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Francis Poulenc. Gay French composer 1899-1963

Does anyone, besides me, still appreciate him?

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by Anonymousreply 41Last Saturday at 4:27 PM

Lots of love interest and lovers

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by Anonymousreply 111/13/2020

Dialogues des Carmélites has been one of my favorite operas for 40 years.

by Anonymousreply 211/13/2020

Les Biches is probably one of the best ballet suites ever written. I listen to it all the time. Never gets tired.

A lot of French composers don't get the recognition they deserve. Saint Saens is, in my mind, one of the greatest composers ever, but few people know much about his music and outside of Carnival of the Animals and (sometimes) the Organ Symphony, it is seldom in the repertoire. Likewise, Faure created some of the most beautiful pieces ever, and again, they're rarely played. Likewise, many other of their contemporaries.... Only DeBussy gets the full Great Composer treatment, and, to a slightly lesser extent, Ravel (who is about my favorite composer of all).

I think most people just stick to the basics, the Bs, and then the other ones constantly played in the concert halls. I like Dvorak and Schumann and, especially, Schubert, but they are overplayed now.

by Anonymousreply 311/13/2020

Poulenc's music is melodic and delightful! Any of the concertos make for wonderful listening.

by Anonymousreply 411/13/2020

most is a bit to airy for me, his organ concerto though and particularly his "voix humaine" written during WWII are exceptional works

by Anonymousreply 511/13/2020

r3, with a name like "les bi(t)ches" it should be the most popular piece of music ever on the DL

by Anonymousreply 611/13/2020

Love Poulenc. Concerto for two pianos is fab. So is his Gloria.

by Anonymousreply 711/13/2020

I love his chamber and, especially, piano music. I also love that (as you might know) one critic referred to Poulenc - who was both deeply spiritual and very sexual - as a "hooligan monk."

by Anonymousreply 811/13/2020

I like his organ music and have song some of his choral music. All of it is good.

by Anonymousreply 911/13/2020

As an oboist (in high school in college, only an amateur in adult life), his Oboe Sonata is a staple of the rep and was the last piece he wrote before he died. The last movement, Déploration, is very, very dark.

Didn't realize he was gay.

by Anonymousreply 1011/13/2020

One of my favorite piano pieces. Melodic, with beautiful counterpoint and perfect touches of minor chords and mild dissonances.

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by Anonymousreply 1111/13/2020

I played his Trois Mouvements Perpetuels for my first piano jury as a college freshman (got all As and an A+!). I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was the same age he was when he composed them.

Still as fresh and new as the day he wrote them! The third is still my favorite.

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by Anonymousreply 1211/14/2020

Still a fan, and also had no idea he was gay.

by Anonymousreply 1311/14/2020

Francis Poulenc was openly gay as a young man, something that could have had him deported when Nazis took over Paris during WWII. They kept an eye on him, and voiced displeasure at some of his works, but otherwise M. Poulenc was left alone. This even though he often couldn't resist stirring the pot.

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by Anonymousreply 1411/14/2020

By many accounts Pierre Bernac, was Francis Poulenc's partner in both life and profession; but you'd never know it as nearly nothing is written about their relationship outside of music related.

Francis Poulenc is buried at Père Lachaise cemetery with his niece; she inherited his entire estate along with rights to recordings, etc.., but died several months later.

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by Anonymousreply 1511/14/2020

Never mind the above, checked my French sources and Poulenc and Bernac were just partners in music, period. They even used "vous" to each other their entire lives.

Sorry for misinformation....

by Anonymousreply 1611/14/2020

Another vote for Dialogues des Carmelites, in particular Dervaux’ version with Régine Crespin in Mme Lidoine.

by Anonymousreply 1711/14/2020


Have that version of Dialogues of Carmelites as CD set, and have played it to death over years.

While alive and IIRC in his will Poulenc stated he wished DdC always to be performed in language native to country were it took place. French in France, English in UK or USA.... But think it sounds best in French.

Have seen he Metropolitan opera version with late Jessye Norman, and it was done in English.

Poulenc wrote the part of second prioress for the young Mlle Régine Crespin , so hearing her perform any of the roles is wonderful because she was "there" so to speak when opera premiered in 1957.

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by Anonymousreply 1811/14/2020

For those who did not know, Le dialogue des Carmélites is based on actual account of a group of Carmelite nuns executed by French revolution.

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by Anonymousreply 1911/14/2020

Besides several books there is also a French film on subject.

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by Anonymousreply 2011/14/2020

J'écoute maintenant sa sonate pour clarinette.

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by Anonymousreply 2111/14/2020


Thank you for the precision.

Last Love interest of Poulenc was Louis Gautier, a young soldier.

by Anonymousreply 2211/14/2020

Did you know Francis Poulenc came from a very affluent family, his father was Émile Poulenc who along with his brother (uncle to FP) was Poulenc Frères a pharmacutucal company founded by Francis Poulenc's grandfather. The company merged to become Rhône-Poulenc in 1928 with subsequent later mergers having various divisions now part of Sanofi S.A., Solvay group and Bayer Crop Science.

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by Anonymousreply 2311/15/2020

Carmelites is extraordinary.

by Anonymousreply 2411/15/2020

The last ten minutes of Carmelites is extraordinary.

What comes before isn't so extraordinary.

by Anonymousreply 2511/15/2020

Young Jessye Norman singing Poulenc.

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by Anonymousreply 2611/16/2020

There are so many great moments in Dialoughes des Carmelites not just the ending....

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by Anonymousreply 2711/16/2020

I think of Francis Poulenc as very 20th century, very 1920s. So many of his pieces are like a flippant dancing bird.

He uses an orchestra as if it were a solo instrument. He seems too impatient —or perhaps uninterested in exploring the emotions and colours in the orchestra —as Ravel did so effortlessly— or Martinu.

His ‘Gloria’ is frequently played. It sounds very much like ‘The Carmelites’ in that he uses the same orchestral instruments in the same percussive way.

It seems he was friends with Bebè Bérard and Boris Kochno (Diaghilev’s last boy). What a pity he didn’t do film music like Georges Auric (whose film music was heard by many more millions than ever heard Francis Poulenc).

by Anonymousreply 2811/16/2020

Scene where Blanche's brother comes to fetch her out of the convent as the revolution takes on steam and their father feels it is no longer a safe place.

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by Anonymousreply 2911/16/2020

Completely disagree R25. One of my favorite operas in French, although the English translation is actually quite good.

I’ve performed Poulenc for decades, including Carmelites with major opera companies, but probably my favorite piece to perform is a chamber piece called Le bal masqué, a Dada composition with absurdist lyrics. So much fun.

by Anonymousreply 3011/16/2020

It doesn't make sense to blame Poulenc for not composing like Ravel. I don't think he's really a profound composer (except for Carmelites and a few other compositions) but I've gotten much pleasure from his music, which is sort of the point.

by Anonymousreply 3111/16/2020

One of the simplest, purest, and evocative songs ever written, using the words of Poulenc’s favorite poet Guillame Apollinaire. The words themselves seem like they could have been written by a DataLounger:


Ma chambre a la forme d’une cage Le soleil passe son bras par la fenêtre Mais moi qui veux fumer pour faire des mirages J’allume au feu du jour ma cigarette Je ne veux pas travailler je veux fumer


My room is shaped like a cage The sun slips its arm through the window But I who want to smoke to make mirages I light my cigarette on daylight's fire I do not want to work I want to smoke

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by Anonymousreply 32Last Wednesday at 12:11 AM

There's a trashy write-up on him here.

It doesn't mention if he was an atheist or not.

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by Anonymousreply 33Last Wednesday at 3:23 PM

Poulenc was many things, but an Atheist wasn’t one of them. He was a devout Catholic who experienced many levels of spiritual awakening throughout his life.

by Anonymousreply 34Last Wednesday at 4:02 PM

Very Catholic.

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by Anonymousreply 35Last Thursday at 12:23 AM

[quote] …blame…

No, that's not the word. The word is ignorance. I’m ignorant of why Poulenc wrote in the way he did. I don’t know what was going on in his life.

For instance I know that my one of my favourite composers was appallingly lazy and preferred the sun in Portofino to the piano. Another of my favourites was an atheist but wrote some wonderful, resonant religious pieces. Another favourite (well, not so favourite nowdays) lived with a man of his own age but supposedly was obsessed with teenagers.

Another, a definite favourite!, well I had assumed he was homosexual, but now we’re told he was merely fastidious and celibate like Proust.

by Anonymousreply 36Last Friday at 12:40 PM

That portrait has to be a Picasso.

by Anonymousreply 37Last Friday at 12:44 PM

Francis Poulenc is buried at Père Lachaise cemetery with his niece; she inherited his entire estate along with rights to recordings, etc.., but died several months later.

Shortly after the war, Poulenc had a brief affair with a woman, Fréderique ("Freddy") Lebedeff, with whom he had a daughter, Marie-Ange, in 1946. The child was brought up without knowing who her father was (Poulenc was supposedly her "godfather") but he made generous provision for her, and she was the principal beneficiary of his will.[72]

she's my niece she's my daughter I said, I want the truth [slap] she's my niece and my daughter

by Anonymousreply 38Last Friday at 1:32 PM


As long as she's not his sister and his daughter.

It happens.

by Anonymousreply 39Last Saturday at 2:36 PM

R36 are you talking about Ben?

That list does not include Mussorgsky or Gershwin.

by Anonymousreply 40Last Saturday at 3:18 PM

Yes, R40, I was referring to Benjamin Britten.

Did Mussorgsky or Gershwin have issues as well?

by Anonymousreply 41Last Saturday at 4:27 PM
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