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Poulenc never wrote a more austere song than this, and none that looked more like Stravinsky on the printed page; from the eighth bar the accompaniment is laid out in an unnecessarily complex arrangement in three staves with a pile-up of bass-clef chords that adds to a feeling of doleful lugubriousness. The vocal line is also untypical with a succession of difficult intervals; it is as if singer and pianist have been invited to take part in a ritual of grave importance, but first have to decipher the secret of the message to be relayed. Fortunately the poem is a very fine one, short and succinct, and there is no doubt of the depth of Poulenc’s feeling. The result is a profound song in every sense; true to its title this is an epitaph short enough to be engraved on a headstone with every word chiselled in musical marble. In JdmM Poulenc compares the song to a piece of the architecture of Louis XIII and directs that it should be sung 'without bombast'.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013
|Poulenc: The Complete Songs|
Graham Johnson is simply the greatest living authority on French song; an artist whose innate feeling for the music is combined with prodigious scholarship. Following his many wonderful recordings in Hyperion’s French Song Edition, Johnson turns t ...» More
|Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1|
This release marks the first in a new series charting the complete songs of Francis Poulenc, performed by some of the greatest singers of the day and accompanied by the exceptional Malcolm Martineau. Later volumes will feature several works that h ...» More