||Francis Poulenc ( 1899-1963 ) is one of the most important French composers in the early 20th -century. Influenced by Neo-classicism, Poulenc developed his own personal musical language which is light, humorous, and sagacious. He wrote in many different musical genres during his life, including ballet, opera, piano, vocal, choral, and chamber music. In 1936, after his good friend Pierre-Octave Ferroud’ sudden death in a car accident and religious experience in Rocamadour, Poulenc started to compose choral music, including Petites Voix.|
Petites Voix, completed in 1936, includes five short pieces for three-part treble voices. Poulenc chose five lovely poems as the text from Madeleina Ley’s poetry Petites Voix, and created five short choral songs. La Petite Fille Sage ( The Good Little Girl ) describes a substantial day of a little girl. Le Chien Perdu ( The Lost Dog ) is a conversation between a kid and a dog. En Renreant de L’école ( On the Way Home from School ) describes the surprising things that happened on the way home from school. Le Petit Garçon Malade ( The Little Sick Boy ) describes a sick boy whose mind is full of feelings of helplessness. Le Hérisson ( The Hedgehog ) talks about a father who brings a Hedgehog home and some funny things happen in the family. Each song describes a little story happening in daily life from a child’s point of view, and Poulenc has put these texts to music with excellent technique to express childlike innocence.
This master report consists of seven parts. The first part is an introduction. It is followed by background of early 20th-century french music, a biographic sketch of Poulenc life, characteristics of Poulenc secular choral works, a biographic sketch of Madeleina Ley life, analysis of Petites Voix, and interpretation of Petites Voix. The last part is the conclusion. There are three appendices at the end of this paper. Appendix A contains the phonetic alphabets and the general rules of French diction. Appendix B offers the translation and a French pronunciation guide for the lyrics of these five pieces. Appendix C is a list of Poulenc choral works