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Poulenc: Les Animeaux modèles, etc / Bollani, et al

Album Summary

>Poulenc, Francis : Les animaux modèles, ballet, FP 111
>Poulenc, Francis : Concert champêtre, for harpsichord & orchestra, FP 49
>Poulenc, Francis : Improvisation no 13 for piano in A minor (Allegretto comodo), FP 170/1
>Poulenc, Francis : Improvisation no 15 for piano in C minor ("Hommage à Édith Piaf"), FP 176
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Torino's hidden musical diamond, 'Filarmonica '900 del Teatro Regio di Torino', makes their CD debut with conductor Jan Latham-Koenig in a program of one of his favorite composers, Francis Poulenc. The complete ballet 'Les Animaux Modeles', a rarity on record, is coupled with the 'Concert Champetre' featuring young Italian pianist 'Stefano Bollani, best known as a jazz pianist and returning here to his classical roots playing the piano edition of the 'Concert', better known as a work for harpsichord and orchestra. Poulenc himself performed the work as a piano soloist. Bollani goes on to resurrect an almost lost tradition by elaborating on two 'Improvisations' written for the purpose by Poulenc.

BBC Music Magazine
This is a disc to treasure. Should the Concert champêtre be performed on the piano? Poulenc said no, but did it often. Bollani's lightly pedalled sound is, for me, utterly convincing and the balance between piano and orchestra is ideal.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Poulenc's third and final ballet, Les animauxmodèles, was begun, he wrote, 'in the darkest days of the summer of 1940, and one way or another I wanted to find a reason for hope in the future of my country'. The fables of La Fontaine provided him with the plot and it was first performed on August 8, 1942, in occupied Paris (in the penultimate section, 'Les deux coqs', Poulenc mischievously quotes the song Non, non,vous n'aurez pas notre Alsace-Lorraine for an audience made up mainly of German officials).

Why we don't hear this delicious score more often is a mystery. Too many good tunes, probably.

Its eight movements are quintessential Poulenc with the characteristic mélange of harmonic and stylistic influences that make their composer's voice so unmistakable. There is also a good deal of self-plagiarising (spot the quotes from the Organ Concerto and the contemporaneous Babar the Elephant). Only one other recording is currently available, apart from the abbreviated version recorded by Georges Prêtre from 1966. The Turin players match the Parisians every step of the way with their incision, sure-footedness and sheer panache.

Stefano Bollini, whose career has been mainly in jazz, makes a good fist of the Concertochampêtre (commissioned by the harpsichordist Wanda Landowska, of course, but sanctioned by the composer to be played on the piano as well), rounding off the disc with his own 'elaborations' of two of Poulenc's late Improvisations, No 13 from 1958 and No 15 ('Hommage à Edith Piaf'), from 1959, the last of the cycle.

Gramophone Magazine
The Turin players match the Parisians every step of the way with their incision, sure-footedness and sheer panache. Stefano Bollini... makes a good fist of the Concerto champêtre... rounding off the disc with his own "elaborations" of two of Poulenc's late Improvisations, No 13 from 1958 and No 15 ("Hommage à Edith Piaf"), from 1959, the last of the cycle.



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Works Details

>Poulenc, Francis : Les animaux modèles, ballet, FP 111
  • Conductor: Jan Latham-Koenig
  • Ensemble: Filarmonica '900
  • Notes: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Torino, Italy (03/06/2007-03/09/2007)
  • Running Time: 38 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1940-1942

>Poulenc, Francis : Concert champêtre, for harpsichord & orchestra, FP 49
  • Performer: S. Bollani (Piano)
  • Conductor: Jan Latham-Koenig
  • Ensemble: Filarmonica '900
  • Notes: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Torino, Italy (03/06/2007-03/09/2007)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 16 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Concerto
  • Written: 1927-1928

>Poulenc, Francis : Improvisation no 13 for piano in A minor (Allegretto comodo), FP 170/1
  • Performer: S. Bollani (Piano)
  • Notes: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Torino, Italy (03/06/2007-03/09/2007)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1958

>Poulenc, Francis : Improvisation no 15 for piano in C minor ("Hommage à Édith Piaf"), FP 176
  • Performer: S. Bollani (Piano)
  • Notes: Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Torino, Italy (03/06/2007-03/09/2007)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1959