Jenny Poulenc was from a Parisian family with wide artistic interests. He later set many of their poems to music. I admired him madly, because, at this time, in , he was the only virtuoso who played Debussy and Ravel. There was a fashion for African arts in Paris at the time, and Poulenc was delighted to run across some published verses purportedly Liberian, but full of Parisian boulevard slang.
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Poulenc told him, "Much more at home with wind instruments than strings, I admit I am tempted by this combination", as he had always preferred winds — with their similarities to the human voice — to stringed instruments.
Finding the form for your language is the most difficult thing. Another critic stated that the sonata was "the best of Poulenc, and even a little better". In a new edition by Carl B. Schmidt and Patricia Harper was issued, correcting discrepancies and errors in the earlier published score. Very fast and very tricky for the players, the skittish and vivacious … finale brings the work to a close in cheerful and sardonic style.
Wilfrid Mellers comments that the reappearance of the first theme in an unexpected key makes it clear that Poulenc is not following sonata form but is using "a subtle ternary structure".
A coda to the coda is explicitly based on blue false relations between major and minor thirds. The shape is roughly that of a rondo with choruses and verses, but Poulenc treats the form freely. The difficulty is the entirely pianistic nature of the accompaniment, extremely difficult to translate into orchestral terms. He thought little of his own sonatas for cello and for violin. Notes to Naxos CD 8.
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