Above: the poet Jean de la Ville de Mirmont
Gabriel Fauré's atmospheric song-cycle L'horizon chimérique consists of four rather short airs, set to poems by Jean de la Ville de Mirmont. Composed in 1921, this set of songs was the last vocal music brought forth by Fauré, who died in 1924.
The writing career of Jean de la Ville de Mirmont, a native of Bourdeaux, came to an end with the outbreak of The Great War: the soldier-poet was killed in battle in November 1914, just a few weeks shy of his 27th birthday. The above plaque marks the place where he lived and wrote up to the time of his enlistment in the military.
The poet was intrigued from his youth by the sea and stories of ocean voyages. The four poems Fauré set are: 'La mer est infinie', 'Je me suis embarqué', 'Diane, Séléné', and 'Vaisseaux, nous vous aurons aimés'.
Listen to this atmospheric work here, in Sir Thomas Allen's handsome recording: