Stabat Mater

Francis Poulenc

Poulenc’s poignant choral works are among the finest sacred pieces in 20th century repertoire

Emőke Baráth
Emőke Baráth © Zsofi Raffai
Bertrand de Billy
Bertrand de Billy © Marco Borggreve


Emőke Baráth soprano
Jean-Luc Bourré cello

Bertrand de Billy direction
Orchestre National de France
Chœur de Radio France direction Martina Batič
Chœur de l'Armée Française direction Aurore Tillac
Maîtrise de Radio France direction Marie-Noëlle Maerten

Fauré Masques et Bergamasques Op. 112
Elegie for cello and orchestra
Dutilleux The shadows of Time
Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine
Poulenc Litanies à la vierge noire
Stabat Mater

Approximate running time
1st part: 45mn - Intermission : 20mn - 2nd part: 1h15

For many people, Poulenc’s vocal repertoire, and the choral repertoire in particular, is the most accomplished aspect of his oeuvre. For this subtle shaper of words, choral music spans all genres from profane cantatas to masses. The two works in this concert are among the most poignant penned by the musician and indeed in the 20th century sacred repertoire as a whole. His Litanies à la Vierge noire also offers a moving testimony to his spirituality, as the female choir and organ respond to each other with incredible tenderness. The Stabat, composed in barely two months as a tribute to the painter and theatrical designer Christian Bérard, is quite different in style – less dramatic and pared down than the Litanies, with a more generous cast of singers, probably to reflect the personality of his deceased friend. This form found its natural culmination five years later in the Dialogues des Carmélites. Apart from the short pieces by Fauré which feature on our programme, Bertrand de Billy has also chosen to perform The Shadows of Time by Henri Dutilleux, an orchestral piece in which the musician explores issues associated with time and “timeless images”, “those distant events whose intensity […] never ceased to haunt [him].” This beautiful programme invites the audience to engage in contemplation and reminiscence.

Coproduction Radio France / Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
France Musique live broadcasts this concert.


Stabat Mater

Stabat Mater A work with many adaptations