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Donald Macleod looks at Poulenc’s contacts among the salons of Parisian high society and his dealings with that legendary patron of music, the Princess de Polignac.

Donald Macleod looks at Poulenc’s contacts among the salons of Parisian high society and his dealings with that legendary patron of music, the Princess de Polignac.

Donald Macleod explores five aspects of Poulenc’s personality and how they find expression in his music. 'In Poulenc there is something of the monk and something of the rascal' said the composer’s friend Claude Rostand - but there were other sources of inspiration that drove him. From the gregarious exploits of his youth to his serious engagement with Catholicism, from schmoozing in high society salons to the calm he sought at his country retreat and his struggles with depression, Donald surveys the life and music of a man full of contradictions.

Poulenc had a privileged entry to the world, and as an adult slipped effortlessly into the affluent, artistic circles of Paris. The composer’s career was advanced by high society salons and the connections and friendships he cultivated there. Today Donald Macleod looks at the influential people he met in these settings, who he came to rely on professionally and personally, including Wanda Landowska and the Princesse de Polignac.

Nocturne No 4 in C minor ‘Bal fantôme’
Stephen Hough, piano

Concert Champêtre (1st mvt)
Ton Koopman, harpsichord
Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest
James Conlon, conductor

Trois poèmes de Louise Lalanne
Elly Ameling, soprano
Dalton Baldwin, piano

Tel Jour, Telle Nuit
Felicity Lott, soprano
Martin Martineau, piano

Concerto in D minor for Two Pianos and Orchestra
Louis Lortie, piano
Hélène Mercier, piano
BBC Philharmonic
Edward Gardner, conductor

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Francis Poulenc

    Nocturne No 4 in C minor (Bal Fantome)

    Performer: Stephen Hough.
    • HYPERION : CDA67890.
    • HYPERION.
    • 11.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Concert Champetre (1st movement)

    Performer: Ton Koopman. Performer: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: James Conlon.
    • ERATO : 3984-21342 2.
    • ERATO.
    • 2.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Trois Poemes de Louise Lalanne

    Performer: Dalton Baldwin. Singer: Elly Ameling.
    • EMI 7243 5 668502.
    • EMI 7243 5 668502.
    • 40.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Tel jour, telle nuit

    Performer: Malcolm Martineau. Singer: Felicity Lott.
    • SIGNUM: SIGCD263.
    • SIGNUM.
    • 17.
  • Francis Poulenc

    Concerto for two pianos

    Performer: Louis Lortie. Performer: Hélène Mercier. Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Edward Gardner.
    • Chandos : CHAN-10875.
    • Chandos.
    • 11.

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