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 Keywords
- Les Soirees de Nazelles
Date of Defense 2009-04-14 Availability unrestricted AbstractAs 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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