Analysis Of Les Six

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Les Sis
The 1920’s were an extraordinary time in Paris. The war had ended. Musicians, artist, writers, poets, film-makers and choreographers were friends and influenced one another. There was a sense of optimism and excitement. Composers were finding inspiration in popular sources, circus music and jazz which was being heard for the first time. Les Six were a group of six young French musicians during this time; Arthur Honegger, Darius Mihaud, Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric, Louis Durey and Germaine Tailleferre, the group’s only woman. They were brought together by their adverse reactions to the impressionism of French composers such as Debussy and Ravel. The music critic Henri Collet coined the group’s name in 1920. Inspired by the more abstract and unadorned compositions of Erik Sate and the writings of Jean Cocteau they sought to write in a style that was more simple and sophisticated. Their friendship brought them together, however they maintained their own distinctive styles.

Francis Poulenc

The finest choral composer of Les Six his works are known for their melodic invention and originality. Because Poulenc’s family intended for him to have a career in the family business he was largely self-taught. His music often juxtaposes humor and irony with the sentimental and melancholy. After the death of a close friend in the 1930s he rediscovered Catholicism and composed many religious works. He was particularly fond of woodwinds and planned to write a set of sonatas
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