L’Album de Poil de Carotte

sur un texte de Jules Renard

A few words about Poil de Carotte; a few words to admit that his experience is very remote from my own… I am lucky in having had a happy childhood, whence the constant and ever-increasing feelings of nostalgia that find their way into my poems, prose and music. If there is a child I can identify with, it is the one in Georges Schehadé, hiding “behind the roses”, sometimes with “tormented eyes”, yet loving and trusting his “faithful home”; or the one in Léon‑Paul Fargue who has lasting memories of a scented garden: “jardin de jadis, veilleuse parfumée”. No, I have ­nothing in common with Poil de Carotte. I am not even sure that I like him. But can one like Poil de Carotte? He is, to quote a film title, “ugly, dirty and bad”. Yet he is such a picture of distress that I was haunted by him for several years in spite of myself. I did not want to feel more sorry for him than the author does. The mixture of pain and irony shown by the latter—​a volatile combination—made me feel apprehensive in the knowledge that the music could be detrimental to it. Above all, I dreaded that terrible final “maman”, which is so completely different from the one at the end of L’Enfant et les sortilèges, and shows how very unalike those two children are: the one, forgiven, pacified, reconciled, returns to his family circle and to the community to which he belongs, returns to natural human warmth and affection; but from all those things the other boy is forever excluded. So I composed this short cycle in fits and starts, in successive waves, between 1986 and 1990. Then in 2006 I revised and amended it and presented it to Florence Katz, who gave the first performance at the Nancy Festival.

Guy Sacre
(translation Mary Pardoe)


  • I. Les présentations
  • II. Madame Lepic
  • III. Parrain
  • IV. Ernestine et Félix
  • V. Les préférences
  • VI. Monsieur Lepic
  • VII. Le cheval de bois
  • VIII. Maman

Audio Excerpts

A recording of L’Album de Poil de Carotte is available on the Timpani label.

Poil de Carotte

Les présentations

Ernestine et Félix

Monsieur Lepic