Personalities | Francis Poulenc | Modern Era | Classical

(Fran-ses Poo-lank’) 1899–1963
French composer

Poulenc was the youngest member of the group of composers known as ‘Les Six’; his urbanity and humour and his many masterly songs have given him a reputation as a light-hearted miniaturist. His range, however, is better indicated by his three operas: Les mamelles de Tirésias (‘Tiresias’ Breasts’, 1947), a joyously Gallic and absurd wartime rejection of Teutonic seriousness (many of his works are in this vein), Dialogues des Carmélites (‘Carmelite Dialogues’, 1957), the story of a community of nuns executed during the French Revolution (Poulenc returned to the Catholic faith in his thirties, and wrote numerous sacred works), and La voix humaine (‘The Human Voice’, 1958), the monologue of a woman abandoned by her lover.

Recommended Recording:
Édition du 50e anniversaire, Various Artists incl. Francis Poulenc (EMI/Erato)

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