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Francis Poulenc
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1899-01-07
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/5e1ef22b-310a-46ad-885b-4897b8c9c85a
Francis Poulenc Francis Poulenc Francis Poulenc Francis Poulenc

Biography

It was the French critic Claude Rostand who made the classic distinction between Poulenc the monk (‘le moine’) and Poulenc the bad boy (‘le voyou’). Had he been writing when the composer was in his early thirties rather than his ...

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Biography

It was the French critic Claude Rostand who made the classic distinction between Poulenc the monk (‘le moine’) and Poulenc the bad boy (‘le voyou’). Had he been writing when the composer was in his early thirties rather than his early fifties, Rostand would not have been able to make such a distinction: there was only the bad boy. What changed things – following the trauma of the death of a colleague in a particularly horrific road accident in 1936 – was a revelatory first visit to the chapel of the Black Virgin at Rocamadour. Immediately on leaving there Poulenc made a start on his Litanies à la Vierge noire, the first in a series of 12 religious choral works written over the remaining 27 years of his life.

During his childhood he had been influenced less by his God-fearing father – one of the founders of the chemical manufacturing company that became Rhône-Poulenc – than by his mother, who was not very religious but was very musical. He absorbed cabaret and dance music as thoroughly as classical music from Monteverdi to Stravinsky via Mozart. His refusal to discriminate between the two types is one of the most distinctive, most appealing and most durable features of his own compositions, many of which are all the better for their quota of ‘bad-boy’ music.

Not having had a conservatoire training, though he studied piano with Ricardo Viñes and harmony with Charles Koechlin, he needed a model. That is where Stravinsky came in. Stravinsky was the dominant influence on his music not only in the 1920s – when Poulenc found early notoriety as one of the so-called ‘Groupe des Six’ under the anti-Impressionist aesthetic leadership of Jean Cocteau – but through much of his career. In fact, it would take him as long to integrate the Stravinsky idiom into his own harmonic language as to reconcile the monk and the bad-boy elements in his make-up.

Poulenc was an entertaining and affectionate companion who loved music above everything else. Recent biographies have made much of his homosexuality but it was no more important to his development than any other composer’s sexuality to his or hers. Besides, apart from the fact that he was by no means exclusively homosexual, the two most fruitful relationships in his adult life were strictly platonic. But for his long-term recital partnership with the baritone Pierre Bernac he would not have provided a catalogue of songs as distinguished as any in the 20th century. And without his loving admiration for the soprano Denise Duval, for whom he conceived the roles of Blanche in Dialogues des Carmélites and the solitary protagonist in La voix humaine, his last two operas might not have been written at all.

Profile © Gerald Larner

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Tracks (45)

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Francis Poulenc, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Thierry Fischer
Les Biches - suite: Rag-mazurka
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Les Biches - suite: Rag-mazurka Les Biches - suite: Rag-mazurka Les Biches - suite: Rag-mazurka Les Biches - suite: Rag-mazurka
Francis Poulenc, Seta Tanyel & Jeremy Brown
L' Embarquement pour Cythere - valse-musette for 2 pianos
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L' Embarquement pour Cythere - valse-musette for 2 pianos L' Embarquement pour Cythere - valse-musette for 2 pianos L' Embarquement pour Cythere - valse-musette for 2 pianos L' Embarquement pour Cythere - valse-musette for 2 pianos
Francis Poulenc, Polyphony & Stephen Layton
Salve Regina
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Salve Regina Salve Regina Salve Regina Salve Regina
Francis Poulenc, Geoffrey Parsons & Rita Streich
Airs chantés
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Airs chantés Airs chantés Airs chantés Airs chantés
Francis Poulenc, Polyphony, Stephen Layton, Britten Sinfonia, Susan Gritton & Trinity College Cambridge Choir
Qui sedes as dexteram Patris (Gloria)
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Qui sedes as dexteram Patris (Gloria) Qui sedes as dexteram Patris (Gloria) Qui sedes as dexteram Patris (Gloria) Qui sedes as dexteram Patris (Gloria)
Francis Poulenc, Polyphony, Stephen Layton, Britten Sinfonia, Susan Gritton & Trinity College Cambridge Choir
Domine Deus, agnus Dei (Gloria)
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Domine Deus, agnus Dei (Gloria) Domine Deus, agnus Dei (Gloria) Domine Deus, agnus Dei (Gloria) Domine Deus, agnus Dei (Gloria)
Francis Poulenc, New York Polyphony, Stephen Layton, Britten Sinfonia & Trinity College Cambridge Choir
Gloria in excelsis Deo (Gloria)
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Gloria in excelsis Deo (Gloria) Gloria in excelsis Deo (Gloria) Gloria in excelsis Deo (Gloria) Gloria in excelsis Deo (Gloria)
Francis Poulenc
Marie (7 Chansons)
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Marie (7 Chansons) Marie (7 Chansons) Marie (7 Chansons) Marie (7 Chansons)
Francis Poulenc, Gabriel Tacchino & Mady Mesplé
'C'
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'C' 'C' 'C' 'C'
Francis Poulenc, Maîtrise de Radio France & Denis Dupays
Petites voix pour voix egales a capella
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Petites voix pour voix egales a capella Petites voix pour voix egales a capella Petites voix pour voix egales a capella Petites voix pour voix egales a capella
Francis Poulenc, Malcolm Martineau & Robert Murray
Beleuet
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Beleuet Beleuet Beleuet Beleuet
Francis Poulenc, Richard Hickox & City of London Sinfonia
Sinfonietta, 2nd movement; Molto vivace
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Sinfonietta, 2nd movement; Molto vivace Sinfonietta, 2nd movement; Molto vivace Sinfonietta, 2nd movement; Molto vivace Sinfonietta, 2nd movement; Molto vivace
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
15 Improvisations for piano, no.15 in C minor; Hommage a Edith Piaf [1959]
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15 Improvisations for piano, no.15 in C minor; Hommage a Edith Piaf [1959] 15 Improvisations for piano, no.15 in C minor; Hommage a Edith Piaf [1959] 15 Improvisations for piano, no.15 in C minor; Hommage a Edith Piaf [1959] 15 Improvisations for piano, no.15 in C minor; Hommage a Edith Piaf [1959]
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
15 Improvisations for piano, no.12 in E flat major; Hommage a Schubert [1941]
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15 Improvisations for piano, no.12 in E flat major; Hommage a Schubert [1941] 15 Improvisations for piano, no.12 in E flat major; Hommage a Schubert [1941] 15 Improvisations for piano, no.12 in E flat major; Hommage a Schubert [1941] 15 Improvisations for piano, no.12 in E flat major; Hommage a Schubert [1941]
Francis Poulenc, Andrew Nethsingha & The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge
Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Asisse
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Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Asisse Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Asisse Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Asisse Quatre Petites Prières de Saint François d’Asisse
Francis Poulenc, Polyphony, Choir of Trinity College, Britten Sinfonia & Stephen Layton
Gloria in G major for soprano, chorus and orchestra: Gloria
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Gloria in G major for soprano, chorus and orchestra: Gloria Gloria in G major for soprano, chorus and orchestra: Gloria Gloria in G major for soprano, chorus and orchestra: Gloria Gloria in G major for soprano, chorus and orchestra: Gloria
Francis Poulenc, Pascal Rogé & Ami Roge
Sonata for piano duet [1918, rev. 1939]
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Sonata for piano duet [1918, rev. 1939] Sonata for piano duet [1918, rev. 1939] Sonata for piano duet [1918, rev. 1939] Sonata for piano duet [1918, rev. 1939]
Francis Poulenc & The Nash Ensemble
Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone
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Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone
Berkeley, Lennox, Francis Poulenc, Emmanuel Pahud, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande & Enrique García Asensio
Sonata arr. Berkeley for flute and orchestra (orig. for flute and piano)
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Sonata arr. Berkeley for flute and orchestra (orig. for flute and piano) Sonata arr. Berkeley for flute and orchestra (orig. for flute and piano) Sonata arr. Berkeley for flute and orchestra (orig. for flute and piano) Sonata arr. Berkeley for flute and orchestra (orig. for flute and piano)
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
3 Mouvements perpetuels for piano
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3 Mouvements perpetuels for piano 3 Mouvements perpetuels for piano 3 Mouvements perpetuels for piano 3 Mouvements perpetuels for piano
Francis Poulenc, Julius Drake & Nicholas Daniel
Sonata for Oboe and Piano
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Sonata for Oboe and Piano Sonata for Oboe and Piano Sonata for Oboe and Piano Sonata for Oboe and Piano
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
Novelette no. 3 in E minor (sur un theme de M de Falla) for piano
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Novelette no. 3 in E minor (sur un theme de M de Falla) for piano Novelette no. 3 in E minor (sur un theme de M de Falla) for piano Novelette no. 3 in E minor (sur un theme de M de Falla) for piano Novelette no. 3 in E minor (sur un theme de M de Falla) for piano
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
Novelette no. 2 in B flat minor for piano
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Novelette no. 2 in B flat minor for piano Novelette no. 2 in B flat minor for piano Novelette no. 2 in B flat minor for piano Novelette no. 2 in B flat minor for piano
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
Novelette no. 1 in C major for piano
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Novelette no. 1 in C major for piano Novelette no. 1 in C major for piano Novelette no. 1 in C major for piano Novelette no. 1 in C major for piano
Francis Poulenc, Narodowa Orkiestra Symfoniczna Polskiego Radia w Katowicach & Jerzy Maksymiuk
Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra
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Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra Concerto in D minor for 2 pianos and orchestra
Francis Poulenc & Pascal Rogé
Les Soirees de Nazelles - suite for piano, no.2; Le Comble de la distinction
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Les Soirees de Nazelles - suite for piano, no.2; Le Comble de la distinction Les Soirees de Nazelles - suite for piano, no.2; Le Comble de la distinction Les Soirees de Nazelles - suite for piano, no.2; Le Comble de la distinction Les Soirees de Nazelles - suite for piano, no.2; Le Comble de la distinction
Francis Poulenc, Choir of King’s College, Cambridge & David Trendell
Litanies à la Vierge noire
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Litanies à la Vierge noire Litanies à la Vierge noire Litanies à la Vierge noire Litanies à la Vierge noire
Francis Poulenc, Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, Choeurs de l’Opéra de Lyon, London Chorus, Catherine Dubosc (soprano), Brigitte Fournier (soprano) & Kent Nagano (conductor)
Dialogue de Carmélites
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Dialogue de Carmélites Dialogue de Carmélites Dialogue de Carmélites Dialogue de Carmélites

Dialogue de Carmélites

Performer
Orchestre de l’Opéra de Lyon, Choeurs de l’Opéra de Lyon, London Chorus, Catherine Dubosc (soprano), Brigitte Fournier (soprano)
Kent Nagano (conductor)
Francis Poulenc, BBC National Orchestra of Wales & Thierry Fischer
Les Biches - suite, Rondeau
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Les Biches - suite, Rondeau Les Biches - suite, Rondeau Les Biches - suite, Rondeau Les Biches - suite, Rondeau
Francis Poulenc, Raphael Wallfisch & John York
Suite francaise [after Gervaise] vers. for cello and piano, [complete]
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Suite francaise [after Gervaise] vers. for cello and piano, [complete] Suite francaise [after Gervaise] vers. for cello and piano, [complete] Suite francaise [after Gervaise] vers. for cello and piano, [complete] Suite francaise [after Gervaise] vers. for cello and piano, [complete]
Francis Poulenc, Roger Vignoles & Véronique Gens
Les chemins de l’amour
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Les chemins de l’amour Les chemins de l’amour Les chemins de l’amour Les chemins de l’amour
Francis Poulenc, Michael Collins & Michael McHale
Sonata for clarinet and piano
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Sonata for clarinet and piano Sonata for clarinet and piano Sonata for clarinet and piano Sonata for clarinet and piano
Francis Poulenc, Elisabeth Chojancka, Jean-Claude Casadesus & Orchestre National de Lille-Region Nord/Pas-de Calais
Concert Champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra: 1st movement
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Concert Champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra: 1st movement Concert Champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra: 1st movement Concert Champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra: 1st movement Concert Champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra: 1st movement

Concert Champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra: 1st movement

Performer
Elisabeth Chojancka
Orchestra
Orchestre National de Lille-Region Nord/Pas-de Calais
Francis Poulenc, Roderick Williams & Michael Cleaver
Parisiana - 2 songs for voice and piano
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Parisiana - 2 songs for voice and piano Parisiana - 2 songs for voice and piano Parisiana - 2 songs for voice and piano Parisiana - 2 songs for voice and piano
Francis Poulenc & Simon Trpchesk
Homage to Edith Piaf
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Homage to Edith Piaf Homage to Edith Piaf Homage to Edith Piaf Homage to Edith Piaf
Francis Poulenc, Pascal Rogé, Charles Dutoit & Orchestre National de France
Concert champetre for harpsichord (or piano) and orchestra: 3rd mvt; Finale
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Concert champetre for harpsichord (or piano) and orchestra: 3rd mvt; Finale Concert champetre for harpsichord (or piano) and orchestra: 3rd mvt; Finale Concert champetre for harpsichord (or piano) and orchestra: 3rd mvt; Finale Concert champetre for harpsichord (or piano) and orchestra: 3rd mvt; Finale
Francis Poulenc & Simon Trpchesk
15 Improvisations - no.15 in C minor: Hommage a Edith Piaf
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15 Improvisations - no.15 in C minor: Hommage a Edith Piaf 15 Improvisations - no.15 in C minor: Hommage a Edith Piaf 15 Improvisations - no.15 in C minor: Hommage a Edith Piaf 15 Improvisations - no.15 in C minor: Hommage a Edith Piaf
Francis Poulenc, New London Chamber Choir & James Wood
Un Soir de neige - Bois meutri
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Un Soir de neige - Bois meutri Un Soir de neige - Bois meutri Un Soir de neige - Bois meutri Un Soir de neige - Bois meutri
Francis Poulenc & Simon Trpchesk
Morceaux
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Morceaux Morceaux Morceaux Morceaux
Francis Poulenc
Improvisation 15 - Hommage à Edith Piaf
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Improvisation 15 - Hommage à Edith Piaf Improvisation 15 - Hommage à Edith Piaf Improvisation 15 - Hommage à Edith Piaf Improvisation 15 - Hommage à Edith Piaf
Francis Poulenc, Ian Tracey, Yan Pascal Tortelier & BBC Philharmonic
Organ Concerto (conclusion)
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Organ Concerto (conclusion) Organ Concerto (conclusion) Organ Concerto (conclusion) Organ Concerto (conclusion)
Francis Poulenc, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, James O'Donnell & London Philharmonic Orchestra
Concerto in G minor for organ, string orchestra and timpani
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Concerto in G minor for organ, string orchestra and timpani Concerto in G minor for organ, string orchestra and timpani Concerto in G minor for organ, string orchestra and timpani Concerto in G minor for organ, string orchestra and timpani
Francis Poulenc, Daniel Bates, Noam Greenberg & Rie Koyama
Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano
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Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano
Francis Poulenc, Alan Civil, John Wilbraham & John Iveson
Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone
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Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone Sonata for horn, trumpet and trombone
Francis Poulenc, Daniel Bates, Alec Frank-Gemmill, Chen Halevi, Noam Greenberg, Ariel Zuckermann & Rie Koyama
Sextet for winds and piano
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Sextet for winds and piano Sextet for winds and piano Sextet for winds and piano Sextet for winds and piano
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