Francis Poulenc fransk kompositör 1899 – 1963

Francis Poulenc fransk kompositör 1899 - 1963 Francis Poulenc

Francis Poulenc, född 7 januari 1899 i Paris, död 30 januari 1963 i Paris, var en fransk tonsättare och pianist.Poulenc växte upp i ett musikaliskt hem där han tidigt fick musikundervisning.

Francis Poulenc fransk kompositör 1899 – 1963

Han hade redan anslutit sig till gruppen Les Six då han blev elev till Koechlin, som förstod att utveckla hans talang i rätt riktning.. Det han skrev för scenen på 1920- och 1930-talwn var främst balett- och skådespelsmusik, men 1947 gjorde han stor lycka med den komiska operan Brösten på Therese, vars viktigaste budskap var att Frankrike behövde högre nativitet. Hans båda sista operor är båda djupt allvarliga; Karmelitsystrarna (1957) om en skara dödsdömda nunnor under franska revolutionen och La voix humaine ( Vox Humana) 1959, ett fyrtiofem minuter långt kraftprov för en sopran.

In English

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.


Poulenc turned to opera only in the latter half of his career. Having achieved fame by his early twenties, he was in his forties before attempting his first opera. He attributed this to the need for maturity before tackling the subjects he chose to set. In 1958 he told an interviewer, “When I was 24 I was able to write Les biches [but] it is obvious that unless a composer of 30 has the genius of a Mozart or the precociousness of Schubert he couldn’t write The Carmelites – the problems are too profound.”  In Sams’s view, all three of Poulenc’s operas display a depth of feeling far distant from “the cynical stylist of the 1920s”: Les mamelles de Tirésias (1947), despite the riotous plot, is full of nostalgia and a sense of loss. In the two avowedly serious operas, Dialogues des Carmélites (1957) and La Voix humaine (1959), in which Poulenc depicts deep human suffering, Sams sees a reflection of the composer’s own struggles with depression.

In terms of musical technique the operas show how far Poulenc had come from his naïve and insecure beginnings. Nichols comments in Grove that Les mamelles de Tirésias, deploys “lyrical solos, patter duets, chorales, falsetto lines for tenor and bass babies and … succeeds in being both funny and beautiful”.  In all three operas Poulenc drew on earlier composers, while blending their influence into music unmistakably his own. In the printed score of Dialogues des Carmélites he acknowledged his debt to Mussorgsky, Monteverdi, Debussy and Verdi. The critic Renaud Machart writes that Dialogues des Carmélites is, with Britten’s Peter Grimes, one of the extremely rare operas written since the Second World War to appear on opera programmes all over the world.

Even when he wrote for a large orchestra, Poulenc used the full forces sparingly in his operas, often scoring for woodwinds or brass or strings alone. With the invaluable input of Bernac he showed great skill in writing for the human voice, fitting the music to the tessitura of each character.  By the time of the last of the operas, La Voix humaine, Poulenc felt able to give the soprano stretches of music with no orchestral accompaniment at all, though when the orchestra plays, Poulenc calls for the music to be “bathed in sensuality”.

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