An Analysis of the Historical and Biographical Influences on the Music of Francis Poulenc as Portrayed in His Les Soirees de Nazelles
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.
Poulencs compositions always reflected his personality and Les Soirées de Nazelles is no
exception. The many facets of Poulencs personality cannot be separated from his music
and they contribute to its wit and charm.
This document is an examination of Poulencs 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 Poulencs
background. Chapter Three looks at teachers and composers who were influential in his
life. The focus of Chapter Four is on Poulencs personality and is presented from the
perspective of several people who were part of his inner circle. Elements of Poulencs
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
As Poulencs 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 Poulencs compositional style, but also of the change of
attitudes in French music at the turn-of-the century.
Advisor:Fletcher, Kristopher; Perry, Jeffrey; Gurt, Michael; Delony, Willis Lane; Sioles, Gregory W.
School:Louisiana State University in Shreveport
School Location:USA - Louisiana
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:04/21/2009