Poulenc knew Max Jacob from 1920, as he was very much part of the Parisian avant-garde scene at that time. The composer found these poems in No 22 of the review Commerce
(Winter 1929) where twenty lyrics are printed under the Breton pseudonym of ‘Morven Le Gaëlique’. Poulenc selected five, sometimes changing their titles: Chanson bretonne
was simply published as Chanson
, as was Souric et Mouric
was in fact originally Berceuse de la petite servante
, linking songs iii and iv to the same character. In his JdmM Poulenc’s special fondness for these songs, and for Jacob, is clearly expressed.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013