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Dernier poème, FP163

First line:
J’ai rêvé tellement fort de toi
December 1956; dedicated to Youki Desnos
author of text

This is the last poem of Robert Desnos, the poet who ended his life tragically in the concentration camp of Terezín, and is said to have been written on a cigarette paper shortly before his death and smuggled to his wife Youki—to whom Poulenc dedicates the song. The pathos of this story, whether true or not, threatens to overbalance music which is utterly sincere, delicately melancholic rather than tragic, not perhaps equal to the story and the circumstances of the poet’s demise. The setting has the advantage, even if it is not the greatest Poulenc, of the restraint and dignity typical of Desnos. The gentle sequences of the composer’s late style, contemporary with the Sonata for flute and piano, are attractive and touching, but when a Swiss critic said that it was the best thing that the composer had ever done, Poulenc’s response was ‘poor him, poor me’. It is left to the pianist and the four-bar postlude to leave ‘a truly tragic impression’ (Bernac), a dark intimation of violence or catastrophe.

from notes by Graham Johnson © 2013


Poulenc: The Complete Songs
CDA68021/44CDs for the price of 3
Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1
Studio Master: SIGCD247Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Track 45 on CDA68021/4 CD2 [2'05] 4CDs for the price of 3
Track 21 on SIGCD247 [2'05] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD247 track 21

Recording date
10 September 2010
Recording venue
St Michael's Church, Summertown, Oxford, United Kingdom
Recording producer
John H West
Recording engineer
Andrew Mellor
Hyperion usage
  1. Poulenc: The Complete Songs, Vol. 1 (SIGCD247)
    Disc 1 Track 21
    Release date: February 2011
    Download only
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