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Voyage A Paris - The Melodies Of Francis Poulenc / Lott, Johnson

Poulenc / Lott / Johnson
Release Date: 06/14/2011 
Label:  Helios   Catalog #: 55366   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity LottGraham JohnsonAnthony Rolfe JohnsonRichard Jackson,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Lott sings very well in French: husky, lovely in her upper register and with 'controlled abandon' where necessary.

As the recording date indicates, this is not a new CD, but a budget re-release of Hyperion CDA66147, originally published in 1986. This was the disc that set a bit of a trend for titling any recital including music by Poulenc "Voyage à Paris" - Frederica von Stade on RCA Victor (Red Seal 62711) in 1995, Robert White on Arabesque (Z6713) in 1999, Lynne Dawson on Berlin Classics (1758) in 2005 and Greg McCallum's piano recital on MSR Classics (MS 1233) in 2009 have all leapt aboard that particular bandwagon!

This is a pick 'n' mix but nevertheless interesting assembly of
Read more Francis Poulenc's highly imaginative settings of French poetry. It ranges from the sublime to the inscrutable, with plenty of doggerel along the way. Like many other discs before and since, this is, in essence, a Felicity Lott with Graham Johnson showcase, and Poulenc, opuses plundered, takes a bit of a back seat. But even so, the brilliance of his writing is irrepressible as he turns numerous sows' ears into little silk purses. Anyone more interested in discovering Poulenc than Lott will not be disappointed at this taster.

Richard Jackson, Ann Murray and Anthony Rolfe Johnson provide a pleasant change of voice, but their inclusion in the programme, aside from Jackson's duet with Lott, is a bit of an oddity. It’s not entirely accounted for by their membership of the tie-loosening Songmakers' Almanac recitals at the Wigmore Hall from the mid-1970s. Their minor contributions are unevenly distributed, with only one change of soloist in the first 24 songs, then two in the last seven, giving their inclusion the feeling of an afterthought.

As for Lott, she has made French songs her speciality - or one of them, at least - and sings very well in the language, also demonstrating a good understanding of the nuances of the poetry. Her voice is quite husky in the lower notes, but her upper register more than compensates. She sings with 'controlled abandon' wherever necessary - which in Poulenc is quite often! Graham Johnson's accompaniment is spot-on.

Background traffic noise intrudes occasionally, but otherwise sound quality is very good, especially considering the age of the recording. There are a couple of technical impurities, however: a very noticeable edit join at about 30 seconds in track 7 - leaving it untouched sadly gives the wrong impression about Hyperion - and another right at the beginning of track 29, though this one at least does not really affect the music.

Graham Johnson provides fine notes on all the songs, and the booklet includes all the texts in their original French with good translations by Winifred Radford, who copes admirably with the surreal, sometimes ludicrous imagery and language of some of the original texts.

-- Byzantion, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Banalités: no 4, Voyage à Paris by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; France 
Length: 0 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: French 
2.
Montparnasse by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941-1945; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: French 
3.
Hyde Park by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
Length: 0 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: French 
4.
Bleuet by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: French 
5.
Calligrammes: no 7, Voyage by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: French 
6.
Banalités: no 2, Hôtel by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Graham Johnson (Piano), Felicity Lott (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; France 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: French 
7.
Poèmes (3) de Louise Lalanne by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: French 
8.
Tel jour, telle nuit by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1937; France 
Length: 14 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: French 
9.
Miroirs brûlants: no 1, Tu vois le feu du soir by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: French 
10.
Métamorphoses (3) by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: French 
11.
Colloque by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Graham Johnson (Piano), Richard Jackson (Baritone), Felicity Lott (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: French 
12.
Poèmes (2) d'Aragon by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: French 
13.
Priez pour paix by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Language: French 
14.
A sa guitare by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: French 
15.
Toréador by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Graham Johnson (Piano), Richard Jackson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918/1932; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: French 
16.
Chansons pour enfants (4): no 1, Nous voulons une petite... by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; France 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: French 
17.
Léocadia: Les chemins de l'amour by Francis Poulenc
Performer:  Felicity Lott (Soprano), Graham Johnson (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; France 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: French 

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