The arguments from Dorf and Moore are for the most part well crafted arguments, however they each take the relationship between Poulenc’s music and personal life and sexuality too far. For an example, the following quote from the Moore reading sets up and clearly states the premise of the argument: “Chimènes’s volume not only rendered the composer’s sexual identity a matter of public record, it also revealed the myriad imbrications between Poulenc’s private life and the creative world of his music.” (Moore, 300) This information came from Myriam Chimènes who wrote an introduction to a posthumously published collection of Poulenc’s correspondences. Since it was quite a shock to many to learn of his sexuality, the letters, however, were taken much out of context as the author used them in his argument. I think it is perfectly sensible to argue that Poulenc’s music was shaped by his homosexuality, however Moore missed the mark as he went overboard on the interpretation.
Moore claims: “…any reading of Poulenc’s works that aims to salvage the hidden vestiges of homosexual desire, denial, and disgrace from within the complex codes of musical and theatrical representation must naturally be attentive to such crimes” (Moore, 303). He continues saying that Poulenc used musical and dramatic disguises to to cover up his own incongruity and that his “elaborate musical makeup cannot entirely hide the expressive reality of the queer subjectivity it is attempting to cover up” (Moore, 303). While it is clear that the thematic matter in Poulenc’s music is influenced by his sexuality and the cultural and lifestyle choices he makes, but it is nit-picky of Moore to analyze every single musical detail of the music. To a point the chords and stylistic choices a composer makes can represent something, but there is a line that can be crossed that maybe a composer just wanted a particular sonority and it doesn’t mean anything beyond he or she liked the way it sounded. I agree with the arguments about the Woman in Blue, the cross-dress, ambiguous character, and the analysis of the indirect homage to his idol, Igor Stravinsky as a parody of Stravinsky’s The Sleeping Beauty in Poulenc’s Les Biches. Inspiration comes from ones own life and in this case it comes directly from his own experiences in dealing with the scorn he receives in his life about being homosexual.
Dorf adds on to the queer arguments about Satie’s music and his commission for Socrates from the Princesse of Polignac. Dorf explores the ideas of “sapphonics” and quotes Elizabeth Wood explaining it as a “mode of articulation, a way of describing a space of lesbian musical possibility among women who sing and women who listen” (Dorf, 96). This idea basically says that the music is written in a way that has an entirely different meaning to lesbians as it does to heterosexual people and that only they can hear the subtleness of the writing. I think this analysis goes too far.