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Sinfonietta (Poulenc)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

by Francis Poulenc
CatalogueFP 141
Composed1947 (1947)
Scoringsmall symphony orchestra

The Sinfonietta, FP 141, is a work for orchestra by Francis Poulenc. Composed in 1947, it was first performed in London on 24 October 1948, conducted by Roger Désormière. The work, light and full of dance rhythms, is in four movements.


Poulenc, who initially was urged to study business by his parents, came to music late, without much formal education. He scored a success with a full-length ballet, Les biches, written on a commission by Diaghilev and premiered in Monte Carlo in 1924. A young audience cherished the unsophisticated fresh charm, and the composer received commissions in the wake of the success.[1] He composed the Sinfonietta in 1947 on a commission from the BBC for the tenth anniversary of their Third Programme.[2] It was first performed in a broadcast concert in London on 24 October 1948, played by the Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Roger Désormière.[3] Poulenc made his first concert tour to the U.S. the same year, which increased his international recognition.[1]


The composition, Poulenc's only symphonic work,[1] is in four movements:[4][5]

  1. Allegro con fuoco
  2. Molto vivace
  3. Andante cantabile
  4. Très vite et très gai

The work is light and full of dance rhythms,[4][5] at times satirical.[1] The first movement begins force but is contrasted with melodic elements.[4] The second movement of scherzo character[1] is reminiscent of the last movement of the ballet Les biches,[4] and has "brief misterioso moments".[1] The third movement is gentle,[4] with an expansive melodic theme.[1] The final recalls last movements by Haydn with "folksy" themes,[1] and "scurries along to a breathless conclusion".[4]


The Sinfonietta is scored for a small symphony orchestra consisting of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in Bb, 2 bassoons, 2 French horns (in F), 2 trumpets in C, harp, timpani (4), and strings.


Cited sources

  • Ewen, David (1959). Encyclopedia of Concert Music. New York: Hill and Wang.
  • Harding, James (1989). "Sinfonietta". Hyperion Records. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  • Morgan, Dan (May 2018). "Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) / Les biches / Les animaux modèles / Sinfonietta". Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  • Schmidt, Carl B. (1995). The Music of Francis Poulenc (1899–1963): A Catalogue. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780191585166.
  • Smith, Luke (31 May 2019). "Poulenc: Sinfonietta". Lakeview Orchestra. Retrieved 26 September 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 October 2020, at 12:29
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