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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55167
Recording details: January 1989
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 1989
Total duration: 19 minutes 1 seconds

'exquisitely done, with just the right feeling for the composer's insouciance and wit' (Gramophone)

'A scintillating recording debut … in admirably off-the-beaten-track repertory' (The Observer)

Aubade
composer

Toccata  [2'30]
Entrée de Diane  [1'12]
Sortie de Diane  [1'01]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Aubade was commissioned by the Vicomte and Vicomtesse de Noailles, rich patrons of the time, and first performed at a fancy dress party they gave with their customary lavishness in 1929. The wispy scenario is inspired by the plight of Diana, the ‘huntress chaste and fair’ of classical legend, who is condemned to eternal chastity. Horns and trumpets create a rustic atmosphere and introduce Diana. She is consumed with a burning passion and awakens each day to a reminder of her gloomy fate. Her wistful ‘Rondeau’ develops into a fortissimo of anguished despair. When her ladies-in-waiting have prepared her toilette to a mercurial ‘Presto’ she dances a ‘Variation’, delightfully Mozartian in flavour – as it should be since Poulenc, snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, steals the melody from one of the divertimenti. After her despair has burst out again into an ‘Allegro féroce’ an adagio concludes the action. She walks away accompanied by a misty woodwind phrase and is lost sight of among the trees. Her arm is glimpsed waving a last farewell as the piano intones a slow succession of chords. The sun comes out and a sharp staccato chord brings down the curtain.

The galant style of Aubade conceals a strain of pessimism; however impertinent the wit, however frisky the rhythm, a feeling of sadness persists. There are passages of exquisite melancholy which reflect a longing that will never be assuaged. Poulenc the jester, the playboy, here shows the more pensive side of his Janus-like character.

from notes by James Harding © 1989

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