Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
As a composer, Francis Poulenc has been under-appreciated and overlooked by many contemporary performers and teachers. Poulenc wrote music from his heart, paying little heed to formal systems or musical fashions of his day. In matters of harmony, he was content to use conventional chromatic harmony, but in a manner uniquely his own. Poulenc’s compositions always reflected his personality and Les Soirées de Nazelles is no exception. The many facets of Poulenc’s personality cannot be separated from his music and they contribute to its wit and charm. This document is an examination of Poulenc’s background, personality, and influences, and how these aspects appear and affect Les Soirées de Nazelles. Chapter One describes the cultural atmosphere of Paris at the turn of the century. Chapter Two traces Poulenc’s background. Chapter Three looks at teachers and composers who were influential in his life. The focus of Chapter Four is on Poulenc’s personality and is presented from the perspective of several people who were part of his inner circle. Elements of Poulenc’s compositional style as they apply to Les Soirées de Nazelles are the focus of Chapter Five. Chapter Six is an analytical view of the individual movements of Les Soirées de Nazelles. As Poulenc’s most technically challenging work for solo piano, Les Soirées de Nazelles should only be performed by advanced pianists, and only then by performers who are willing to seek to understand the complex nature of its composer. It is an excellent representative, not only of Poulenc’s compositional style, but also of the change of attitudes in French music at the turn-of-the century.
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Grosz, Gay K., "An analysis of the historical and biographical influences on the music of Francis Poulenc as portrayed in his Les Soirées de Nazelles" (2009). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 2460.
Delony, Willis Lane