Friday, January 14, 2011

Cantique de Jean Racine

So everyone remembers that famous scene in Babe.  Okay, I know what you're thinking...Is there a famous scene in that movie?  Is Babe able to be 'relateable' to famous at all?  Okay, so for those of you who attached themselves to that innocent movie like I did in my youth...Go with me for a moment.  The night of the terrible storm.  The one before the big show with the Boss.  Where the cat disses the pig and he runs off somewhere.  Well the memorable part for me was the T.V. show the Boss was watching, more noticeably, the girls' rendition of Cantique de Jean Racine.  I felt it was almost a form of blasphemy that the piece was knocked about by the storm.  How could a director, with any sense of artistic sensitivity cut out such a beautiful piece???

I'm very Irish.  It's true, I'm even a hot head when I'm drunk (not that that happens too often;)  So when I heard the title of this very French piece, I assumed it was a song to a lady that Faure was enfatuated with.  Boy was I wrong!  Turns out this song is actually a hymn of praise to our Lord.  And I've decided tonight that it is a Hymn I want sung at my Funeral.

Here are the lyrics' translations and then please enjoy a beautiful piece with me.  I promise, disaster aside, that the power will not be knocked out in the middle of this piece:)...

Word, equal to the Most High, our only hope,
Eternal day of the earth and the heavens,
From the peaceful night we break the silence,
Divine Savior, cast your eyes upon us!

Spread upon us the fire of your powerful wisdom
May all hell disappear at the sound of your voice;
Dispel that slumber of a languishing soul,
Which has driven it to forget your way!

Oh Christ, be favourable to this faithful people
Now gathered to bless you.
Receive the songs it offers to your immortal glory,
And may it return filled with your gifts!


  1. I agree, it was near blasphemy for the power to go out when it did. I just found out a few days ago that the melody from Babe that haunted me for 10 years was Faure's "Cantique de Jean Racine." And just in case you're wondering.. the famous "if I had words" song is really from the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony (last movement). =)

  2. Do you know if that arrangement was just for the movie or is there a recording of that arrangement performed in full?

  3. There is a Blu-Ray Disc available which has Faure's Cantique de Jean Racine beautifully done by a 100 Voice Chorus, L'Orchestre de Paris under Paavo Jarvi, their new Conductor, AND Faure's Requiem, AND "By the Rivers of Babylon" (I prefer the Bony M Version) AND Faure's Pavane. You will sleep like a Baby after seeing and listening to this Music. It's available from, but I bought it cheaper from - ENJOY!

  4. Most of the arrangements I have seen are large-scale, but I really like the intimacy of the recording used in the movie. I would love it if someone knew more about that specific performance of the song.