The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: The Ear celebrates marriage equality or same-sex marriage with a piece by Francis Poulenc and a list of LGBT composers. What music would you play to celebrate the occasion? And how many composers can you name? | June 27, 2015

By Jacob Stockinger

Less than 50 years ago, you could go to prison or jail for being gay.

But now, given Friday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that same-sex marriage is legal across the country — IS indeed The Law of the Land under the U.S. Constitution — the same people can now be heading to the chapel (or city hall) where they’re gonna get married!

And have it recognized in all 50 states.

Rainbow flag

So how can one celebrate this long-awaited occasion, which so many gay composers would have wished for and benefitted from?

One way is to feature a piece by a gay composer.

The Ear chose the lovely slow movement from the Concerto for Two Pianos by Francis Poulenc (below), that tuneful and forthright 20th century French composer who said, “If I were not homosexual, I could not compose my music.”

You can hear the music, performed by the composer at one of the keyboards, at the bottom in a YouTube video.

Francis Poulenc

What piece would you choose to mark the occasion? Leave your answer and, if possible, a YouTube link to a performance of the work in the COMMENT section. The Ear wants to hear!!

Now, how many LGBT composers and songwriters can you name?

Here is one pretty impressive list with a lot of names that even The Ear didn’t know.



  1. Thanks for this wonderful affirmation of the LGBT communities contributions to our musical heritage!

    Comment by Ed Haertel — June 27, 2015 @ 8:21 am

  2. Nice choice by Ann and a good idea to have a link to a YouTube video.

    So, here’s a link to a lecture/performance by the composer Matthew Aucoin of his new opera, “Crossing,” based on Walt Whitman’s life and poetry. The link is from Harvard U.:

    Note the introductions (in academic style) are VERY long!

    Comment by fflambeau — June 27, 2015 @ 7:41 am

  3. Great list— and, of course, incomplete—


    Comment by James Koenig — June 27, 2015 @ 7:36 am

  4. My choice might be Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, op. 31– for its intense beauty and majesty–and for the many photos of Britten with his partner Peter Pears, shown in the video:

    Comment by Ann Boyer — June 27, 2015 @ 7:17 am

  5. How about Matthew Aucoin’s opera, “Crossing” based on the life (and poetry) of Walt Whitman?

    And has there ever been a poem as revolutionary as Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric”:

    The man’s body is sacred and the woman’s body is sacred,
    No matter who it is, it is sacred—is it the meanest one in the laborers’ gang?
    Is it one of the dull-faced immigrants just landed on the wharf?
    Each belongs here or anywhere just as much as the well-off, just as much as you,
    Each has his or her place in the procession.

    Comment by fflambeau — June 27, 2015 @ 12:51 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,262 other followers

    Blog Stats

    • 2,329,234 hits
%d bloggers like this: