This afternoon’s programme steps between private and public personas of Parisian cultural life, from Satie’s Gymnopédies (first heard at the cabaret-artistique Chat Noir) and Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis, to the vivacity and energy of Cocteau’s poems celebrating a mixed-genre circus troupe. Cocteau however is as interested in the intermissions, the gaps in performance, as what occurs on stage, and here a parallel may be drawn with Soutine’s powerful, and at times disconcertingly frank portraits of sitters otherwise defined by their professional life. Personally Soutine and Cocteau are connected through the patron Madeleine Castaing, and mutual friend Modigliani. Visually and musically these works are redolent of 1920s Paris, however both cast an objective eye on the public gaity and glamour.
Debussy – Chansons de Bilitis (1897-8) (poems Pierre Louÿs), in the version for speaker 2 harps, 2 flutes and celesta (1901)
Satie 3 – Gymnopédies (1888)
Roussel – Caprice for flute, harp and string trio (op. 30, 1925)
Poulenc – Cocardes I. Miel de Narbonne; II. Bonne d’enfant; III. Enfant de troupe
3 surrealist poems by Jean Cocteau for tenor voice and ensemble (1920 rev. 1939)
Prof Simon Wills, Ubu Ensemble, Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Curated by Dr Charlotte de Mille with Professor Simon Wills