Next Great Art Song: David Menzies's Favourite Art Song
Poulenc's art songs are extremely varied, ranging from languorous and tender to frenetic and frivolous. In each are contained a mini-universe of emotion, colours and expression. The text for "C" is by Louis Aragon, a surrealist poet, and the song was published in 1944, during a horrid period of war that affected virtually all of the world in some way. I love how Poulenc uses the piano to create pictures for the text - the arching phrases creating the bridges of C combined with rhythmic contrasts and chromaticism. It seems like a simple, sad chanson, but there is much more to it when you scratch the surface.