French chamber music (1850-1950)


This post is a shrine for French chamber music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

For one reason, apart from other favorite chamberists of mine like Brahms or Schumann, I always go back to French composers…. There is here a wit and lightness you find nowhere else.

Let me start this series with a most charming musician.

Francis Poulenc


Nicknamed ‘half-monk, half-delinquent’ by some (he also wrote moving church music), he exemplifies the clarity of purpose, simplicity, acidity and charm of french chamber music. He wrote great pieces for woods.

How to choose? Maybe two sonata’s stand out (for me), the sonata for clarinet and the sonata for oboe (see below).