Hyperion Records


'Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta; Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este' (CDH55167)
Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta; Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55167  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 01: Toccata
Movement 02: Récitatif: Les compagnes de Diane
Movement 03: Rondeau: Diane et compagnes
Movement 04: Entrée de Diane
Movement 05: Sortie de Diane
Movement 06: Presto: Toilette de Diane
Movement 07: Récitatif: Introduction à la variation
Movement 08: Andante: Variation de Diane
Movement 09: Allegro féroce: Désespoir de Diane
Movement 10: Conclusion: Adieux et départ de Diane

Aubade was commissioned by the Vicomte and Vicomtesse de Noailles, rich patrons of the time, and first performed at a fancy dress party they gave with their customary lavishness in 1929. The wispy scenario is inspired by the plight of Diana, the ‘huntress chaste and fair’ of classical legend, who is condemned to eternal chastity. Horns and trumpets create a rustic atmosphere and introduce Diana. She is consumed with a burning passion and awakens each day to a reminder of her gloomy fate. Her wistful ‘Rondeau’ develops into a fortissimo of anguished despair. When her ladies-in-waiting have prepared her toilette to a mercurial ‘Presto’ she dances a ‘Variation’, delightfully Mozartian in flavour – as it should be since Poulenc, snapper-up of unconsidered trifles, steals the melody from one of the divertimenti. After her despair has burst out again into an ‘Allegro féroce’ an adagio concludes the action. She walks away accompanied by a misty woodwind phrase and is lost sight of among the trees. Her arm is glimpsed waving a last farewell as the piano intones a slow succession of chords. The sun comes out and a sharp staccato chord brings down the curtain.

The galant style of Aubade conceals a strain of pessimism; however impertinent the wit, however frisky the rhythm, a feeling of sadness persists. There are passages of exquisite melancholy which reflect a longing that will never be assuaged. Poulenc the jester, the playboy, here shows the more pensive side of his Janus-like character.

from notes by James Harding © 1989

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Details for CDH55167 track 12
Andante: Variation de Diane
Recording date
13 January 1989
Recording venue
St Barnabas's Church, North Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Arthur Johnson
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta; Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este (CDA66347)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: June 1989
    Deletion date: May 2004
    Superseded by CDH55167
  2. Poulenc: Aubade & Sinfonietta; Hahn: Le Bal de Béatrice d'Este (CDH55167)
    Disc 1 Track 12
    Release date: May 2004
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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