Type of Document Thesis Author Dunning, Amy Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07142008-173346 Title Francis Poulenc and the Franco-American Cultural Alliance: Emulation and Innovation in the 1949 Piano Concerto Degree Master of Music Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Denise Von Glahn Committee Chair Douglass Seaton Committee Member Joseph Kraus Committee Member Keywords
- Stylistic Synthesis
- Musical Handshake
- Franco-American Alliance
- Piano Concerto
- Parisian Popular Entertainment
- Clarity And Ambiguity
- Stephen Foster
- Cultural Exchange
- Les Six
- Fashion And Music
- Boston Symphony Orchestra
- Parisian Avant-Garde
- France And America
- Old Folks At Home
- Musical Diplomacy
- A La Claire Fontaine
- American In Paris
- Parisian In America
- Musical Pastiche
Date of Defense 2008-07-07 Availability unrestricted AbstractFrancis Poulenc’s 1949 Piano Concerto was written for his performance with the Boston Symphony Orchestra during his second American tour in 1950. It is an example of his distinctive musical language and compositional craftsmanship, as well as a thoughtful and creative interaction with his host audience through the incorporation of American tunes—Stephen Foster’s “Old Folks at Home” and a melodic/rhythmic idea from George Gershwin’s An American in Paris.
The Concerto synthesizes the exuberant style of Poulenc’s youthful years, the serene and expressive qualities of his mid-life maturity, and his overall neoclassic idiom. This study begins by examining aspects of Poulenc’s musical style exemplified in the Concerto as they were shaped by the Parisian avant-garde of the 1910s and 1920s, and by the composer’s maturing musical language in the 1930s and 1940s. An analysis of the Concerto’s formal procedures and musical syntax reveals some of the ways that Poulenc emulated and remade classical tradition through a balance of clarity and ambiguity.
A discussion of the creation and reception of the Concerto within the context of the composer’s mid-century American tours shows how Poulenc captivated American audiences and further solidified his international reputation through his pianism, social decorum, and adeptness in synthesizing tradition with popular tunes and styles that acknowledged and engaged his patrons.
This study highlights the Concerto’s significance as a product and reflection of the dynamic interaction between France and the United States. An illumination of the countries’ political connections and cultural exchanges, particularly as manifested in music, art, and fashion in the first half of the twentieth century, reveals Poulenc’s role as a musical diplomat and a commentator on the history of the Franco-American alliance.
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