folk song that came to Canada (Quebec) from Europe (France) and was made into a ‘local’ work song with the addition of a refrain– all sung to make the hard work enjoyable while paddling canoes on early Quebec’s waterways.

C’est dans le mois de mai

arr. Donald Patriquin

SATB with piano   –    CP 1655 – duration 4:00  
Another wonderful French-Canadian folksong arranged by our inimitable composer.
It is in the Month of May – going up the river,
The girls are beautiful – all the lovers change sweethearts
But I am not going to change because mine is too beautiful
She has beautiful blue eyes and a red mouth
How nice it would be to live with her

En passant par la Lorraine

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh

SATB with piano – CP 21078– duration 2:20  
SA with piano – CP 21073
En passant par la Lorraine is a catchy French folksong derived from a legend about the feisty Anne of Brittany (1488-1514) who, as queen, would wear wooden clogs in order to associate with the commoners. A great concert ender, this piece includes body percussion and a few hidden melodies (La Marseillaise and Wagner’s Bridal March). The lyrics are quite repetitive making this folksong accessible for non-francophone choirs.  Erica’s composer notes go into detail. click here.

L'étoile bleue

by Claudel Callender

SATB with piano or organ – CP 1737   – duration 3:45   
L’étoile bleue is a choral piece for a SATB choir, a soloist and organ accompaniment written on an original text depicting the nativity of Christ. It invites seekers to collect themselves and find inner peace and guidance through the symbol of the Star which led the meek to their saviour some two thousand years ago.s.


by Michel Conte, arr. Erica Phare-Bergh,

SATB with piano – CP 1551 – duration 8:20  
SSAA with piano – CP 1595
Evangeline is an epic poem that was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1847. It describes the betrothal of a fictional Acadian girl named Évangéline Bellefontaine to her beloved, Gabriel Lajeunesse, and their separation when the British deported the Acadians from Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, during the Bay of Fundy Campaign in 1755. The poem follows Evangeline as she spends years in search of Gabriel across America; sometimes she is near Gabriel without even realizing it. As an old woman, she works as a Sister of Mercy among the poor. While tending the dying during an epidemic, she finds Gabriel among the sick, and he sadly dies in her arms. The final verse of Michel Conte’s lyrics says, “Your name is more than Acadia…it stands for all those who, despite unhappiness, still believe in hope and love.”

L’enfant, l’oiseau et l’arbre

by Bruno Dufresne

SATB with piano  –  CP 1410 – duration 5:10
A bird, a tree, a child – with questions of happiness and loneliness. What a provoking trilogy to deal with the deep questions of our existence in such a charming way.

Histoire d'antan

by Gérard Jean, arr. Marcien Ferland

SATB with piano – CP 1725 – duration 3:30
On tour, on a rainy day far from home, a lonely musician offers his song as a gallant jest to the one he loves.
Il pleut : le musicien en tournée s’ennuie, loin de son amie. Il lui crée une chanson, prenant le rôle d’un troubadour galant.

J’appartiens (I Belong)

by France Levasseur-Ouimet,  arr.  Allan Bevan

SATB with piano   –    CP 1502 – duration 4:40
SSA with piano   –    CP 1524
Regardless of colour or creed, we are all immigrants – one way or another – and we all belong. This stirring anthem goes straight to the heart.

J’entends le moulin

arr. Michael Snelgrove

SATB with piano   –    CP 1534 – duration 3:10 
SSA with piano   –    CP 1533
This piece is a real barn burning showstopper for a skilled pianist and a choir that that loves adrenaline pumping music. This Canadian folksong has been around for generations and Michael takes it to a new level of energy and FUN. The text is repetitive and easy for any choir to catch on to.

Méditations de la Vierge Marie

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings – CP 1440 – duration 4:45
Grand in scope and poignant in effect, Marie-Claire has written this wonderful work for women’s choir. Poems from three different sources illuminate aspects of the immaculate conception.

Merci mon Maitre

by Marie -Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings   –    CP 1438 – duration 4:05
Movement #3 from Meditations de la Vierge Marie. (available as a single score or the complete trilogy)

Mes hivers

by France Levasseur-Ouimet, arr. Erica Phare-Bergh,

1 – Nuit d’hiver – SATB with piano – CP 2045
2 – Fille d’hiver – SSA with piano – CP 2046
3 – Merveilles de l’hiver – SATB with piano – CP 2047

France and Erica have created gorgeous choral music about the Winter season. Memorable melodies are enhanced with compelling lines for each singer, approachable intuitive voice leading and sumptuous harmonies. The piano player will appreciate the sparkling accompaniment. Dr. Laurier Fagnan commissioned the trilogy and added it to his collection “La série enchantée“.

Mon Pays (ce n’est pas un pays)

by Gilles Vigneault, arr. Larry Nickel

SATB with piano   –    CP 1313 – duration 4:30  
The song, with its lyrics about winds, cold, snow, and ice, of the solitude of wide open spaces and of the ideal of brotherhood, has become a kind of anthem in Quebec, with many people seeing it as expressing the free spirit of the province.

Noël existe-t-il encore?

by France Levasseur-Ouimet, arr. Allan Bevan 

SATB with piano – CP 1798   – duration 6:00  
This very thoughtful Christmas composition asks a serious question and gives an affirming answer.
Y’a des gens pour qui Noël n’est plus qu’un lourd fardeau de plus à porter
There are people for whom Christmas is more of a heavy burden than a celebration 

Noël nouvelet

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh

SSA with piano – CP 1402 – duration 1:45  
This early 16th Century carol in Dorian mode is believed to be a New Year’s song as it includes not only the Nativity, but also a the visit from the Magi, which is associated with Epiphany on January 6. The most complete text that we have dates from the Bible des Noëls anciens, 1791, which has all 13 verses.

O lumière bienheureuse

by Robert Ingari

SATB a cappella – CP 1447 – duration 4:15
O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful. Robert’s prayer really shines!


by Rémi St-Jacques

SATB a cappella – CP 1878 – duration 2.35
SATB with piano – CP 1879
SSA with piano – CP 1880

The life of a butterfly is short and beautiful. Our lives are also a short blip on the timeline – but can be beautiful and meaningful. The poet, Alphonse de Lamartine captures this metaphor and Rémi has rendered a convincing realization for choirs with lovely and convincing composition. A man who works with choirs, Rémi has hit the sweet-spot.


by France Levasseur-Ouimet arr Allan Bevan

SSA with piano – CP 1217 – duration 4:30
SATB with piano – CP 1261
France wrote the poignant melody and text, Allan wrote a masterful choral arrangement. Listen to a young choir from Lyon give it a beautiful rendition.
Speak to me of the sea. Tell me its story so that I may become a sailor.
Speak to me of the prairies. Tell me their story so that I may be able to see beyond the horizon.
Speak to me of the earth. Tell me its story so that I may become its guardian.

Pont Mirabeau, Le

by Jeff Enns

SATB with piano  –  CP 1612 – duration 4:30
Guillaume Apollinaire’s bittersweet poem was an inspiration to Jeff Enns. The author looks over the railing and thinks “loves flows away like water under this bridge.” Jeff specializes in big fat chords. A good choir would love creating these gorgeous sonorities.

Quittez pasteurs

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh

SA (two part) with piano – CP 1422 – duration 2:25 
This is an SA arrangement of an old Flemish tune with the French text first appearing in the Recueil de noëls angevins (1874). Listen for the hint of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and a lot of open fifth bagpipe bourdons embedded in the accompaniment that give it a pastoral feel.

Le secret de Dieu

by Marie-Claire Saindon

SSAA with keyboard or strings  –   CP 1437 – duration 4:30
Movement #2 from Meditations de la Vierge Marie. (available as a single score or as the complete trilogy)

Vient le jour

by Robert Ingari

SATB a cappella and cello  –   CP 1414 – duration 8:50
This is some of Robert’s finest handiwork. Please give a listen.

Voici mon secret

by George Chung

SATB a cappella  –  CP 1409 – duration 2:05
A life affirming poem from “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. George is very skilled at writing intuitive and evocative voice leading. This fresh composition really communicates.

Voilà l’Père Noël

arr. Erica Phare-Bergh

SSA with piano    –     CP 1432 – duration 1:40  
SATB with piano    –     CP 1484
Mary Travers (known as “La Bolduc”) wrote mainly political and satirical songs, but also a number of New Year’s songs. However, this song is actually a Christmas song in which children are being admonished to go to bed early to ensure that when Santa arrives with his reindeer and gifts, he will be in a good mood.

Le voyage d'un oiseau d'été

by Rémi St-Jacques

SA with piano  – CP 1796 – duration 3:55

The journey of the summer bird, migration, is a theme that people everywhere can identify with; leaving home to places unknown, taking a risk, seeking a better existence when confronted by difficulties (bad weather?). Birds fly south and people also move on with their lives.  Rémi has crafted a lovely marriage of melody and text in sweet-spot registers – with a flowing piano accompaniment.