About the composer
Francis Poulenc (1899 – 1963) was born in Paris. He became widely known while still a young man by his songs (Le Bestiaire, 1919). After meeting the choreograph Diaghilev he composed the ballet Les Biches, an immediate success. With Honegger and Milhaud and some others he formed the “group of 6”. His many choral works all date from after 1936. Inspiration came from getting to know the motets of Monteverdi and the poems of Paul Eluard. A mental change was caused also by the deadly accident of a young composer friend. This led Poulenc to making a pilgrimage to the black virgin of Rocamadour, where he experienced a spiritual revelation that returned him to his catholic religion. As a result he composed the “Litanies a la Vierge noir”. Poulenc stayed deeply religious, though he could also be lighthearted, cynical and humorous, emotions that all can be found in his works. Poulenc himself said of his choral works: Here I have brought something new and I expect that in the end people will be interested more in the Stabat Mater than in all my piano works.
About the Stabat Mater
Soprano, mixed choir and orchestra
The Stabat Mater is Poulenc's first choral work with orchestra. Like the Litanies this work too was created in memory of a friend, the painter Christian Bérard. He chose the Stabat Mater instead of the Requiem, because the heart-rending text seemed suited to dedicate the soul of his friend to the holy Virgin of Rocamadour. It was composed in only two months, what Poulenc attributed to heavenly inspiration. The twelve sections are built carefully around returning motifs in nrs 1, 6 and 12. It makes one think of a cycle of songs, with the slow parts forming the emotional center.
The "Vatican" text is used, with following changes:
|CD 1:||Decca 448 139-2: Poulenc – Gloria – Stabat Mater|
|About this CD:|
Dedicated to sacred choral works of Poulenc. Recorded at La Salle Wagram, Paris, in December 1994.
|Orchestra:||Orchestre National de France|
|Choir:||Choeur de Radio France|
Françoise Pollet, soprano
|CD 2:||Stabat Mater Foundation 2012 – Poulenc (Martin, Dohnanyi)|
|About this CD:|
The recording of the 14th concert organized by the Dutch Stabat Mater Foundation. Recorded at the Sint Petrus Church, Oirschot, in March 2012.
Ilse Eerens, soprano
Ernst von Dohnanyi, Stabat Mater