Poulenc found the texts for both these songs in Mesures
, a review published in a yellow paperback, and dated 15 July 1938. The composer picked it up from the bookshop below his apartment in the Rue de Médicis before embarking on a train journey to Nevers. From there Bernac met him in a car and they drove together to Anost, a town to the west of the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, nestling in the mountains of the Morvan, where Poulenc found he could work with ‘lightness and oxygen’ in the summer break. Four new Éluard poems were printed in Mesures
(pp 89–92), the first and the last of which (entitled Nous sommes
and Vertueux solitaire
) became the Miroirs brûlants
—a title later supplied by Éluard. Poulenc was astounded that the sunset described in the poem was exactly that to be seen from his room in Anost.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013