Title page for ETD etd-04152009-145757

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Grosz, Gay K
URN etd-04152009-145757
Title An Analysis of the Historical and Biographical Influences on the Music of Francis Poulenc as Portrayed in His Les Soirees de Nazelles
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Delony, Willis Lane Committee Chair
Gurt, Michael Committee Member
Perry, Jeffrey Committee Member
Sioles, Gregory W. Committee Member
Fletcher, Kristopher Dean's Representative
  • Les Soirees de Nazelles
  • Poulenc
Date of Defense 2009-04-14
Availability unrestricted
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.

Poulenc’s compositions always reflected his personality and Les Soirées de Nazelles is no

exception. The many facets of Poulenc’s personality cannot be separated from his music

and they contribute to its wit and charm.

This document is an examination of Poulenc’s 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 Poulenc’s

background. Chapter Three looks at teachers and composers who were influential in his

life. The focus of Chapter Four is on Poulenc’s personality and is presented from the

perspective of several people who were part of his inner circle. Elements of Poulenc’s

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 Poulenc’s 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 Poulenc’s compositional style, but also of the change of

attitudes in French music at the turn-of-the century.

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