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From the publisher
Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) is widely acknowledged as one of the twentieth century's most significant masters of vocal music-solo, choral and operatic-quite apart from his achievements in instrumental spheres. But what it cost him has been underestimated. In this seminal biography, which will serve as the definitive guide to the songs, Graham Johnson shows that it is in Poulenc's extraordinary songs and seeing how they fit into his life-his hidden sexuality, addiction and all-that we discover the composer's essential artistic being. With Jeremy Sams's song translations, the first in over forty years, and the insight that comes from a lifetime of performing this music, Johnson provides an essential volume for singers, pianists, listeners and readers interested in the artistic milieu of modernism in the first half of the twentieth century.