Mélodies - Poulenc Et Ses Poètes

Album cover art for upc 5028421958149
Catalog: BRI95814

Proietti, Claudio; Coladonato, Valentina

Poulenc once declared that ‘the musical transposition of a poem must be an act of love, not a marriage of convenience.’ By the age of four he was already able to recite Mallarme’s Apparition by heart, and while still very young he made his first efforts at setting verses to music. He loved listening to poets read their own work, and he was a voracious reader, who saw his purpose as a composer to embellish to enrich but never to obscure the words or their meaning. Poulenc loved singers and good singing as much as poetry. All these cycles were written with particular artists in mind; several of them for his life partner, the baritone Pierre Bernac, but he also worked very closely with Clare Croiza and Denise Duval, among others. Thus his vocal lines reflect their individual personalities while being couched in his own, very singable, jazz-inflected idiom. Valentina Coladonato has chosen a path less travelled through Poulenc’s song oeuvre, avoiding the Chansons villageoises and Air chantes. Yet in La Fraîcheur et le feu, setting Poulenc’s contemporary Paul Eluard, we find an intensity and urgency of expression to rival his masterpiece, the Dialogues of the Carmelites. Motifs from the opera recur in another Eluard cycle, Le travail du peintre, which addresses seven modern painters in turn from Picasso to Villon. A bittersweet air lingers over the Dernier poeme by Desnos, Aragon’s C and the monologue La dame de Monte Carlo; but his extrovert, amusing music-hall side comes to the fore in Les chemins de l’amour, based on Jean Anouilh’s Leocadia and dedicated to Yvonne Printemps, who was a singer of light music. Even within the same cycle there are contrasting moments that eloquently illustrate Poulenc’s own artistic credo: ‘My music is my portrait’. A specialist in early and new music, the soprano Valentina Coladonato has worked with conductors including Riccardo Muti and Claudio Abbado. She and Claudio Proietti have also recorded the Shakespeare Sonnets of Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco for Brilliant Classics (BC95548).

Price: $15.99