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Track(s) taken from CDA68021/4

Pierrot, FP66

First line:
Le bon Pierrot, que la foule contemple
composer
18 May 1933
author of text

Brandon Velarde (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
Recording details: January 2012
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: October 2013
Total duration: 0 minutes 51 seconds
 
Parisiana
1

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 autograph of this song was recovered from the files of the publisher Salabert and it is highly unlikely that Poulenc intended to publish it. The poet Théodore de Banville (1823–1891), the highly skilled precursor of the Parnassians, was completely outside Poulenc’s area of literary interest. Banville had been set some dozen times by the young Claude Debussy; it was almost certainly Debussy’s skittish setting of this Pierrot (composed in 1882 but posthumously published only in 1926 as one of Quatre chansons de jeunesse) that drew Poulenc’s attention to the poem—written as one of twenty-four Caprices in the manner of the sixteenth-century poet Clémont Marot. Jean Gaspard Deburau was a famous Czech-born mime of the 1830s who created the character of Pierrot as his trademark. Poulenc’s madcap and unsubstantial song, perhaps written for some party event involving the work’s socialite dedicatee, Marie Laure de Noailles, takes its cue from the Debussy using an updated and more jazzy harmonic idiom.

from notes by Graham Johnson 2013

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