New French Song

Twenty new settings of French words by British composers

Alison Smart (Soprano)  Katharine Durran (Piano)

Tarik O’Regan  ~  Sainte
Sadie Harrison  ~  ..issu stellaire..
Will Todd  ~  Le Pont Mirabeau
Edward Cowie  ~  Les Hiboux
Bob Chilcott  ~  L’enfant dort
John Casken  ~  Colloque Sentimental
Laurence Crane  ~  Tour de France Statistics 1903 – 2003
Adam Gorb  ~  La Cloche Fêlée
Gabriel Jackson  ~  A la Mémoire de Claude Debussy
Michael Finnissy  ~  Salomé
Andrew Keeling  ~  Artémis
Hugh Wood  ~  Alicante
Diana Burrell  ~  Longtemps ce fut l’été
Helen Roe  ~  Pourquoi?
Nicola LeFanu  ~  Billet à Whistler
Edward McGuire  ~  Rêves de la Bonne Heure
Judith Bingham  ~  La Jeune Morte
Roger Redgate  ~  Mirlitonnades
Howard Skempton  ~  Le Pont Mirabeau
Graham Fitkin  ~  Les Aliments Blancs

Settings of Guillaume Apollinaire, Charles Baudelaire, Samuel Beckett, Yves Bonnefoy, 
Jean Cocteau, Laurence Crane , Jose-Maria Heradia, Victor Hugo, Jules Laforgue, 
Edward McGuire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Gérard de Nerval, Jacques Prévert, Erik Satie, Paul Verlaine.

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"Alison Smart ... elicited a really  impressive range of colours and contours, comfortably handling the stylistic changes between songs."

"With a remarkable sensitivity and wide palette of colours, Katharine Durran’s playing was a musical lesson in Art history."

Magnus Carey
Musical Opinion September/October 2004

For full reviews of the CD and première performance Click here

The Project

New French Song has created a whole new repertoire of songs by British composers.

The project was conceived in 1999, when soprano Alison Smart and pianist Katharine Durran were giving recitals marking the centenary of Poulenc's birth and celebrating the songs of Fauré.

They commissioned twenty exceptional British composers, some of whom were well established, others of whom were yet to receive the recognition they deserve.

The composers were asked to set French literature of their choice from the past two hundred years. The texts, ranging from Victor Hugo to the new millennium, were chosen by the composers in consultation with Alison Smart and Katharine Durran, and form a wonderful springboard for the composers' individual expression

The result is a fascinating rainbow work covering all the major literary movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, overlapping into the twenty-first century – Romanticism, Symbolism, Surrealism, Cubism, Modernism and post-Modernism

The twenty songs were written in 2003 and 2004. Alison Smart and Katharine Durran premièred them on 13th July 2004 at the Purcell Room, South Bank Centre, London.

New French Song forms a substantial contribution to the art song repertoire, and demonstrates a rare and far-reaching artistic vision.


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Katharine Durran

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BBC Singer ALISON SMART specialises
in the performance of new vocal repertoire,
and is also very much in demand
as an oratorio soloist.