A new CD celebrating the National Gallery’s Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition sheds light on Satie, Ravel and the music of the Belle Epoque.

ABC Classics has proved itself (and its listeners) so Frenchy, so chic in 2012; first with its Classic 100 Countdown – this year, the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth, dedicated to the music of France – and now with a new compilation produced in collaboration with the National Gallery of Australia. The Canberra gallery opens its summer blockbuster exhibition, Toulouse-Lautrec: Paris & the Moulin Rouge on December 14.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864–1901) was a French painter, printmaker and frequenter of Erik Satie‘s Montmartre cabaret haunt Le Chat Noir and the debauched Moulin Rouge, where he liked to kick up his heels… Or at least observe the young ladies doing it. The first major survey of his iconic work and bohemian lifestyle to be presented in Australia, the NGA has sourced material from more than 30 galleries worldwide.

ABC Classics’ companion CD features music by Ravel, Debussy, Satie, Hahn, and he of Can-Can fame, Jacques Offenbach; selected by Classic FM producer Ivan Lloyd with an introduction by Breakfast presenter Emma Ayres, who launched the album at a cabaret-inspired soirée last night. (Didn’t get the French water’s name – I’m going to go with Pierre?) It’s available now in ABC Shops and Centres.