Hyperion Records

Quatre chansons pour enfants, FP75
author of text
under the pseudonym Jaboune

'Poulenc: The Complete Songs' (CDA68021/4)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs
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'Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2' (SIGCD263)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2
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'Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3' (SIGCD272)
Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 3
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'Poulenc: Voyage à Paris' (CDH55366)
Poulenc: Voyage à Paris
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No 1: Nous voulons une petite sœur  Madame Eustache a dix-sept filles
No 2: La tragique histoire du petit René  Avec mon face à main
No 3: Le petit garçon trop bien portant  Ah! Mon cher docteur, je vous écris
No 4: Monsieur Sans-Souci  Quand les gens

Quatre chansons pour enfants, FP75
Poulenc’s flamboyant uncle ‘Papoum’ (Marcel Royer) was a lover of the music hall and he instilled a similar affection in his nephew from an early age. Poulenc came from an extremely well-to-do Parisian home (unlike Debussy, from the suburbs, or those southerners Fauré, Chabrier, Ravel and Milhaud). From the very beginning the refinements that money could buy were enjoyed side-by-side with the earthier manifestations of Parisian popular culture. These four songs were written to the texts of a popular poet Jean Nohain, otherwise known as Jaboune—both pseudonyms for Jean-Marie Legrand (1900–1981). He later became known as the writer of texts for the popular chansonnière Mireille. The musical language is simple, and the texts irreproachably suitable for young people either to sing or listen to. In the real music hall of the time songs of this kind, with their zany melodies and verbal patter, would have been far more suggestive than these innocent little sketches. On the concert platform today the first song, with its extended Christmas lists, is the most often performed. It is a reminder of the Third Republic’s obsession with encouraging its citizens to have more children, a theme that Poulenc revisited in far more extended fashion in the Apollinaire opéra bouffe Les mamelles de Tirésias.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013

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