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Chanson à boire (Poulenc)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Chanson à boire
Choral composition by Francis Poulenc
Gobelets d'argent avec blason du 15e au 17e siecle.jpg
Silver drinking cups from the 15th and 17th centuries
CatalogueFP 31
TextAnonymous text of the 17th century
Composed1922 (1922)
DedicationHarvard Glee Club
Performed1950 (1950): The Hague
Scoringfour-part men's chorus

Chanson à boire,[note 1] (Drinking song), FP 31, is a choral work by Francis Poulenc, composed in 1922 on an anonymous text of the 17th century for a four-part men's chorus a cappella. It was published first by Rouart-Lerolle,[1] but today by Salabert.


The pianist Ricardo Viñes entrusted the young Poulenc to the composer and teacher Charles Koechlin as early as 1921. Chanson à boire is Poulenc's first choral work, commissioned by a student choir, the Glee Club of Harvard University in the United States. Upon completion, Poulenc sent them the score. In an interview with Claude Rostand dated 1954, he said:

When my song was finished, I sent it to Harvard. Kaboom! Meanwhile, the Prohibition Act had just passed, and made this work impossible to sing. Then I forgot all about it, when, twenty-eight years later, in 1950, being in Holland, the president of the admirable male choir of the Hague invited me to listen to a repetition of my prayers Of St. Francis of Assisi and ... of this "Song to drink". I confess I was in my little shoes because I had never heard it.[M 1]

Twenty-eight years separate the composition of the work and its first performance in The Hague. Poulenc states: "I was ready to do a lot of retouching. What was not my amazement (...) of not having one note to change!."[M 1]


The work is written for an unaccompanied four-part men's chorus. The total performance time is approximately four minutes.

Selected recordings

  • Poulenc - Secular Choral Music, Norddeutscher Figuralchor, Jörg Straube [de] (cond.), label MDG Gold, MDG9471595 ;
  • Chansons française, Harry Christophers (cond.), label Technics, 1993


  1. ^ This work should not be confused with Chanson à boire, the second of the eight Chansons gaillardes, FP 42, a work by the same composer on a different text.
  1. ^ a b pp. 40-41


  • 1978: Hell, Henri. Francis Poulenc. Fayard. p. 388. ISBN 2-213-00670-9.

External links

This page was last edited on 3 December 2017, at 21:24
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