Five Songs On Poems By Guillaume Apollinaire

Medium Voice

text by Guillaume Apollinaire
Duration: 10:00
Date of Composition: 1966

PROGRAM NOTES: Composed in 1966 (during my seemingly endless student years) Five Songs on Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire  are drawn from the poet’s collection entitled Le Bestiaire.  At the time, I wanted to set something in French and chose five of Apollinaire’s quatrains, two of which, I later discovered, had been set by Poulenc.  Had I known then of his famous settings I probably would not have dared.  At this point I dare to keep them on my works list.  For the most part they use diatonic pitch materials, yet they are not quite tonal.  Le chat deals with domestic bliss; Le dromadaire with traveling the world, La carpe addresses the bleak life of a fish in a pond and is set to a repetitive, circling accompaniment; Les serènes sings of the mechanical song of the sea and the passing of years; Le lapin is typical Apollinairian sexual innuendo.  These songs are dedicated to my classmate at the time and still good friend, Robert Schaaf.             -James Sellars, 1994