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November 2014
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The “Monk and Hooligan” Poulenc

Francis Poulenc

Francis Poulenc

Exploring Music with Bill McGlaughlin, Monday-Friday at 7:00 pm


It was one of Poulenc’s friends, the noted music critic Claude Rostand, who came up with the description that stuck: “le moine et le voyou.” That comment in a 1950 edition of Paris-Presse translated as “the monk and hooligan.” It was Rostand’s attempt at capturing the extremes in Poulenc’s musical personality. This is not to say the composer’s mind was chaos, only that it was his nature to shift from one extreme to the other. His music is cheeky and impudent one moment, and achingly beautiful the next.

Poulenc

Poulenc pictured backstage at a performance of his opera “Dialogues des Carmélites”

lessix

Les six with Jean Cocteau (center). Les six composer Georges Auric was not present, so the friends pasted a sketch of him on the wall. Poulenc sits on the far left.

 

This week, Bill McGlaughlin takes a long overdue journey into the life and music of the French composer Francis Poulenc. Poulenc is the most famous, and arguably left the most enduring body of works, of a group of composers called “Les six;” six lifelong friends who shared ideas and inspirations in the cafes and bars of Montparnasse.

 

 

Listen to Bill McGlaughlin introduce our featured composer, Francis Poulenc:

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