Poulenc: Choeur Regional Vittoria D'lle De France - Stabat Mater/Goria

Saturday 1st February 1997
Poulenc: Choeur Regional Vittoria D'lle De France - Stabat Mater/Goria

STYLE: Choral
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 17734-
LABEL: Naxos 8553176
FORMAT: CD Album
ITEMS: 1
RRP: £4.98

Reviewed by John Irvine

It took the death of a close friend in a motor accident in 1936 to pull Poulenc back into the Roman Catholic Church and the Christian faith which he had rejected at a fairly earlier age. With this spiritual conversion came a newness of purpose: no longer was Poulenc a rich amateur dabbling in the world of music; he became a serious committed composer, and has now left behind a legacy of works both secular and spiritual to that moment in 1936 when he forgave God for the death of his friend. "Stabat Mater" was written in 1951 and is less a setting of an ancient text, more a personal prayer on behalf of a friend. The "Gloria" of 1959 is probably Poulenc's best known choral work, stirring yet devotional, theatrical and dramatic yet also spiritual and genuinely moving. Here Danielle Brost, solo soprano, excels herself, especially in the "Domine Deus" section. The disc also contains Poulenc's earliest religious piece, the "Litanies A L Vierge Noire" (1936) in which he tried to encapsulate "The rustic simplicity of peasant prayers", an intention beautifully brought to life in this recording. Throughout performances by the choir are magnificent. The recording, however, sounds a little dull in tone, which may be the fault of the recording location as much as of the recording engineer. One other drawback: the sleeve notes are in French. Parlez vous franglaise? Apart from this, the disc is a bargain at the selling price of 5 and would certainly still be worth acquiring at any other price. Enjoy.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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