Hyperion Records

Mazurka, FP145
First line:
Les bijoux aux poitrines
July to September 1949; from Mouvements du cœur; dedicated to Doda Conrad
author of text

'Poulenc: The Complete Songs' (CDA68021/4)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs
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'Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3' (SIGCD272)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3
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Mazurka, FP145
This is the last of Poulenc’s Vilmorin settings. It finds a place here as a kind of coda to the composer’s Chopin characterizations of 1934—and aso because of the link with the bass Doda Conrad, who commissioned Vilmorin to write seven poems in honour of the centenary of Chopin’s death in 1949. He then set about asking six composers to set these words to music: Henri Sauguet (Prélude and Postlude: Polonaise), Francis Poulenc (Mazurka), Georges Auric (Valse), Jean Françaix (Scherzo impromptuÉtude), Darius Milhaud (Ballade nocturne). Sauguet also came up with the title of the ‘Suite’ as a whole—Mouvements du cœur. The Poulenc song has a sombre majesty about it (Très lent et mélancolique). It is reminiscent of another Chopin-inspired work that Poulenc composed in 1933—the second Nocturne for piano, which moves at the same dream-like pace in 3/4. In connection with both pieces Poulenc mentioned the dreamlike ball-scene from Alain-Fournier’s famous novel Le grand Meaulnes. Poulenc described the music as ‘quite piano, melancholy and sensuous’. He made a point of telling Vilmorin how difficult it was to sent the word ‘font’ (and then ‘fond’) again and again.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013

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