Poulenc Festival Concerts at Keele

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Posted on 06 June 2013

The Poulenc Festival Concerts in the Keele University Chapel commemorate the 50th anniversary of Francis Poulenc's death.  Poulenc has emerged as one of the most frequently performed French composers of the twentieth century alongside Debussy, Ravel and Fauré. This Festival constitutes the UK's most significant and high-profile tribute to this major composer. 

On Friday 21 June, Michael Bell (pianist) and Karen Radcliffe (mezzo-soprano) will perform a selection of Poulenc songs.  Poulenc is recognised as one of the most important composers of French mélodie after Fauré. The songs, which date from around WWII, include settings of a range of poets, such as Louise de Vilmorin and the Surrealists Apollinaire, Eluard and Aragon.  They vary in character from the weighty Tel Jour, telle nuit, to the melancholic Banalités and sensual Fian?ailles pour rire.   On Saturday 22 June the internationally acclaimed French cellist, Marc Coppey will join British pianists Roy Howat and Ronald Woodley in a performance of Poulenc chamber music.  Poulenc is best known for his melodic wind Sonatas; this evening will give a taste of his works for cello and piano(s).  Highlights include a performance of the substantial Sonata for Cello and Piano, the UK première of an unpublished piece for cello, his wonderfully contrasting Sonatas for two pianists and the popular L’Embarquement pour Cythère.  The concert will also feature Debussy’s well-loved Sonata for Cello and Piano.   On Saturday and Sunday afternoon you will be treated to Poulenc’s Babar the Elephant, performed by Roy Howat and the narrated by Didier Francfort and David Amigoni (in French and English).  The tale of the famous elephant will appeal to both adults and children.