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Track(s) taken from CDA68021/4

Trois poèmes de Louise de Vilmorin, FP91

composer
December 1937; dedicated to Marie-Blanche de Polignac
author of text

Ailish Tynan (soprano), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: July 2008
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 6 minutes 24 seconds
 
Métamorphoses
1
Le garçon de Liège  Un garçon de conte de fée  [1'33]
2
Au-delà  Eau-de-vie! Au-delà!  [1'32]
3

Other recordings available for download

Lorna Anderson (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Reviews

'Johnson's playing is marvellous, virtuosic where needed, but above all attuned to every nuance of his singers. This really is a multifaceted release: the blending of the art forms that was characteristic of Poulenc's time, where poets were absorbed by painters, and composers by poets, alongside the 15 singers gathered on these discs, together with the chameleon-like nature of Poulenc's own genius, all make for an enterprise of dazzling complexity. The recording quality is exemplary, combining clarity with a perfect bloom on the piano sound' (International Record Review)

'There are some outstanding performances: Christopher Maltman's account of Miroirs brûlants and La fraîcheur et le feu (both based on Eluard), and the Calligrammes (on Apollinaire's texts) are worth the price on their own, while Sarah Fox is just as persuasive in Les chemins de l'amour as she is in Tel jour telle nuit. There are telling contributions, too, from Ailish Tynan, Susan Bickley and Ben Johnson, and a brief appearance in the Quatre chansons pour enfants by the English grande dame of French song Felicity Lott. Touchingly, one work also features the voice of baritone Pierre Bernac, Poulenc's recital partner, for whom many of the songs were composed; he's the narrator in a 1977 recording of L'histoire de Babar and the whole set is dedicated to his memory. It's a gorgeous collection, and for sometime Poulenc sceptics like me, a real revelation' (The Guardian)» More

'Especially enjoyable is the final disc, subtitled Fancy. Soprano Susan Bickley is superb in Poulenc’s early Poèmes de Ronsard—sparky settings of Renaissance poetry, and Ashley Riches has fun with the better-known Chansons gaillardes. The Huit chansons polonaises, sung by Agnieszka Adamczak, pay oblique homage to Poulenc’s beloved Chopin. There’s not a weak link among the vocal cast, and there’s even a cameo from the great Felicity Lott. A wonderful bonus is the inclusion of a 1970s BBC taping of Babar, narrated with impeccable grace and wit by Poulenc’s long-time recital partner Pierre Bernac. Johnson’s accessible, comprehensive notes deserve to be published in book form, and Hyperion generously provide full texts and translations. These songs will comfort the most jaded of palates, and this box set contains enough riches to sustain a lifetime’s listening. In Johnson’s words, Poulenc’s music 'has seemed dark and joyous, accessible and remote, imperishable yet infinitely fragile, and now it is in the hands of a younger generation'.' (TheArtsDesk.com)
Louise de Vilmorin (1902–1969) was a member of the family whose celebrated firm still supplies the well-to-do French middle classes with flower and vegetable seeds. ‘Few people move me as much as Louise de Vilmorin’, wrote Poulenc in JdmM, ‘because she is beautiful, because she is lame, because she writes French of an innate purity, because her name evokes flowers and vegetables, because she loves her brothers like a lover and her lovers like a sister. Her beautiful face recalls the seventeenth century, as does the sound of her name.’ She was a friend of Marie-Blanche de Polignac, who was originally the recipient of the third poem in the set as a Christmas present in 1935. Poulenc read the poem and immediately encouraged Louise to write more. The composer was charming in his insistence, and the poet eventually complied; all three of the songs that were brought to birth as a result were dedicated to Marie-Blanche, who sang them exquisitely—although no recording survives.

Though less well known and far less performed than the cycle Fiançailles pour rire this is a masterful group of songs composed, significantly I think, after the composer’s reconversion to Catholicism (at the shrine of the Black Virgin at Rocamadour in the Dordogne in 1936). It is the first set of songs to be composed after the great Éluard song cycle Tel jour telle nuit, and is the first specifically female cycle—bearing in mind that Tel jour telle nuit concludes with as wonderful a hymn to a woman’s deeper qualities, in fact Éluard’s hymn to his wife Nusch, that has ever been penned by a French composer.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013

Other albums featuring this work

Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1
Studio Master: SIGCD247Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available