Francis Poulenc

~ Person


Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (French: [fʁɑ̃sis ʒɑ̃ maʁsɛl pulɛ̃k]; 7 January 1899 – 30 January 1963) was a French composer and pianist. His compositions include mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, choral pieces, operas, ballets, and orchestral concert music. Among the best-known are the piano suite Trois mouvements perpétuels (1919), the ballet Les biches (1923), the Concert champêtre (1928) for harpsichord and orchestra, the opera Dialogues des Carmélites (1957), and the Gloria (1959) for soprano, choir and orchestra.

His wealthy family intended Poulenc for a business career and did not allow him to enrol at a music college. Largely self-educated musically, he studied with the pianist Ricardo Viñes, who became his mentor after the composer's parents died. Poulenc soon came under the influence of Erik Satie, under whose tutelage he became one of a group of young composers known collectively as Les Six. In his early works Poulenc became known for his high spirits and irreverence. During the 1930s a much more serious side to his nature emerged, particularly in the religious music he composed from 1936 onwards, which he alternated with his more light-hearted works.

In addition to composing, Poulenc was an accomplished pianist. He was particularly celebrated for his performing partnerships with the baritone Pierre Bernac (who also advised him in vocal writing) and the soprano Denise Duval, touring in Europe and America with each, and making many recordings. He was among the first composers to see the importance of the gramophone, and he recorded extensively from 1928 onwards.

In his later years, and for decades after his death, Poulenc had a reputation, particularly in his native country, as a humorous, lightweight composer, and his religious music was often overlooked. During the 21st century more attention has been given to his serious works, with many new productions of Dialogues des Carmélites and La Voix humaine worldwide, and numerous live and recorded performances of his songs and choral music.

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Album + Compilation

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1992 Songs Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Liszt, Hugo Wolf, Erik Satie, Francis Poulenc 1
1993 Gloria / Organ Concerto Francis Poulenc 1
1993 Poulenc: Le Bestiaire / Tel jour, telle nuit / 9 mélodies / Britten: Michelangelo Songs / John Donne Sonnets Francis Poulenc, Benjamin Britten; Pierre Bernac, Francis Poulenc, Peter Pears, Benjamin Britten 1
1993 Shostakovich: Piano Concertos no. 1 & no. 2 / Poulenc: Concerto for 2 Pianos Shostakovich, Poulenc; Leonard Bernstein, André Previn, Arthur Gold, Robert Fizdale, New York Philharmonic 1
1994 Honegger: Pastorale d'été / Cello Concerto / Poulenc: Aubade / Trio / Mouvements perpétuels / Nocturnes / Novelettes / Improvisations Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc; Arthur Honegger, Francis Poulenc 1
1995 Französische Oboensonaten Saint‐Saëns, Bréville, Poulenc, Dutilleux; Lajos Lencsés, Karl Bergemann 1
1997 Cello Sonatas Chopin, Fauré, Poulenc; Pieter Wispelwey, Paolo Giacometti 1
1997 The Heifetz Collection, Volume 45: Music of France Saint‐Saëns, Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Poulenc; Heifetz 1
1998 The Complete Orchestral Music and Concertos (Orchestre National de France feat. conductor: Charles Dutoit) Francis Poulenc 1
1998 Great Pianists of the 20th Century, Volume 15: Lyubov Bruk & Mark Taimanov Arensky, Busoni, Mozart, Poulenc, Rachmaninoff; Lyubov Bruk, Mark Taimanov 1
1999 Organ Concerto / Concert Champêtre / Suite Francais Poulenc; Philippe Lefebvre, Elisabeth Chojnacka, Orchestre National de Lille, Jean-Claude Casadesus 1
1999 Cello Sonatas Debussy; Poulenc; Franck, Steven Isserlis, Pascal Devoyon 1
1999 Organ Concerto / Concert Champêtre / Piano Concerto Francis Poulenc 1
2000 Complete Chamber Music, Volume 2 Francis Poulenc; Alexandre Tharaud, Françoise Groben, Graf Mourja, Ronald van Spaendonck 1
2000 Mélodies (Songs) Francis Poulenc; Michel Piquemal, Christine Lajarigge 1
2001 Aubade / Sinfonietta / Suite française / Stabat Mater / Mélodies Francis Poulenc 1
2002 Piano Concertos / Concert champêtre / Organ Concerto Poulenc; City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox 2
2003 Concert champêtre / Concerto for two pianos / Organ concerto Francis Poulenc 1
2007 Poulenc : Intégrale de la musique de chambre et des œuvres vocales avec instruments Francis Poulenc; Alexandre Tharaud 1
2009 Organ Concerto / Piano Concerto / Concerto champêtre / Concerto for two pianos / Aubade / Les Biches Francis Poulenc 1
2015 The Complete Songs of Poulenc, Vol. 5 Francis Poulenc; Malcolm Martineau 1
Choral Works Francis Poulenc 1
Orchestral & Choral Works Poulenc; Pascal Rogé, François Le Roux, Françoise Pollet, Orchestre National de France, Charles Dutoit 1
Piano Music / Chamber Music Francis Poulenc 1

Album + Live

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2007 Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphony no. 3 "Organ" / Francis Poulenc: Organ Concerto / Samuel Barber: Toccata Festiva Camille Saint‐Saëns, Francis Poulenc, Samuel Barber; The Philadelphia Orchestra, Christoph Eschenbach, Olivier Latry 1

Unspecified type

Year Title Artist RatingReleases
2015 BBC Music, Volume 23, Number 9: Poulenc: Organ Concerto / Duruflé: Requiem Francis Poulenc, Maurice Duruflé 1
Coll. radio classique Vol. 13 Satie - Poulenc Erik Satie & Francis Poulenc 1
Les mamelles de Tiresias Francis Poulenc 1
Piano Music, Volume 1: Eric Parkin Francis Poulenc 1


Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1999 Konzerte für Orgel und Orchester Francis Poulenc, Alfredo Casella; Orchester der Stadt Tarnow, Sirius Brass, Stanisław Krawczynski, Ulrich Meldau 1

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