Francis Poulenc


The work of Poulenc in the context of his colourful personal life.


Benjamin Ivry


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About the book

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) fought the label of 'charming, minor master' throughout his life, but today his oeuvre has achieved worldwide respect and popularity. Admired for his fine songs and religious works, he is perhaps best known for his humorous, insouciant pieces. From the freshness of Les Biches, composed for Diaghilev in 1924, to his ambitious 1956 opera, Dialogues des Carmélites, the author discusses Poulenc's work in the context of his colourful personal life and turbulent times.

The composer's affairs with younger, working-class men, which inspired major compositions, and his sensitivity about his role in the wartime occupation of France, have always been somewhat obscured. In this book the author uses recently published documents to shed new light on both the composer and the man.




In The Press

'Ivry's much-needed and informative Poulenc captures the French between-wars scene vividly.' (Sunday Telegraph)

'His narrative is fluent, full of interesting stories and very thorough.' (Classical Music)

'Such a fascinating man; such fascinating music; such good reading.' (American Record Guide)

'As a series, Phaidon's 20th Century Composers has brought remarkable variety and a welter of information, both necessary and delightfully trivial. Intended both for the general reader and for the more enthusiatically musical...' (The Scotsman)




About the author(s)
Benjamin Ivry is an arts correspondent based in Paris. He has been music critic for Seven Days and a regular contributor to Opera News.


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