Author Topic: Francis Poulenc  (Read 49480 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

SymphonicAddict

  • Guest
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #240 on: December 16, 2018, 03:52:05 PM »
How gratifying it is to listen to a work for the first time, having your ears fresh, and even more when the work packs a big deal of wit and grace. It's the case of the Concert champêtre: what fun and singular music! This work could only have been written by Poulenc. It's absolutely delightful all around, the harpsichord at its most both creative and eloquent. The concerto owns a very unique personality. Something curious is that Poulenc wrote it by using a big orchestra and not the more usual chamber ensemble. The harpsichord is not overshadowed by the other instruments, and all the details about it (melodies, development, orchestration, touch of genius, etc.) are blended in an unbeatable way.

In short, I was seriously fascinated by this piece.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 08:59:26 PM by SymphonicAddict »

Offline kyjo

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2710
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #241 on: December 17, 2018, 09:52:27 AM »
How gratifying it is to listen to a work for the first time, having your ears fresh, and even more when the work packs a big deal of wit and grace. It's the case of the Concert champêtre: what fun and singular music! This work could only have been written by Poulenc. It's absolutely delightful all around, the harpsichord at its most both creative and eloquent. The concerto owns a very unique personality. Something curious is that Poulenc wrote it by using a big orchestra and not the more usual chamber ensemble. The harpsichord is not overshadowed by the other instruments, and all the details about it (melodies, development, orchestration, touch of genius, etc.) are blended in an unbeatable way.

In short, I was seriously fascinated by this piece.

It’s a charming and inventive work for sure, Cesar. I love all four of Poulenc’s keyboard concerti, and perhaps my favorite is the least-known of the bunch, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor. It has Poulenc’s trademark elegance infused with a Rachmaninoffian sense of nostalgia. The opening theme is unforgettable, as is the lovely slow movement which covers a lot of emotional ground in its brief duration.

A great recent Poulenc discovery of mine was his Oboe Sonata. I don’t usually enjoy solo woodwind music a great deal, but my, this is such a lovely work! Poulenc was an undoubted master of melody.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2018, 10:12:52 AM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

  • Guest
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #242 on: December 18, 2018, 07:13:43 AM »
It’s a charming and inventive work for sure, Cesar. I love all four of Poulenc’s keyboard concerti, and perhaps my favorite is the least-known of the bunch, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor. It has Poulenc’s trademark elegance infused with a Rachmaninoffian sense of nostalgia. The opening theme is unforgettable, as is the lovely slow movement which covers a lot of emotional ground in its brief duration.

A great recent Poulenc discovery of mine was his Oboe Sonata. I don’t usually enjoy solo woodwind music a great deal, but my, this is such a lovely work! Poulenc was an undoubted master of melody.

I saw this and was reminded of how long it's been since I heard this piece, so I put on the Tacchino/Pretre/Paris Conservatorie recordings. What a hoot! I can't decide if the primary influence is Rachmaninoff, Mozart, or Bruckner. That middle section of the first movement, with the soaring brass chorales, is sublime and could give Anton a run for his money.



SymphonicAddict

  • Guest
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #243 on: December 19, 2018, 12:59:31 PM »
It’s a charming and inventive work for sure, Cesar. I love all four of Poulenc’s keyboard concerti, and perhaps my favorite is the least-known of the bunch, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor. It has Poulenc’s trademark elegance infused with a Rachmaninoffian sense of nostalgia. The opening theme is unforgettable, as is the lovely slow movement which covers a lot of emotional ground in its brief duration.

A great recent Poulenc discovery of mine was his Oboe Sonata. I don’t usually enjoy solo woodwind music a great deal, but my, this is such a lovely work! Poulenc was an undoubted master of melody.

My favorites are the Organ and the Harpsichord, but now according to your great perception of the Piano Concerto, I'll have to give it a spin since I don't remember it very well. As for his chamber music, I'm only familiar with the gorgeous Flute sonata, nothing else so far.

Offline North Star

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 17502
  • Location: Oulu, Finland
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #244 on: December 19, 2018, 02:11:49 PM »
My favorites are the Organ and the Harpsichord, but now according to your great perception of the Piano Concerto, I'll have to give it a spin since I don't remember it very well. As for his chamber music, I'm only familiar with the gorgeous Flute sonata, nothing else so far.
The clarinet sonata and oboe sonata are equally gorgeous, and the violin and cello sonatas are not far behind - and there's plenty to enjoy in the rest of the chamber music, too. I'd recommend checking out the Tharaud-led chamber music cycle on Naxos.
"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." - Confucius

My photographs on Flickr

Offline kyjo

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2710
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #245 on: December 19, 2018, 02:31:26 PM »
The Cello Sonata is really fantastic, one of my favorite works by Poulenc and one of my favorite cello sonatas. Poulenc’s characteristic juxtapositions of sparkling wit and nostalgic lyricism are especially apparent in this work. The Violin Sonata is also great, although I found the 2nd and 3rd movements didn’t quite live up to the great promise of the 1st. I have yet to investigate the clarinet and flute sonatas.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

SymphonicAddict

  • Guest
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #246 on: December 19, 2018, 04:41:02 PM »
The clarinet sonata and oboe sonata are equally gorgeous, and the violin and cello sonatas are not far behind - and there's plenty to enjoy in the rest of the chamber music, too. I'd recommend checking out the Tharaud-led chamber music cycle on Naxos.

Very good, duly noted. Thanks!

Online Herman

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2708
  • there's something wrong with my brain
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #247 on: December 22, 2018, 12:44:17 AM »
The clarinet sonata and the oboe sonata have always been my top Poulenc works. Particularly the latter is such an intense piece.

The Piano Concerto mentioned above is a great piece, it has had a rather chequered reception history, but by now we can just enjoy it for what it is. (Frankly I don't hear any Rachmaninoff in it, and I have a hard time picturing Poulenc even liking that composer.)

Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2299
  • Location: Wales
  • Currently Listening to:
    Myaskovsky, Schnittke, Pettersson and others
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #248 on: October 24, 2019, 06:24:47 AM »
I picked up a Decca 5-disc set of Poulenc's music today. I'm only familiar with the Organ Concerto and the Gloria, so a lot of this is new to me. Just listened to the Suite Française, for wind instruments, drum and harpsichord. What a charming work, especially the 2nd-movement Pavane!

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 53244
  • Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Magyar tánc a faluban
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #249 on: October 24, 2019, 06:38:48 AM »
I picked up a Decca 5-disc set of Poulenc's music today. I'm only familiar with the Organ Concerto and the Gloria, so a lot of this is new to me. Just listened to the Suite Française, for wind instruments, drum and harpsichord. What a charming work, especially the 2nd-movement Pavane!

I’m not a huge fan of Poulenc’s orchestral music, but I do love the Concerto for Two Pianos and the Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani. Both of these works are so fantastic. I prefer his chamber and choral works the most out everything he’s written.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


SymphonicAddict

  • Guest
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #250 on: October 24, 2019, 10:59:25 AM »
The Piano Concerto is even superior to the two-piano one IMO. The former is just memorability and real fun. The harpsichord concerto Champêtre is not less so, it will surely make anyone smile. Some of his orchestral music is of high standard too: Les Animaux Modèles, Les Biches, Sinfonietta (heard recently, supremely engaging work), Aubade. I remember those for now.

Offline kyjo

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2710
  • Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974)
  • Location: United States
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #251 on: December 15, 2019, 05:27:33 PM »
I love pretty much everything Poulenc wrote, except for some of the solo piano music which I find rather trite. He’s such a supremely engaging composer whose music I cherish more and more. My current favorites of his are the Piano Concerto, Organ Concerto, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Cello Sonata, and Oboe Sonata.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8046
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #252 on: December 15, 2019, 05:37:49 PM »
I love pretty much everything Poulenc wrote, except for some of the solo piano music which I find rather trite. He’s such a supremely engaging composer whose music I cherish more and more. My current favorites of his are the Piano Concerto, Organ Concerto, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Cello Sonata, and Oboe Sonata.

The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is very good, as is the sextet, and Les Biches.  In fact, I think all of his chamber works are some of his best music.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 53244
  • Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Magyar tánc a faluban
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #253 on: December 15, 2019, 06:17:56 PM »
The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is very good, as is the sextet, and Les Biches.  In fact, I think all of his chamber works are some of his best music.

+1 I think very little of his solo piano music. I would also add his choral music as being particularly noteworthy.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 53244
  • Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Magyar tánc a faluban
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #254 on: December 15, 2019, 09:06:16 PM »
The Cello Sonata is really fantastic, one of my favorite works by Poulenc and one of my favorite cello sonatas. Poulenc’s characteristic juxtapositions of sparkling wit and nostalgic lyricism are especially apparent in this work. The Violin Sonata is also great, although I found the 2nd and 3rd movements didn’t quite live up to the great promise of the 1st. I have yet to investigate the clarinet and flute sonatas.

For me, the Violin Sonata is one of his weakest chamber pieces. I do like the Cello Sonata, but not as much as the sonatas for flute, clarinet, and oboe. These works are the works that continue to touch me the deepest.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline dissily Mordentroge

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 635
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #255 on: December 16, 2019, 02:05:46 AM »
I’ve found asking around how Poulenc’s organ concerto is perceived provides a range of totally different impressions. One that startled me, and still overlays my emotions whenever I hear the work, was provided by a 95 year old friend, a retired orchestral cellist. She experienced the organ symphony as picturing someone like herself sitting in a garden remembering contrasting episodes in their long life until the last few bars illustrates the arrival of death.
Others have told me they experience a picturesque landscape and nothing more. I can’t see it myself.
As to his Gloria I can only describe it as sublime (if I manage to ignore the text)

Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8046
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #256 on: December 16, 2019, 04:59:40 AM »
For me, the Violin Sonata is one of his weakest chamber pieces.

Why do you think the violin sonata is one of Poulenc's weakest chamber works?  Have you analyzed it and can point out what you based your opinion on?  I am interested.

I am listening to it right now from this recording, which collects these works together in good performances, IMO.



Offline Maestro267

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2299
  • Location: Wales
  • Currently Listening to:
    Myaskovsky, Schnittke, Pettersson and others
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #257 on: December 16, 2019, 05:26:06 AM »
Something I only discovered the other day, about my favourite passage in the Organ Concerto. Near the end, there's a solo playing over pizzicato strings and a deep organ pedal. All this time I assumed it was a solo cello playing in a mid- to upper-range, but it turns out it's a viola solo.

Offline Mirror Image

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 53244
  • Béla Bartók (1881 - 1945)
  • Location: Northeast GA, US
  • Currently Listening to:
    Magyar tánc a faluban
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #258 on: December 16, 2019, 07:45:13 AM »
Why do you think the violin sonata is one of Poulenc's weakest chamber works?  Have you analyzed it and can point out what you based your opinion on?  I am interested.

I am listening to it right now from this recording, which collects these works together in good performances, IMO.



I try not to analyze the whys of why I dislike a piece of music --- it either resonates with me or it simply does not. Since you asked, I think my general problem with the Violin Sonata is the lack of sweetness to it and how the emotional feel of it doesn’t seem to coincide with Poulenc’s best music. That whole Tharaud series on Naxos is worth its’ weight in gold.
“Competitions are for horses, not artists.”


Offline San Antone

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 8046
Re: Francis Poulenc
« Reply #259 on: December 16, 2019, 08:09:27 AM »
I try not to analyze the whys of why I dislike a piece of music --- it either resonates with me or it simply does not. Since you asked, I think my general problem with the Violin Sonata is the lack of sweetness to it and how the emotional feel of it doesn’t seem to coincide with Poulenc’s best music. That whole Tharaud series on Naxos is worth its’ weight in gold.

The fact that it resonates with you, or doesn't, is different from saying it is "weakest" of his chamber works.  That is what I wanted to nail down - you were just using a different phrase for saying that you did not like it as much his other chamber music. 

I agree about the Naxos sets, there are 5, although the 5th is not very interesting to me, what with two versions of Babar the Elephant.