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February 2014
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Tuesday: Les petites musiques

Germaine Tailleferre, 1970

Germaine Tailleferre, 1970

On Tuesday afternoon, 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM, Suzanne Nance features a group of six friends who played music together, shared ideas and populated cafes together: Les six. Coming of age amid the horrors of World War I, this smart set of French (and Swiss) composers possessed an almost revulsion toward the overblown Romanticism which had characterized art and literature before the War.

Les six

(from left to right) Francis Poulenc, Germaine Tailleferre, Louis Duray, writer Jean Cocteau, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, sketch of Georges Auric on wall

Oh, Death was never enemy of ours!
We laughed at him, we leagued with him, old chum.

—Wilfred Owen, from The Next War

 

The pendulum had swung away from lush orchestrations, chromaticism, unfettered emotion, and nationalistic fervor. The six friends embraced simplicity, and a certain detachment in their music. Those six, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, and Germaine Tailleferre, remained close throughout their lives.

Note: photo of Germaine Tailleferre with her dog is shown here in honor of WFMT’s February theme: The Animal Kingdom.

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