Francis Poulenc is now considered to be among the most important composers of choral music of the 20th Century. Yet his early career reveals no trace of the dazzling and idiosyncratic unaccompanied choral textures so abundantly produced in the second half of his life. This new collection of Poulenc’s choral works, virtually a ‘best of’, is centered on his masterwork, Figure Humaine. Even though it is only 20 minutes in length, the work is a supreme test of stamina, technical agility, range, aural skill and musicianship. The professional chamber choir Tenebrae (directed by former King’s Singer Nigel Short) are more than capable of tackling this repertoire and this disc promises to provide a new benchmark in interpretations of the work.
“Their singing has a precision of pitch, a rhythmic vigour and a musical focus few choirs can equal...Nigel Short, similarly, has studied these scores to the extent that he realises every tiny nuance of Poulenc's writing and produces that kind of performance that offers an almost transparent level of textural precision.” - Gramophone Magazine
“Tenebrae is equal to every challenge. The tuning is impeccable, the phrasing intelligent and never forced, the balance always adjusted to the demands of Poulenc's textures...Not least, the sopranos float ethereally in the more lyrical moments...A disc to be treasured.” - BBC Music Magazine
Mass in G major
Litanies à la Vierge noire
Quatre petites prières de Saint François d'Assise
Un soir de neige