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FRANCIS POULENC  

(1899 - 1963)

The French composer Francis Poulenc only undertook formal musical training, with Charles Koechlin, in 1921, by which time he had already become identified with Les Six, the six French composers of the circle of Jean Cocteau that included Honegger, Auric and Milhaud. His music was initially lightweight in style, but the death of a close friend in 1935 brought a new depth to his work at the same time as the start of a long collaboration with the singer Pierre Bernac.

Stage Works

Poulenc won considerable success with his comic opera Les Mamelles de Tirésias (‘The Breasts of Tiresias’), with a text by Apollinaire. It was written during the later days of World War Two and staged in Paris in 1947. The tragic opera Dialogues des Carmélites (‘Dialogues of the Carmelites’) is part of the international operatic repertoire. Its libretto is based on a play by Georges Bernanos dealing with the execution of Carmelite nuns during the French Revolution, itself based on Gertrud von Le Fort’s novel Die Letzte am Schafott (‘The Last on the Scaffold’). Other stage works, in addition to a number of scores of incidental music and film music, include the ballet Les Biches, first staged in Monte Carlo in 1924.

Orchestral Music

Poulenc’s orchestral music includes a suite from Les Biches, the charming Concert champêtre for harpsichord and small orchestra, and concertos for organ, for piano and for two pianos.

Choral and Vocal Music

Poulenc made a significant and idiomatic contribution to the art of French solo song in addition to a number of choral works. His solo songs range from settings of Apollinaire and Cocteau to settings of Ronsard. His melodrama L’Histoire de Babar, for reciter and piano, tells the story of Babar the Elephant, the creation of Jean de Brunhoff in a simple tale for children. His church music, after his inner conversion to the Catholic religion of his childhood in 1935, is marked by a Mass setting of 1937 and, more notably, the moving Stabat mater of 1950. In 1959 came Gloriafor solo soprano, chorus and orchestra, with a final, more sombre Sept Répons des ténèbres in 1961.

Chamber Music

French composers of the 20th century have shown a particular deftness in the handling of woodwind instruments. This ability is exemplified in Poulenc’s sonatas for flute and piano, clarinet and piano, and oboe and piano, in addition to an attractive trio for oboe, bassoon and piano.

Piano Music

The best known of all Poulenc’s music was at one time the three Mouvements perpétuels of 1918. There is a sonata for piano duet of the same year and a number of attractive short pieces, including a neoclassical suite after Claude Gervaise and the elegant Promenades.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
CHILDREN’S CLASSICS - CD Story Box Naxos 8.507007
POULENC The Complete Chamber Works Naxos 8.505222

Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
ALLELUJA NATIVITAS - Canti di Natale (Christmas Songs) Tactus
TC900002
Choral - Sacred
ANIMALS IN MUSIC Naxos
8.578281-82
Instrumental
Art and Music: Picasso - Music of His Time Naxos
8.558059
Vocal
AVE MARIA - Les plus beaux Ave Maria et chants a la Vierge (The Most Beautiful Ave Marias and Songs to the Virgin) Naxos
8.570886-87
Choral - Sacred
BEST OF JOAN SUTHERLAND (THE) (NTSC) Opus Arte
OAF4007D
Classical Concert
BOWLES, P.: Picnic Cantata (A) / POULENC, F.: Sonata for 2 Pianos (Davy, Flowers, Gaither, Wynder, Howard, Gold, Fizdale) (1954) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80888
Instrumental
Chamber Music - GRIEG, E. / HINDEMITH, P. / POULENC, F. / MARTINU, B. (The Beauty of Two) (Kennedy Center Chamber Players) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-90705
Chamber Music
Chamber Music - LALLIET, C.-T. / POULENC, F. / RACHMANINOV, S. / RAVEL, M. (Trio Cremeloque) Solo Musica
SM213
Chamber Music
Chamber Music - SAINT-SAENS, C. / MILHAUD, D. / DEBUSSY, C. / HONEGGER, A. (French Music for Clarinet and Piano) (Veglianti, Polimanti) Naxos
9.70166
Chamber Music
Chamber Music with Clarinet - POULENC, F. / BERNSTEIN, L. / STRAVINSKY, I. / GOULD, M. / BARTOK, B. (Waiting for Benny) (J. Herve) Naxos
8.573032
Chamber Music
CHILDREN'S CELLO BIS
BIS-CD-1562
Chamber Music
CHILDREN'S CLASSICS - Music to Make Children Brighter (2008 International Edition) Naxos
8.578019-20
Instrumental
CHILDREN'S CLASSICS - Music to Make Children Brighter (2009 Hong Kong Edition) Naxos
8.578057-58
Instrumental
Choral Concert: Bavarian Radio Chorus - POULENC, F. / DURUFLE, M. / LEEUW, T. de / MESSIAEN, O. (Sacred Choral Music) Oehms Classics
OC540
Choral - Sacred
Choral Concert: Choir of St. John's, Elora - TAVENER, J. / STAINER, J. POULENC, F. / STANFORD, C.V. (Psalms and Motets for Reflection) Naxos
8.572540
Choral - Sacred
Choral Concert: Eric Ericson Chamber Choir - NORMAN, L. / BACH, J.S. / BRAHMS, J. / POULENC, F. / SANDSTROM, S.-D. (Swedish Choral Society, Vol. 1) Naxos
8.572337
Choral - Sacred
Choral Concert: The King's Singers - SCHUTZ, H. / POULENC, F. / LASSO, O. (Pater Noster: A Choral Reflection on the Lord's Prayer) Naxos
8.572987
Choral - Sacred
Choral Music - TAVENER, J. / LIGETI, G. / DEBUSSY, C. / BADINGS, H. / POULENC, F. / RUTTI, C. / THOMPSON, R. (San Francisco Symphony Chorus) Delos
DE3270
Choral - Secular
Choral Music (French) - ABSIL, J. / RAVEL, M. / POULENC, F. / HINDEMITH, P. (Europa Chor Akademie, Cambreling) Capriccio
C67151
Choral - Secular
CHRISTMAS (THE MYSTERY OF) Naxos
8.554179
Choral - Sacred
CHRISTMAS CHILL - The Ultimate Collection Naxos
8.578013-14
Choral - Sacred
CHRISTMAS CHORAL MUSIC (Boston Trinity Church Choir, Jones) Dorian Sono Luminus
DOR-93240
Choral - Sacred
Clarinet and Piano Recital: Feilmair, Benjamin / Feilmair, Florian - WEBER, C.M. von / SZALOWSKI, A. / FRANCAIX, J. / POULENC, F. (Debut Recording) Paladino Music
PMR0024
Chamber Music
Clarinet Recital: Ashkenazy, Dimitri - POULENC, F. / DEBUSSY, C. / MILHAUD, D. / BOZZA, E. (French Clarinet Music) Paladino Music
PMR0055
Chamber Music
Clarinet Recital: Manno, Ralph - DEBUSSY, C. / POULENC, F. / HONEGGER, A. / SCHMITT, F. / MILHAUD, D. (French Clarinet Rhapsody) Oehms Classics
OC114
Chamber Music
CLASSIC ARCHIVE: Voices (SD NTSC on Blu-ray) Ideale Audience
3075084
Classical Concert
DEBUSSY / SAINT-SAENS / POULENC: French Beauties and Swedish Beasts BIS
BIS-CD-693
Chamber Music
DEBUSSY, C.: Boite a joujoux (La) / POULENC, F.: L'histoire de Babar (narrated in German) (Cologne Radio Orchestra, A. Walter) Capriccio
C10827
Orchestral
DELIUS: Piano Concerto / RAVEL: Jeux d'eau (Moiseiwitsch, Vol. 6) (1925-1950) Naxos Historical
8.110689
Instrumental
Diamonds BIS
BIS-CD-1233
Choral - Sacred
Double Bass and Piano Recital: Sciascia, Stefano / Leonardi, David Giovanni - MASSENET, J. / FAURÉ, G. / POULENC, P. / ROSSINI, G. (Élégie) Newton Classics
NC8802214
Chamber Music
ENGINEER'S CHOICE Delos
DE3506
Vocal
FLUTE (THE ART OF THE) Naxos
8.570309
Chamber Music
Flute and Orchestra Works - NIELSEN, C. / GRIFFES, C.T. / REINECKE, C. / CHAMINADE, C. / POULENC, F. (Bezaly, N. Järvi) BIS
BIS-1679
Concertos
Flute Recital: Bezaly, Sharon - POULENC, F. / MARTIN, F. / REINECKE, C. / MARTINU, B. / MESSIAEN, O. BIS
BIS-SACD-1729
Chamber Music
Flute Recital: Janik, Urszula - DEBUSSY, C. / IBERT, J. / POULENC, F. / FERROUD, P.-O. / JOLIVET, A. / MESSIAEN, O. (Colours of a Flute) CD Accord
CDAccordACD179
Chamber Music
Flute Recital: Walker, Adam - POULENC, F. / MESSIAEN, O. / BARTOK, B. / BARBER, S. / SCHUBERT, F. (Vocalise) Opus Arte
OACD9012D
Chamber Music
FRENCH MUSIC FOR WIND QUINTET Naxos
8.557356
Chamber Music
French Violin Sonatas Naxos
8.550276
Chamber Music
GRAHAM, Susan: Live at the Verbier Festival (2009) (NTSC) Ideale Audience
3079128
Classical Concert
GÜHER AND SÜHER PEKINEL IN CONCERT (G. and S. Pekinel, Mehta) Arthaus Musik
101792
Instrumental
GÜHER AND SÜHER PEKINEL IN CONCERT (G. and S. Pekinel, Mehta) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
102191
Classical Concert
Guitar Duo Recital: Duo Fandango - FRANCK, C. / PETIT, P. / POULENC, F. / IBERT, J. (Images) Carpe Diem
CD-16271
Instrumental
Guitar Recital: Aguirre, Rafael - SOR, F. / IBERT, F. / POULENC, F. / OHANA, M. / RAUTAVAARA, E. / VILLA-LOBOS, H. / CLERCH, J. / TARREGA, F. Naxos
8.572064
Instrumental
HELPS, R.: Chamber Music with Piano - Piano Trios / Piano Quartet / Quintet / Duo (Helps in Berlin) (Helps, Atos Trio, Spectrum Concerts Berlin) Naxos
8.559696-97
Instrumental
INTERSECTION - Jazz Meets Classical Song Cedille
CDR90000-149
Vocal
JACK-IN-THE-BOX - A Collection of Amusing and Entertaining Works by Classical Composers Naxos
8.570124-25
Instrumental
LISZT: Piano Sonata in B Minor (Horowitz) (1932-1935) Naxos Historical
8.110606
Instrumental
MARTIN, F.: Mass for Double Choir / KODALY, Z.: Missa brevis / POULENC, F.: Litanies a la vierge noire (Bavarian Radio Chorus, Dijkstra) BR-Klassik
403571900500
Choral - Sacred
MORTENSEN: Wind Quintet, Op. 4 / HOLMBOE: Notturno, Op. 19 / POULENC: Sextet for Piano BIS
BIS-CD-24
Chamber Music
Naxos Audiophile Kingdom Naxos
8.554915DX
Concertos
OPERA EXCLUSIVE - TEATRO ALLA SCALA (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-GOLDBOX3
Opera DVD
PATER NOSTER - Five Centuries of Sacred Choral Music (Salzburg Bach Choir, Glassner) Oehms Classics
OC1817
Choral - Sacred
PEKINEL, Guher and Suher: Live in Concert (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
101349
Classical Concert
PETER AND THE WOLF Naxos
8.554170DX
Orchestral
PETER and THE WOLF (CANTONESE) Naxos
8.554170DXC
Orchestral
PETER and THE WOLF (MANDARIN) Naxos
8.554170DXM
Orchestral
Piano Duo Recital: Gold, Arthur / Fizdale, Robert - STRAVINSKY, I. / HINDEMITH, P. / BARBER, S. (Music for 2 Pianos, 1900-1952) (1951-1953) Naxos Classical Archives
9.81025-26
Instrumental
Piano Recital: Landrum, Michael - FIELD, J. / CHOPIN, F. / RESPIGHI, O. / SCRIABIN, A. / FAURE, G. / FRANCAIX, J. (Nocturnes) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-92158
Instrumental
POULENC / IBERT / JOLIVET / ROUSSEL: Orchestral Music BIS
BIS-CD-630
Orchestral
POULENC, F.: Animaux modeles Suite (Les) / Sinfonietta (Luxembourg Philharmonic, Darlington) Timpani
1C1146
Orchestral
POULENC, F.: Bal masque (Le) (Galjour, Fendler) (1950) Naxos Classical Archives
9.81028
Vocal
POULENC, F.: Ballet Suites for Piano - Les animaux modèles / Les Biches / Aubade (Armengaud) Naxos
8.573170
Instrumental
POULENC, F.: Banalites / Chansons villageoises / Tel jour, telle nuit / Chansons gaillardes / Calligrammes (Pruvot, Bouisset) Timpani
1C1061
Vocal
POULENC, F.: Choral Music - Mass in G Major / 7 Chansons / Motets (Elora Festival Singers, Edison) Naxos
8.572978
Choral - Sacred, Choral - Secular, Choral - Sacred
POULENC, F.: Choral Music (Half Monk, Half Rascal) (Danish National Vocal Ensemble, Layton) OUR Recordings
8.226906
Choral - Secular, Choral - Sacred, Choral - Secular, Choral - Sacred
POULENC, F.: Concerto for 2 Pianos / Concerto champetre / Organ Concerto (H. Albrecht, Duo Tal and Groethuysen, Kofler) Oehms Classics
OC637
Concertos, Chamber Music, Concertos
POULENC, F.: Dialogues des Carmelites (La Scala, 2004) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107315
Opera DVD
POULENC, F.: Dialogues des Carmelites (La Scala, 2004) (NTSC) TDKDVD
DVWW-OPDDC
Opera DVD
POULENC, F.: Dialogues des Carmelites (Matthews, Polaski, H. Brunner, Breedt, van Kerckhove, Vienna Radio Symphony, de Billy) Oehms Classics
OC931
Opera
POULENC, F.: Mamelles de Tiresias (Les) [Opera] (Cluytens) (1954) Naxos Classical Archives
9.80853
Opera
POULENC, F.: Sextet / Trio / Oboe Sonata / Flute Sonata Naxos
8.553611
Chamber Music
POULENC, F.: Sextet / Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano / FRANCAIX, J.: Octet / Dixtuor (Linos Ensemble) Capriccio
C67191
Chamber Music
POULENC: Bal masque (Le) / Rapsodie negre / Elegie Naxos
8.553614
Vocal, Chamber Music, Instrumental
POULENC: Complete Works for Two Pianos BIS
BIS-CD-593
Instrumental, Concertos, Instrumental
POULENC: Dialogues des Carmelites (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
100019
Opera DVD
POULENC: Dialogues des Carmelites (PAL) Arthaus Musik
100004
Opera DVD
POULENC: Flute Sonata / MESSIAEN: Le Merle Noir / BOULEZ: Sonatine Naxos
8.557328
Chamber Music
POULENC: Flute Sonata / OLSSON: Romance / FAURE: Fantaisie BIS
BIS-CD-160
Chamber Music
POULENC: Histoire de Babar (L') / Leocadia Naxos
8.553615
Chamber Music, Instrumental
POULENC: Melodies Naxos
8.553642
Vocal
POULENC: Organ Concerto / Concert Champetre Naxos
8.554241
Orchestral, Concertos
POULENC: Piano Music, Vol. 1 Naxos
8.553929
Instrumental
POULENC: Piano Music, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.553930
Instrumental
POULENC: Piano Music, Vol. 3 Naxos
8.553931
Instrumental
POULENC: Sonata for Two Pianos / Clarinet Sonatas Naxos
8.553613
Chamber Music, Instrumental
POULENC: Stabat Mater (PAL/NTSC) Opus Arte
OA0817D
Choral - Sacred
POULENC: Stabat Mater / Gloria / Litanies Naxos
8.553176
Choral - Sacred
POULENC: Violin Sonata / Clarinet Sonata / Cello Sonata Naxos
8.553612
Chamber Music
PROKOFIEV, S.: Peter and the Wolf / POULENC, F.: The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant (Pyosti, Finnish Radio Symphony, Saraste) Ondine
ODE793-2
Orchestral
PROKOFIEV, S.: Peter och vargen (Peter and the Wolf) / POULENC, F.: Sagan om Babar (Story of Barbar) (narrated in Swedish) Naxos
8.572146
Orchestral
PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf / BRITTEN: Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Children's Classics) Naxos
8.554170
Children's Classics
RICCARDO MUTI AT LA SCALA (6 DVD Box Set) (NTSC) Arthaus Musik
107543
Opera DVD
SAINT-SAENS, C.: Oboe Sonata in D Major / POULENC, F.: Oboe Sonata / BRITTEN, B.: 6 Metamorphoses after Ovid / SCHUMANN, R.: 3 Romanzen (Vogel) Delos
DE3235
Chamber Music
SIX (Les): Maries de la Tour Eiffel (Les) Marco Polo
8.223788
Chamber Music
STABAT MATER - Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation Naxos
8.556706
Choral - Sacred
TAFFANEL, P.: Wind Quintet / POULENC, F.: Sextet / JOLIVET, A.: Serenade / TOMASI, H.: 5 Danses (Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, Hough) BIS
BIS-SACD-1532
Chamber Music
UNITED STATES CONTINENTAL ARMY BAND: Trade Winds Altissimo
75442262292
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Chalifour, Martin - POULENC, F. / RAVEL, M. / STRAVINSKY, I. / BACH, J.S. (Chalifour in Walt Disney Concert Hall - Hidden Treasures) Yarlung Records
YAR94004
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Ricci, Ruggiero - BACH, J.S. / BRAHMS / VIOTTI / ROSSINI / STRAUSS, R. / PAGANINI / CHOPIN (Hidden Treasures) Dynamic
CDS298
Chamber Music
Violin Recital: Widjaja, Iskandar - POULENC, F. / RAVEL, M. / BIBER, H.I.F. von / BACH, J.S. (Bach 'n' Blues) Oehms Classics
OC822
Chamber Music
Vocal Recital: Auger, Arleen - COPLAND, A. / OBRADORS, F. / OVALE, J. / STRAUSS, R. / MARX, J. / POULENC, F. / CIMARA, P. (Love Songs) Delos
DE3029
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Colombara, Carlo - FAURE, G. / HAHN, R. / GOUNOD, C. / DUPARC, H. / POULENC, F. / IBERT, J. / RAVEL. M. Dynamic
CDS583
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Ricci, Celine - SAUGUET, H. / MILHAUD, D. / SATIE, E. / POULENC, F. / AURIC, G. (Cirque) Dorian Sono Luminus
DSL-92125
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Shirai, Mitsuko - SCHOECK, O. / BERG, A. / HINDEMITH, P. / NUMMI, S. / BRITTEN, B. / WEBERN, A. / RESPIGHI, O. / BERIO, L. Capriccio
C67024
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Souzay, Gerard - FAURE, G. / POULENC, F. / RAVEL, M. / LEGUERNEY, J. / HAHN, R. / DUPARC, H. / GOUNOD, C.-F. (Melodies Francaises) Newton Classics
NC8802007
Vocal
WOMEN AT THE PIANO - AN ANTHOLOGY OF HISTORIC PERFORMANCES, Vol. 3 (1928-1954) Naxos Historical
8.111217
Instrumental
WOMEN AT THE PIANO - AN ANTHOLOGY OF HISTORIC PERFORMANCES, Vol. 5 (1923-1955) Naxos Historical
8.111219
Instrumental




 
 
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