Poulenc: La Voix Humaine

Album cover art for upc 3760014198991
Label: ALPHA
Catalog: ALPHA899

Orchestre National de Lille; Bloch, Alexandre; Gens, Véronique

Véronique Gens’s version of La Voix humaine has been eagerly awaited! This ‘lyric tragedy in one act’ might have been written for her, so ideally suited are her feeling for language and her dramatic intensity to Poulenc’s monologue on a text by Jean Cocteau, composed in 1958. This is a far cry from the ‘light’ Poulenc of the 1920s. Cocteau paid him the highest compliment: ‘Dear Francis, you have fixed, once and for all, the way to speak my text.’ Véronique Gens confesses that she had always wanted to perform and record this piece; now she has achieved her ambition, in close partnership with the Orchestre National de Lille under its music director Alexandre Bloch. Also featured on the album is the Sinfonietta: this is in fact a genuine symphony, but, as Nicolas Southon writes, ‘there is no denying that the work – commissioned by the BBC in 1947 – has a freshness and a freedom of tone that justify its title’.

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