. . . but I’ve been listening to a lot of Poulenc recently including one of his masterpieces Un Soir de Neige (A Night of Snow). This was one of the first pieces I learned when I first joined BYU Singers and has left a lasting impression on me. At first, I really didn’t like the piece, I couldn’t understand what it was about, nor what I was supposed to feel from it. The ending sort of threw me off as well. Looking at the text, it seemed to get more dark and more depressing in each movement and seeemed to contain absolutely no hope. I just didn’t get it.
I felt motivated to find meaning in this piece, and to somehow, at least, understand why Poulenc wrote it. As we rehearsed the piece, we took time to stop and talk about what it all means. Many members of Singers already seemed to have it down as to what it meant, and why it was important to them. Listening to them and Dr. Staheli helped me gain some perspective about the work. We decided to make a promotional video in order to help our audience understand what we were learning about the piece so that they would understand the piece before coming to our concert. Here’s the video:
I now love this piece, and am so glad that I had the opportunity to dive into this piece and get it under my skin. It is a severely depressing and very dark bit of music. I really do feel that the poetry and music don’t provide a drop of hope. While I firmly believe that there is always hope, there have been moments when it feels completely gone. This really is one of the greatest choral works of the 20th Century. Right along side it is Poulenc’s Figure Humaine (The Human Figure), but that’s another story.
Yeah, I know it’s July.