Francis Poulenc was the best-known composer of the iconoclastic group Les Six, and his reputation for blending sophistication and flippant humor in his songs and concert music made him something of an enfant terrible. Yet the deaths of several close friends and a visit to the Black Madonna of Rocamadour in 1936 brought about soul-searching and a fresh commitment to the Catholicism of his youth. His rekindled devotion is reflected in several sacred works, such as the Litanies à la Vierge noire (1936), inspired by his visit to Rocamadour; the Stabat Mater (1950), composed in memory of the artist Christian Bérard; and the Gloria (1961). The style of Poulenc's religious music tends toward neo-classicism in the vein of Stravinsky, mixed with a kind of Gothic mysticism, yet it is punctuated by moments of joyous excitement and eclectic touches. French soprano Patricia Petibon performs with Paavo Järvi and the Choir and Orchestra of Paris in this 2013 Deutsche Grammophon release, and the album is a wonderful presentation of Poulenc's religious music that will appeal to listeners of all walks. The profundity of these works and their reverent treatment will attract the devout, while Petibon's exquisite voice and the colorful playing by the orchestra will appeal to a more secular audience. Deutsche Grammophon's reproduction is transparent and full of warmth and presence.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Gloria, pour soprano solo, chœur mixte et orchestre|
|Stabat Mater, pour soprano solo, chœur mixte et orchestre|