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Entrancing Muse: A Documented Biography of Francis Poulenc (Lives in Music Series) Hardcover – November, 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Hardcover, November, 2001

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From Library Journal

Intended as a sourcebook for future scholars and writers, this work on French composer Poulenc (1899-1963) contains more than 350 footnotes in some chapters. Indeed, what is offered here by Schmidt (The Music of Francis Poulenc: A Catalogue) is a chronological presentation of Poulenc's documented activities, including his substantial work as a pianist and recording artist. What could be observed and what was written down is reported; left to others are the deep insights into the man this evidence might support. Generous appendixes list people, summaries of Poulenc's public appearances, Poulenc's discography, and Poulenc portraits. In addition to a general index, there are two indexes of works by Poulenc and others. This scholarly work is recommended only for research libraries or those that own Schmidt's other Poulenc title and wish to supplement it. Benjamin Ivry's Francis Poulenc (Phaidon, 1996) is a fine, recent biography for the general public. Bonnie Jo Dopp, Univ. of Maryland Libs., College Park
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Lives in Music Series (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 621 pages
  • Publisher: Pendragon Pr (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576470261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576470268
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,624,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
While the exhaustive approach of Carl B. Schmidt will not be for everyone, I believe Bonnie Jo Dopp's assesment unfairly shortchanges this book, stating that "This scholarly work is recommended only for research libraries or those that own Schmidt's other Poulenc title and wish to supplement it." Rather, I believe this work is for anyone inclined to read more than one work on Poulenc, for those who on first reading want to see the trees as well as the forest, and for those wishing to get to the bottom of errors and inconsistencies in the other publications.
Dr. Schmidt does not provide any of his own musical analysis, descriptions, or even musical examples, but traces the events of Poulenc's life in comprehensive detail via Poulenc's own voice in writings, interviews and letters. The reporting is factual and with voluminous footnotes, making it possible to retrace his steps. His editorial neutrality and the sheer mass of material makes for a less sophisticated approach than Mellers' or Ivry's books. Some people may prefer this, and in any case I have found it completely absorbing, because the ever-fascinating Poulenc, the "Entrancing Muse" [said Stravinsky], is presented here in unprecedented, vivid detail -- and accurately so.
The quality of this volume strengthens the case for a new English translation of Poulenc's correspondence!
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Format: Hardcover
One of the Pendragon Press "Lives In Music" series, Carl Schmidt's Entrancing Muse: A Documented Biography Of Francis Poulenc surveys the life and work of a most notable composer who lived from 1899 to 1963. Packed cover to cover with a wealth of detailed lore about the man, his life, and his work, Entrancing Muse is a fascinating read especially recommended for anyone interested in the personality and life experiences of a man responsible for great and critically acclaimed music.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This definitive biography of Poulenc was drawn mostly from primary documents with an "elegant neutrality" in detailing the composer's actions, musical and otherwise. Poulenc's enigmatic personality is less enignimatic in light of the content of this book, but no less compelling a figure--indeed, he is one of the most fascinating composers of the 20th. century. Carl B. Schmidt's biography is the Poulenc 'bible'. Robert Shapiro (author of "Les Six..." published by Peter Owen)
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By A Customer on June 24, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think to have known Francis Poulenc was to love him, and this book makes it clear what a compelling and kind man Poulenc was. In addition to that, it makes clear the ambiance of the company he kept and the period of musical history in which he kept it. When I finished the book, I sat down at the piano and learned two new (new to me) piano works of his. The book was good enough to spur me in that direction. Very well done!
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