Hyperion Records

Apollinaire, Guillaume (1880-1918)  
Guillaume Apollinaire in Picasso’s studio

Guillaume Apollinaire

born: 26 August 1880
died: 9 November 1918
country: France

Guillaume Apollinaire was the pseudonym of Wilhelm Apollinaris de Kostrowitsky, born in Rome on 26 August 1880, the first of two illegitimate sons of Angelica de Kostrowitsky, a down-at-heel noblewoman of Polish-Russian stock, and Francesco Flugi d’Aspermont, a feckless Italian playboy-aristocrat. In 1885, the abandoned Angelica moved to France with her children; until the age of seven the young Wilhelm spoke only Polish and Italian. Guillaume (as he became) went to school in Cannes and subsequently in Nice where he did not bother to finish his baccalauréat. The upheavals Apollinaire later effected in French literature, and the insouciance and charm with which these were accomplished, were no doubt symptoms of his disrupted childhood and polyglot background (because Apollinaire was naturalized only in 1916, the greatest French poet of the early twentieth century was a citizen of France for only the last thirty-two months of his life). In 1897, at the age of seventeen, he was already as interested in anarchism as in the prevailing orthodoxy of symbolism—indeed he was destined to become the liquidator of symbolism (a Debussy song to an Apollinaire text thus seems an impossible thought, although the two men died in the same year).

After a year of Bohemian-living in Monaco, Guillaume moved to Paris with his family in 1899—a city of which he had long dreamed and which he idealized. Excluded from the literary establishment, the daily challenge of the young poet (‘un peu bête et trop blond’) was to escape poverty by whatever means necessary—he became an odd-jobs man of the printed word, putting together hasty anthologies, writing articles for other writers (a practice known as ‘faire le nègre’), and proving himself a master-pornographer, admired not only for his salacious imagination, but for his style and wit. Apollinaire’s beloved Paris now became a base for travel on a shoestring. In 1899 he and his brother Albert (passing themselves off as Russian nobility) lived for a while near Liège, where they learned the local dialect, explored the Walloon countryside and engaged in amatory adventures. More in earnest was Guillaume’s futile courtship of Linda Molina in 1901. Striking it lucky in the same year with Vicomtesse Milhau who needed a tutor for her daughter, Apollinaire was whisked off to Germany and discovered the Rhineland at the same time as initiating an affair with Annie Playden, English governess of the Milhau children, a relationship that was to drag on for three years. In February 1902 the poet visited Cologne during the Carnival and went on to visit Berlin and Dresden. In March he took in Prague, Vienna and Munich.

Apollinaire’s fortunes improved somewhat in 1903 when a job was found for him in Paris working in a bank. He visited London in the vain hope of persuading Annie to elope with him. At this time he began to meet more important people in artistic circles: the writers Max Jacob, André Salmon and Alfred Jarry, and the painters Picasso and Derain (the latter illustrated Apollinaire’s first book, L’enchanteur pourrissant, in 1909). In 1905 he visited Holland; by 1907 he left his mother’s apartment and moved into his own lodgings in Montmartre where he frequented the louche bars and the famous Bateau-Lavoir, the nickname for the insalubrious building in Montmartre where avant-garde artists, mainly painters (including Picasso), had taken up residence. Apollinaire’s profound knowledge of modern painting and his famous book Les peintres cubistes (1913) have their origin in this period. In 1908 Picasso introduced the poet to the painter Marie Laurencin with whom Apollinaire had a passionate and stormy affair. Marie terminated the liaison in 1912 on account of the poet’s jealousy and his incorrigible infidelities; there remained, nevertheless, an emotional link between them. Apollinaire’s poetry implies, disingenuously, that women habitually mistreated him, but his perpetually roving eye was largely to blame for the failure of his relationships.

During these years poems by Apollinaire appeared in various reviews and newspapers. In 1911 he published Le bestiaire où le cortège d’Orphée, poems set by Poulenc seven years later. The woodcuts were by Raoul Dufy, although the poet would have preferred Picasso. He spent some days in prison, bizarrely suspected of being mixed up in the famous theft of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa from the Louvre; as a Russian national he risked deportation from France. (He was an associate of someone who had regularly stolen other artefacts from the museum.) This low point was followed by increasing literary success, although it was lost on nobody that the poet kept questionable company and was a ‘wide boy’ ready to sweep aside with audacity the accepted way of doing things—serving the pizza with a florid gesture, as someone put it, while fixing the lady with a long and languorous look—hardly in the tradition of the impeccably disinterested French waiter. At the same time he sincerely professed himself a dyed-in-the-wool Parisian and patriotic Frenchman precisely because he was neither Parisian nor French; like an Indian-born writer bemoaning the end of the British aristocracy, he revelled in a nostalgia for a vieille France that another side of his nature sought to modernize by any and every means, even if his rampages might result in its destruction.

1913 saw the publication of Apollinaire’s most famous collection of poetry, Alcools. On the outbreak of war in 1914 he volunteered immediately but, as a Russian citizen, encountered a barrier of red tape. In September of that year in Nice he met Louise de Coligny-Chatillon (‘Lou’) who temporarily resisted his advances. He then successfully enlisted in the 38th infantry regiment at Nîmes. In December 1914 ‘Lou’ capitulated to the poet in uniform and the couple spent an idyllic week together. On a train journey to Nice-Nîmes in January 1915 Apollinaire met the young Madeleine Pagès to whom he became engaged later in that year. The following Easter he was sent to the front at Champagne; by November 1915 he had been promoted to sub-lieutenant in the 96th regiment and had experienced the horror of the trenches. On 17 March 1916 he suffered a head-wound from shrapnel at Berry-au-Bac and underwent a lengthy convalescence and sub-cranial surgery. The relationship with Madeleine Pagès had petered out. In September his collection of stories, Le poète assassiné was published. Although only thirty-six himself, he had already become the idol of a group of younger men who espoused the literary avant-garde—Breton, Tzara, Reverdy and Cocteau. He wrote the programme note for the Cocteau-Satie ballet Parade in 1917; shortly afterwards his play Les mamelles de Tirésias was performed, the work for which he first formulated the label ‘surrealist’; in 1946 Poulenc was to turn it into an opera, his greatest homage to the poet. During his recuperation from a lung infection the poet met Jacqueline Kolb who became his wife shortly afterwards. The poet, weakened by his illnesses, died of Spanish flu on 9 November 1918.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013

Albums
'Durey: Songs' (CDA67257)
Durey: Songs
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA67257  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'La Procession' (CDA66248)
La Procession
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66248  Archive Service  
'Poulenc: Secular choral music' (CDA66798)
Poulenc: Secular choral music
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66798  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'Poulenc: The Complete Songs' (CDA68021/4)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs
Buy by post £30.00 CDA68021/4  4CDs for the price of 3  
'Poulenc: Voyage à Paris' (CDH55366)
Poulenc: Voyage à Paris
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55366  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'Le Bestiaire' (A66149)
Le Bestiaire
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) A66149  Archive Service (LP transfer)   This album is not available for download
Alphabetical listing of all musical works
1904  No 4 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
À Strasbourg en 1904  First line to 1904, No 4 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Adieu Amour nuage qui fuit et n'a pas chu pluie  First line to Voyage, No 7 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Adieu Amour nuage qui fuit et n'a pas chu pluie féconde  First line to Voyage, No 7 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Admirez le pouvoir insigne  First line to Orphée, Orpheus poem 1 of Le bestiaire (Apollinaire)
Ah! la charmante chose  First line to Voyage à Paris, No 4 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Allons plus vite  No 2 of Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP94 (Poulenc)
Au bord de l’île on voit  First line to La Grenouillère, FP96 (Poulenc)
Aussi bien que les cigales  No 6 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Avant le cinéma  No 3 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Avec ses quatre dromadaires  First line to Le dromadaire, No 1 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Avec ses quatre dromadaires  First line to Le dromadaire, No 9 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Belles journées, souris du temps  First line to La souris, No 1 of Deux mélodies, FP162 (Poulenc)
Belles journées, souris du temps  First line to La souris, No 10 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Bleuet, FP102 (Poulenc)
Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Carte postale  No 2 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Ce chérubin dit la louange  First line to Le bœuf, No 26 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Certes si nous avions vécu en l’an dix-sept cent soixante  First line to Dans le jardin d'Anna, No 1 of Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP94 (Poulenc)
Chanson  No 2 of Trois poèmes de Louise Lalanne, FP57 (Poulenc)
Chanson d'Orkenise  No 1 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Colombe, l’amour et l’esprit  First line to La colombe, No 2 of Deux mélodies inédites du bestiaire, FP15b (Poulenc)
Colombe, l’amour et l’esprit  First line to La colombe, No 22 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Comme un éléphant son ivoire  First line to L'éléphant, No 11 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Dans le jardin d'Anna  No 1 of Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP94 (Poulenc)
Dans vos viviers, dans vos étangs  First line to La carpe, No 6 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Dans vos viviers, dans vos étangs  First line to La carpe, No 20 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Dauphins, vous jouez dans la mer  First line to Le dauphin, No 4 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Dauphins, vous jouez dans la mer  First line to Le dauphin, No 16 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Deux dames le long du fleuve  First line to Le pont, No 1 of Deux mélodies sur des poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP131 (Poulenc)
Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Deux mélodies inédites du bestiaire, FP15b (Poulenc)
Deux mélodies sur des poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP131 (Poulenc)
Deux mélodies, FP162 (Poulenc)
Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP94 (Poulenc)
Du Thrace magique, ô délire!  First line to La tortue, No 1 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
En faisant la roue, cet oiseau  First line to Le paon, No 23 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Et le soir vient et les lys meurent  First line to Allons plus vite, No 2 of Deux poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP94 (Poulenc)
Et puis ce soir on s’en ira  First line to Avant le cinéma, No 3 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Fagnes de Wallonie  No 3 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Gens du midi gens du midi  First line to Aussi bien que les cigales, No 6 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Hôtel  No 2 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Hyde Park  No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Ibis  No 25 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Il est entré  First line to Un poème, No 2 of Deux mélodies sur des poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP131 (Poulenc)
Il pleut  No 4 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Incertitude, ô mes délices  First line to L'écrevisse, No 5 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Incertitude, ô mes délices  First line to L'écrevisse, No 19 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Je connais un autre connin  First line to Le lapin, No 8 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Je souhaite dans ma maison  First line to Le chat, No 5 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Jeanne Houhou la très gentille  First line to L'anguille, No 1 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Jetant son encre vers les cieux  First line to Le poulpe, No 17 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Jeune homme de vingt ans  First line to Bleuet, FP102 (Poulenc)
L’ombre de la très douce est évoquée ici  First line to Carte postale, No 2 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
La blanche neige  No 1 of Sept Chansons (Poulenc)
La carpe  No 6 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
La carpe  No 20 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La chenille  No 12 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La chèvre du Thibet  No 2 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
La colombe  No 2 of Deux mélodies inédites du bestiaire, FP15b (Poulenc)
La colombe  No 22 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La femelle de l’alcyon  First line to Orphée, Orpheus poem 4 of Le bestiaire (Apollinaire)
La grâce exilée  No 5 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
La Grenouillère, FP96 (Poulenc)
La méduse  No 18 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La mouche  No 13 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La puce  No 14 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La puce (Poulenc)
La sauterelle  No 3 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
La sauterelle  No 15 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La souris  No 1 of Deux mélodies, FP162 (Poulenc)
La souris  No 10 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
La tortue  No 1 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
L'anguille  No 1 of Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Le bestiaire (Apollinaire)
Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Le bœuf  No 26 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le chat  No 5 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le cheval  No 2 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le chèvre du Thibet  No 3 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le dauphin  No 4 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Le dauphin  No 16 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le dromadaire  No 1 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Le dromadaire  No 9 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le hibou  No 24 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le lapin  No 8 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le lièvre  No 7 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le lion  No 6 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le paon  No 23 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le pont  No 1 of Deux mélodies sur des poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP131 (Poulenc)
Le poulpe  No 17 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le serpent  No 1 of Deux mélodies inédites du bestiaire, FP15b (Poulenc)
Le serpent  No 4 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Le travail mène à la richesse  First line to La chenille, No 12 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
L'écrevisse  No 5 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
L'écrevisse  No 19 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
L'éléphant  No 11 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Les Faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les Faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les Faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les Faiseurs de religions  First line to Hyde Park, No 2 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Les myrtilles sont pour la dame  First line to Chanson, No 2 of Trois poèmes de Louise Lalanne, FP57 (Poulenc)
Les poils de cette chèvre et même  First line to La chèvre du Thibet, No 2 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Les poils de cette chèvre et même  First line to Le chèvre du Thibet, No 3 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Les sirènes  No 21 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
L'espionne  No 1 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Longtemps au pied du perron de  First line to Rosemonde, FP158 (Poulenc)
Ma chambre a la forme d'une cage  First line to Hôtel, No 2 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Ma chambre à la forme d'une cage  First line to Hôtel, No 2 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Marie  No 6 of Sept Chansons (Poulenc)
Méduses, malheureuses têtes  First line to La méduse, No 18 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Mes durs rêves formels sauront te chevaucher  First line to Le cheval, No 2 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Mon pauvre cœur est un hibou  First line to Le hibou, No 24 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Montparnasse  No 1 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Mutation  No 2 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Ne sois pas lascif et peureux  First line to Le lièvre, No 7 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Nos mouches savent des chansons  First line to La mouche, No 13 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Notre amour est réglé par les calmes étoiles  First line to Sanglots, No 5 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Ô lion, malheureuse image  First line to Le lion, No 6 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Ô porte de l'hôtel avec deux plantes vertes  First line to Montparnasse, No 1 of Deux mélodies de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP127 (Poulenc)
Oui, j’irai dans l’ombre terreuse  First line to Ibis, No 25 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Pâle espionne de l’Amour  First line to L'espionne, No 1 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Par les portes d’Orkenise  First line to Chanson d'Orkenise, No 1 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Puces, amis, amantes même  First line to La puce (Poulenc)
Puces, amis, amantes même  First line to La puce, No 14 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Quatre poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP58 (Poulenc)
Que ton cœur soit l’appât et le ciel, la piscine!  First line to Orphée, Orpheus poem 3 of Le bestiaire (Apollinaire)
Regardez cette troupe infecte  First line to Orphée, Orpheus poem 2 of Le bestiaire (Apollinaire)
Rosemonde, FP158 (Poulenc)
Saché-je d’où provient, sirènes, votre ennui  First line to Les sirènes, No 21 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Sanglots  No 5 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Sept Chansons (Poulenc)
Tant de tristesses plénières  First line to Fagnes de Wallonie, No 3 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Trois poèmes de Louise Lalanne, FP57 (Poulenc)
Tu t’acharnes sur la beauté  First line to Le serpent, No 1 of Deux mélodies inédites du bestiaire, FP15b (Poulenc)
Tu t’acharnes sur la beauté  First line to Le serpent, No 4 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Un poème  No 2 of Deux mélodies sur des poèmes de Guillaume Apollinaire, FP131 (Poulenc)
Une femme qui pleurait  First line to Mutation, No 2 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Va-t’en va-t’en mon arc-en-ciel  First line to La grâce exilée, No 5 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Vers le sud  No 3 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Voici la fine sauterelle  First line to La sauterelle, No 3 of Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a (Poulenc)
Voici la fine sauterelle  First line to La sauterelle, No 15 of Le bestiaire, Op 17a (Durey)
Voyage  No 7 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
Voyage à Paris  No 4 of Banalités, FP107 (Poulenc)
Zénith  First line to Vers le sud, No 3 of Calligrammes, FP140 (Poulenc)
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