Though less well known and far less performed than the cycle Fiançailles pour rire this is a masterful group of songs composed, significantly I think, after the composer’s reconversion to Catholicism (at the shrine of the Black Virgin at Rocamadour in the Dordogne in 1936). It is the first set of songs to be composed after the great Éluard song cycle Tel jour telle nuit, and is the first specifically female cycle—bearing in mind that Tel jour telle nuit concludes with as wonderful a hymn to a woman’s deeper qualities, in fact Éluard’s hymn to his wife Nusch, that has ever been penned by a French composer.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013
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