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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA68021/4
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: 5 minutes 46 seconds

'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)

Miroirs brūlants, FP98
composer
1938
author of text
Nous sommes and Vertueux solitaire, from Mesures, published 15 July 1938

Other recordings available for download
Sarah Fox (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFranēais
Poulenc found the texts for both these songs in Mesures, a review published in a yellow paperback, and dated 15 July 1938. The composer picked it up from the bookshop below his apartment in the Rue de Médicis before embarking on a train journey to Nevers. From there Bernac met him in a car and they drove together to Anost, a town to the west of the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, nestling in the mountains of the Morvan, where Poulenc found he could work with ‘lightness and oxygen’ in the summer break. Four new Éluard poems were printed in Mesures (pp 89–92), the first and the last of which (entitled Nous sommes and Vertueux solitaire) became the Miroirs brûlants—a title later supplied by Éluard. Poulenc was astounded that the sunset described in the poem was exactly that to be seen from his room in Anost.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013


Other albums featuring this work
'Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3' (SIGCD272)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 48 kHz £7.85ALAC 24-bit 48 kHz £7.85 SIGCD272  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Poulenc: Voyage à Paris' (CDH55366)
Poulenc: Voyage à Paris
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55366  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

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