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Track(s) taken from A66149

Le bestiaire, ou Cortège d'Orphée, FP15a

1918/9; dedicated to Louis Durey
author of text
Nos 10, 4, 17, 19, 22 and 23 of Le bestiaire

The Songmakers' Almanac, Richard Jackson (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)
This recording is not available for download
Recording details: May 1984
Art Workers Guild, Queen Square, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: December 1986
Total duration: 4 minutes 34 seconds

Cover artwork: Noah's Ark from The Peaceable Kingdom (1846) by Edward Hicks (1780-1849)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania, USA

Other recordings available for download

Thomas Oliemans (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano)
Brandon Velarde (baritone), Graham Johnson (piano)


'Graham Johnson once again demonstrates his skill in programme-building in this latest anthology of his, an ingenious collection of songs about the animal kingdom (and mankind's reactions to it) that takes account of such factors as key-sequence and contrast of pace and mood' (Gramophone)
Apollinaire, a great bibliophile, knew all about the exquisitely illustrated medieval bestiaries; in 1906 his friend Picasso had made some experimental woodcuts of animals. He published eighteen of the eventual thirty poems in 1908 in a review, La phalange, and promised his readers an illustrated edition. Picasso, ever elusive, was otherwise engaged; the poet persuaded Raoul Dufy (whom he had met through Derain, illustrator of Apollinaire’s first work) to provide the artwork, the first of that artist’s many illustrations. Apollinaire casts himself as Orpheus in this work in poems 1, 13, 18 and 24 (all of which are ignored by Poulenc). The work was an artistic triumph and commercial disaster for its authors.

As he was leaving for war service in 1918 Adrienne Monnier handed Poulenc a packet of books which included a later edition of Apollinare’s work. The composer had already heard the poet read his lyrics, and he fell in love with them, selecting twelve to set to music in Pont-sur-Seine where he found himself stationed.

Having set these twelve poems to music, Poulenc reduced the number to six on the advice of Georges Auric. On learning that Louis Durey, fellow-member of Les Six, was working at the same time on setting the entire collection, Poulenc rather gallantly dedicated his own set to Durey.

The poems Poulenc chose for his published Le bestiaire were numbers 10, 4, 17, 19, 22 and 23 of Apollinaire’s collection.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013

Other albums featuring this work

Poulenc: The Complete Songs
CDA68021/44CDs for the price of 3
Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 4
Studio Master: SIGCD323Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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