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Cocteau

The “Monk and Hooligan” Poulenc

Francis Poulenc

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