The printed source of two of these poems (songs ii and iii) is Louise de Vilmorin’s collection Le sable du sablier
, where their titles are Portrait
. The latter title makes sense for this particular poem because it is the violin that is made to take on so many different imaginary shapes. Bernac’s copy of this collection is inscribed by the poet as follows: ‘À Pierre Bernac / Notre amitié est plus forte / que les mouettes et les / sables. Louise de Vilmorin, Noël 1945, Paris.’ The date of this suggests that Bernac must have received the handwritten texts of these poems (including the unprinted first poem, Reine des mouettes
) at a much earlier date. A great admirer of Vilmorin, he had personally ensured that he could lay hands on poems by her that were suitable for a male singer, and then delivered them to Poulenc. The HMV recording the duo made of these three songs on a single side of a 12” 78 record was one of their most successful.
from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013