Author(s): Robert Shapiro
Les Six are Francis Poulenc, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Germaine Tailleferre. They were a group of talented composers who came together in a unique collaboration that has never been matched in classical music. A musical experiment originally conceived by Erik Satie and then built upon by Jean Cocteau, Les Six were also born out of the shock of the German invasion of France in 1914 - an avant-garde riposte to German romanticism and Wagnerism. Les Six were all - and are - respected in music circles, but under the aegis of Cocteau, they found themselves moving among a whole new milieu: the likes of Picasso, Rene Clair, Blaise Cendrars and Maurice Chevalier all appear in the story along with key figures of the Dada and Surrealist movements. But the story of Les Six goes on long after the heyday of Bohemian Paris: the group never officially disbanded and it was only in the last twenty years that the last member died; moreover, the their spouses, descendents and associates are still active, ensuring that the remarkable legacy of this unique group survives.
In Robert Shaprio's comprehensive, absorbing narrative, their remarkable story is told for the first time.
ROBERT SHAPIRO is a well-respected expert on the twentieth century French ecole and has written a previous book on the subject: Germaine Tailleferre: A Bio-Bibliography (1994), and contributed articles to Music of the 20th Century AvantfiGarde: A Biocritical Sourcebook.