Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

French Composers’ Names – Francis Poulenc

This composer in our French Composers’ Names series was part of Les Six, this group of young Parisian composers that were probably brought together by Cocteau in the early 1920s, and whose aesthetics came in reaction to Wagner’s influence and impressionistic music: Francis Poulenc.

The only difficulty in this name is the pronunciation of the nasal in -en, which is usually pronounced as an ã, a nasal a as I like to refer to them, as in blanc, white. But no, here this nasal is pronounced with an i nasal, as in vin for wine. Combined with the unusually pronounced final c (a strong K sound), Poulenc will rhyme with cinq, French for 5 (weird for a member of Les Six !) Alright, here it is:

Link to MP3 – Francis Poulenc | Get Francis Poulenc scores!

Of course, this is just a suggestion. Winston Churchill was quite right when he said: “Everybody has a right to pronounce foreign names as he chooses.

Before I let you go, here is a fantastic video of Poulenc himself (left) playing his Two-Piano concerto (with Jacques Février, right), under the baton of a young Georges Prêtre.:

Check out the entire French Composers’ Names series or suggest one we haven’t covered on Twitter at @icareifulisten.