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Poulenc's Poetic Voice

Donald Macleod explores how Poulenc's affinity with poetry began with Apollinaire and led to an artistic association with Paul Eluard.

Poulenc's affinity with poetry began with Apollinaire and lead to an artistic association with poet Paul Éluard .

Poulenc could claim many of the leading performers, artists and patrons of the day among his circle of friends. This week Donald Macleod looks at some of the more significant of those friendships and explores how these associations led on to artistic collaborations.

Poulenc always thought of himself as a product of the prevailing artistic climate of Paris. Born in 1899, he grew up in cultured and comfortable surroundings. His father and two uncles ran a company manufacturing high quality industrial chemicals, while his mother was an accomplished amateur musician, who gave the young Poulenc his first piano lessons. However, Poulenc did not follow the orthodox route of musical training by attending either the Paris Conservatoire or the Schola Cantorum. His artistic associations often came about through his social connections.

In today's episode Donald Macleod considers Poulenc's admiration for the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire and Paul Éluard. Poulenc became close friends with Éluard, regarding him as a "spiritual brother". Over some twenty odd years, Poulenc set over thirty of Éluard's poems to music.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Francis Poulenc

    2 Poemes De Guillaume Apollinaire For Voice And Piano

    Performer: Pascal Rogé. Singer: Felicity Lott.
    • Decca: 458 859-2.
    • Decca.
    • 1.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Sextet For Piano And Wind

    Ensemble: London Conchord Ensemble.
    • CHAMPS HILL : CHRCD028.
    • Champs Hill.
    • 1.
  • Francis Poulenc

    5 Poemes De Paul Eluard For Voice And Piano

    Ensemble: Accentus Ensemble. Conductor: Laurence Equilbey.
    • Naive V4883.
    • Naive.
    • 8.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Les Animaux Modeles - Suite From The Ballet

    Orchestra: Orchestre national de France. Conductor: Charles Dutoit.
    • Decca: 452 9377-2.
    • Decca.
    • 6.

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