La Scena Musicale

Monday, 13 July 2015

Next Great Art Song: David Menzies's Favourite Art Song


Our Next Great Art Song survey continues - share your vote on www.nextgreatartsong.com! Canadian tenor David Menzies shares his choices below.
1. C – Francis Poulenc

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.


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