Poulenc: The Complete Songs

Graham Johnson is simply the greatest living authority on French song; an artist whose innate feeling for the music is combined with prodigious scholarship. He also has the ability to discover and nurture singers who here prove to be matchless performers of this repertoire.

Following his many wonderful recordings in Hyperion’s French Song Edition, Johnson turns to the complete songs of Francis Poulenc, released also to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the composer’s death. Each of the four CDs presents a programme of songs in an order that is chronological for that disc alone—signifying four different journeys through the composer’s career. Disc 1 features a substantial appearance, recorded in 1977, of Pierre Bernac (Poulenc’s long-term collaborator)—narrating L’histoire de Babar, a story known to children throughout the world. The singers include Dame Felicity Lott, acclaimed as one of the foremost performers of Poulenc, and many other stars from previous recordings.

CDA68021/4  313 minutes 39 seconds (4 discs)
‘Johnson's playing is marvellous, virtuosic where needed, but above all attuned to every nuance of his singers. This really is a multifaceted release: the blending of the art forms that was characteri ...
The Guardian
‘Especially enjoyable is the final disc, subtitled Fancy. Soprano Susan Bickley is superb in Poulenc’s early Poèmes de Ronsard—sparky settings of Renaissance poetry, and Ashley Riches has fun w ...