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Hyperion Records

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Ophelia by Arthur Hughes (1832-1915)
Reproduced by courtesy of the City of Manchester Art Galleries
Track(s) taken from CDA66136
Recording details: May 1984
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: July 1988
Total duration: 2 minutes 12 seconds

Fancy, FP174
composer
August 1959
author of text
The Merchant of Venice III:2

Other recordings available for download
Geraldine McGreevy (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction
The plays of Shakespeare (and this poem comes from the casket scene in The Merchant of Venice) were out of the range of Poulenc’s usual literary interests. Marion, Countess of Harewood, invited Poulenc to contribute a setting to Classical Songs for Children, an anthology she had put together with Ronald Duncan, published in 1964. She asked Britten and Kodály to set the same poem and all three composers obliged; it was the Countess’s close link with Britten that worked wonders, though the other composers took longer than Poulenc to answer the request. Poulenc disliked visiting seaside towns, and was intensely uncomfortable in Aldeburgh for his one and only visit there in 1956, but he was fond of Britten and Pears (and they of him) and he was a deep admirer of Britten’s genius. This little setting was dedicated ‘To Miles and Flora’, the child characters in Britten’s opera The Turn of the Screw. Poulenc consulted Bernac regarding the English prosody, and still failed to get it absolutely right … ‘Or in the heart, or in the head?’). The song makes a charming epilogue to a disc that shows his ability to encompass different national styles and evoke the music of earlier epochs. It is, of course, Poulenc’s only song in English and part of its enduring charm is that it is utterly un-English in style.

from notes by Graham Johnson 2013


Other albums featuring this work
'Poulenc: The Complete Songs' (CDA68021/4)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs
MP3 £23.99FLAC £23.99ALAC £23.99Buy by post £30.00 CDA68021/4  4CDs for the price of 3  

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