One of the greatest modernist composers comes alive in this illuminating biography, a must-have for musicians and music-lovers alike.
Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) is widely acknowledged as one of the twentieth century’s most significant masters of vocal music —solo, choral, and operatic— quite apart from his achievements in instrumental spheres. But what it cost him, and the determined bravery it took for his unusual talent to thrive, has always been underestimated. In this seminal biography, which will serve as the definitive guide to the songs, acclaimed collaborative pianist Graham Johnson shows that it is in Poulenc’s extraordinary songs, and seeing how they fit into his life —which included crippling guilt on account of his sexuality— that we discover Poulenc heart and soul. With Jeremy Sams’s vibrant new song translations, the first in over forty years, and the insight that comes from a lifetime of performing this music, Johnson provides an essential volume for singers, pianists, listeners, and readers interested in the artistic milieu of modernism in the first half of the twentieth century.