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Track(s) taken from CDA68021/4

La fraîcheur et le feu, FP147

composer
April to July 1950; Sept mélodies sur des poèmes de Paul Éluard; dedicated to Igor Stravinsky
author of text
1940; Le livre ouvert I

Christopher Maltman (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: March 2011
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 8 minutes 10 seconds
 
Main dominée par le cœur
1
Rayons des yeux  [1'12]
2
Le matin les branches attisent  [0'45]
3
Tout disparut  [1'34]
4
Dans les ténèbres du jardin  [0'31]
5
Unis la fraîcheur et le feu  [1'15]
6
Homme au sourire tendre  [1'52]
7
La grande rivière qui va  [1'01]

Other recordings available for download

John Mark Ainsley (tenor), 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)
The poems for this cycle were taken from Paul Éluard’s Le livre ouvert I (1940). Very unusually for Poulenc he decided to set a complete Éluard poem exactly as printed, in seven numbered sections (its original title was Vue donne Vie, ‘Sight gives life’), only later asking the poet for an alternative title. (It is strange that Poulenc adored Éluard’s poems—he would never have changed their poetic content—but he very seldom found the original titles suitable for his musical purposes.) Poulenc wrote the songs in Noizay and Brive between April and July 1950—a full decade after the poems were written in the first year of the Nazi occupation. Thirteen years had elapsed since the composition of Tel jour telle nuit. The cycle is dedicated to Igor Stravinsky, whose music Poulenc had admired since his teens and who was now resident in America. Poulenc once said that he regarded himself as the spiritual son of Stravinsky, but he wrote to Milhaud that he was pleased to be able to dedicate something to ‘père Igor’ in a form for which Stravinsky did not possess the secret (i.e. the writing of songs).

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013

Other albums featuring this work

Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3
Studio Master: SIGCD272Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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