Scope and Contents
The Francis Poulenc archive contains two autograph autograph musical manuscripts by Francis Poulenc, dedicated and inscribed to operatic singer Denise Duval. In August 1960 he composed a series of melodies, based on various poems by Maurice Carême, titled La Courte-Paille (The Shortest Straw). The following year, Poulenc composed a soprano and piano (or orchestra) piece, La Dame de Monte-Carlo (The Lady of Monte-Carlo), after a poem by Jean Cocteau. Both works are on music paper from a spiral notebook.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish from this material must be facilitated through the Woodson Research Center.
The Woodson Research Center use policy is that researchers assume sole responsibility for any infringement of privacy, literary rights, copyrights, or other rights arising from their use of the archival materials. In addition to any restrictions placed by donors, certain kinds of archival materials are restricted for the life of the creator plus 50 years.
Biographical / Historical
Francis Jean Marcel Poulenc (January 1, 1899-January 30, 1963) was an accomplished French composer and pianist known for his mélodies, solo piano works, chamber music, orchestral works, choral pieces, operas, and ballets. Poulenc was a member of Les Six, a group of French and Swiss composers who had links with Erik Satie, Jean Hugo and Jean Cocteau.
“Francis Poulenc has come to be considered the greatest composer of French mélodies of his period – a period that opened with the aftermath of the First World War and closed as recently as 1960. He set to music poetry by all of the greatest French twentieth century poets, as well as a few from earlier times. For 25 years the famous baritone Pierre Bernac, with Poulenc at the piano, toured Europe giving recitals, and also visited Britain and America. Thanks to their work, not only in the French repertoire but also in the general Lieder repertoire, the piano-accompanied song increased enormously in popularity in their own country; and in other countries they were very largely responsible for the present wide popularity of the French song repertoire.” Exerpt from: Bernac: "Francis Poulenc: The Man and his Songs"
Denise Duval (October 23, 1921- January 25, 2016) was a French soprano, best known for her performances in works by the composer Francis Poulenc. Duval created the roles of Elle in "La voix humaine," Thérèse in "Les mamelles de Tirésias" and later sang the role of Blanche de la Force in "Dialogues of the Carmelites."
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (5 July 1889 – 11 October 1963) was a French poet, playwright, novelist, designer, filmmaker, visual artist and critic. An important exponent of avant-garde art, Cocteau had great influence on the work of others, including a group of composers known as Les Six, which included Francis Poulenc. During his life, Cocteau was made a commander of the Legion of Honor, a member of the Académie française, and The Royal Academy of Belgium.