Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) was one of the greatest of Spanish poets and playwrights, renowned for his lyrical vision and power. He was born near Granada, and his Andalusian roots (including his friendship with Manuel de Falla and his discovery of the cante jondo) are to be traced in much of his work. He was also a gifted pianist and painter, admired as much for his personality as for his prodigious literary talents. He was murdered by the Nationalists at the outset of the Spanish Civil War, whether on account of his political leanings or homosexuality, or both, is not certain. Without ever having met Lorca personally, Poulenc felt a profound affinity with the Spanish poet and dedicated his Violin Sonata (FP119, 1942) ‘à la mémoire de Federico García Lorca’.
All three of these are early poems by Lorca (in a translation by Félix Gattegno) and were included in Canciones 1921–1924, published in 1927. The section subheadings for each of the poems are: (i) ‘Au delà du monde’, (ii) ‘Andalouse’, and (iii) ‘Chansons pour finir’—indeed, the Chanson de l’oranger sec is the last poem in the collection. ‘What difficulty I have in proving musically my passion for Lorca!’, wrote Poulenc in JdmM. ‘My sonata for violin and piano … is, alas, very mediocre Poulenc, and these three songs are of little importance in my vocal work.’
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013