P1381. FRANCIS POULENC & ANDRÉ ASSELIN: Violin Sonata (Acc.by the COMPOSER), recorded 18 Feb., 1945; FRITZ MUNCH Cond. Geneviève Moizan, Saint-Guillaume Chorus & Strasbourg S.O.: Stabat Mater, w.Georges Prêtre Cond. Dominique Doublier & ORTF Ensemble: Sept Répons des ténébrès - Live Performance, 10 Dec., 1963, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (all Poulenc). (Canada) St Laurent Studio YSL T-977. Transfers by Yves St Laurent.
“Francis Poulenc was the leading composer of Les Six, the French group devoted to turning music away from Impressionism, formality, and intellectualism. He wrote in a direct and tuneful manner, often juxtaposing the witty and ironic with the sentimental or melancholy. He heavily favored diatonic and modal textures over chromatic writing. His music also shows many elements of pandiatonicism, introduced around 1920 by Stravinsky, whose influence can be heard in some of Poulenc's compositions, such as the religious choral work, GLORIA. Poulenc is regarded as one of the most important twentieth century composers of religious music, and in the realm of the French art song he is also a major voice of his time. Poulenc was also a pianist of considerable ability. In the period 1953-1956, Poulenc produced his most ambitious work, the opera DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES, considered by many the greatest French opera of the twentieth century. Poulenc finished his last opera in 1958, LA VOIX HUMAINE, a work whose lone character talks (sings) on the phone to her deserting lover for the work's 45-minute length. Notable also in this period is his GLORIA (1959), a work shorn of sanctimony and rich in communicative simplicity and fervent religiosity.”
- Robert Cummings, Allmusic.com
"Francis Poulenc’s music is eminently tuneful – his major strength. I regard him as a melodist fit to keep company with Franz Schubert and Wolfgang Mozart. As a French songwriter, he is the great successor to Fauré. Like most French composers of his generation he fell under the influences of Stravinsky and Satie. Yet he doesn't imitate either. You can identify a Poulenc composition immediately with its bright colors, strong, clear rhythms, and gorgeous and novel diatonic harmonies. He is warmer and less intellectual than Stravinsky, more passionate and musically more refined than Satie….Poulenc's own brand of classicism, recalling eighteenth-century France rather than Mozart's realm….Some composers, like Beethoven, aim at a Titanic profundity. They rage and storm and consider the universe. Others, like Delius and Ravel, dream of worlds more beautiful than this one. Poulenc, like Haydn and Schubert, is one of the few great composers not only content with, but modestly amazed at, being human. The music doesn't strive for the extraordinary, not even the religious music. What's in us is extraordinary enough. There's a sincere simplicity of effect….this, in spite of the fact that his music doesn't really develop in the Brahmsian sense of the word. Generally, Poulenc just strings together one great tune after another. Poulenc never really cottoned to the symphony and wrote few orchestral works not tied to the theater….. His final period contains at least four masterworks: STABAT MATER (to me the best thing he ever wrote), DIALOGUES DES CARMÉLITES, the sonata for two pianos (decidedly influenced by Stravinsky), and a beautiful GLORIA."
- Steve Schwartz, ClassicalNet