Francis Poulenc

Francis Poulenc – Improvisation 15 Hommage à Edith Piaf

  • Poulenc Poulenec by Ward Schumaker

  • Francis Poulenec – 7 January 1899

    Critic Claude Rostand, in a July 1950 Paris-Presse article, described Poulenc as “half monk, half delinquent” (“le moine et le voyou”), a tag that was to be attached to his name for the rest of his career

    He is largely self-taught and eccentric.

    Poulenc, like Haydn and Schubert, is one of the few great composers not only content with, but modestly amazed at being human. The music doesn’t strive for the extraordinary, not even the religious music. What’s in us is extraordinary enough. There’s a sincere simplicity of effect.

    A veteran of two wars – (Breasts to Ballons)

    It was also the time when he wrote one of his most delightful pieces, a musical interpretation of the children’s story Babar the Little Elephant, scored for narrator and piano (later orchestrated) as well as a surrealist fantasy with the improbable title of Les Mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias), based on the eponymous play by Guillaume Apollinaire. Thérèse has become tired of her life as a submissive woman and morphs into the male Tirésias when her breasts turn into balloons and float away. It’s quite a story!