Poulenc: The Complete Chamber Music / Nash Ensemble

Album Summary

>Poulenc, Francis : Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for violin & piano, FP 119
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for 2 clarinets, FP 7
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Cello and Piano
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
>Poulenc, Francis : Sarabande for guitar, FP 179
>Poulenc, Francis : Villanelle for pipe (or flute) & piano, FP 74
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for oboe & piano, FP 185
>Poulenc, Francis : Elegie, for horn & piano, FP 168
>Poulenc, Francis : Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for clarinet & bassoon, FP 32
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Flute and Piano
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'Thirteen pieces lovingly brought to life by the Nash Ensemble. For once, the word 'jewel-box' for the CD container sounds about right.' (BBC CD Review)

'Entrancing. It's hard to select the choicest treasures from this jewel box of Poulenc's most witty and vivacious, hauntingly melodic and touchingly heartfelt music, especially when it is played with such effervescence and devotion as here. The two masterpieces are the Sextet for Piano and Winds (1932) and the delectable "Mozartian" Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon, played with dashing elan and soulful lyricism by the pianist Ian Brown and the Nash's brilliant wind principals. Richard Watkins's long-breathed account of the moving Elégie in memoriam Dennis Brain (1957) and Paul Watkins's noble-toned playing of the Cello Sonata (1940/48) are exceptional. But there is rapture, elation, zany high spirits in all of this music, dazzlingly played by the Nash Ensemble. Buy, buy, buy!' (The Sunday Times)

'A set which will surely and deservedly be popular.' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Thoroughly excellent' (The Observer)

'Those who treasure performances of this music should hear this recording to discover the insights which the very best of today's musicians bring to these scores' (Classic Express)

'An altogether first-class collection if Poulenc's very individual chamber music output played with real sensitivity ... .outstanding performances. The whole issue wins my enthusiastic recommendation: it bids fair to become the undisputed yardstick for the future.' (Gramophone)

'It would be hard to imagine more consistently on-target presentations of Poulenc's chamber music or more appropriate sound reproduction. Highly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Invidious as it may seem to pick out just one of these excellent artists, special mention must be made of Ian Brown, who plays in nine of the 13 works included and confirms his standing as one of the most admired and musicianly chamber pianists of our day. He knows, for example, how to control Poulenc's boisterous piano writing in the Sextet without sacrificing the sparkle, and as a result the work coheres better than ever before. Like the Trio (whose opening reveals Stravinskian influence), it's a mixture of the composer's madcap gamin mood and his predominantly melancholy bittersweet lyricism.

The latter characteristic is most in evidence in his most enduring chamber works: the solo wind sonatas with piano, all three of which were in the nature of tombeaux , the Flute Sonata for the American patron Mrs Sprague Coolidge, that for clarinet for Honegger, and that for oboe for Prokofiev. All are given idiomatic, sensitive and satisfying performances by the Nash artists.

The Elégie for Dennis Brain was a not altogether convincing experiment in dodecaphony: Poulenc had earlier dabbled in atonality and polytonality in the little sonatas (really sonatinas) for, respectively, two clarinets and for clarinet and bassoon. There's a touching reading of the little Sarabande for guitar. A hint of the guitar's tuning at the start of the second movement is almost the only Spanish reference in the Violin Sonata, which was composed in memoriam the poet Lorca, whose loss is bitterly suggested in the angry finale. In this work Poulenc allotted to the piano (his own instrument) rather more than equal status in the duo - a situation rather paralleled in the lighthearted Cello Sonata, over which the composer dallied longer than any other of his works - but balance in both is finely judged by the performers and the recording team. The whole issue wins enthusiastic recommendation: it bids fair to become the undisputed yardstick for the future.



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Works Details

>Poulenc, Francis : Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100
  • Performer: Ian Brown (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1932-1939

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for violin & piano, FP 119
  • Performers: Leo Phillips (Violin); Ian Brown (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1942-1943

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for 2 clarinets, FP 7
  • Performers: Michael Harris (Clarinet); Richard Hosford (Clarinet)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1918

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone
  • Performers: David Purser (Trombone); John Wallace (Trumpet); Richard Watkins (Horn)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 7 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1922

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Cello and Piano
  • Performers: Ian Brown (Piano); Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1948

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
  • Performers: Richard Hosford (Clarinet); Ian Brown (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Poulenc, Francis : Sarabande for guitar, FP 179
  • Performer: Craig Ogden (Guitar)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Poulenc, Francis : Villanelle for pipe (or flute) & piano, FP 74
  • Performers: Ian Brown (Piano); Philippa Davies (Piccolo)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1934

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for oboe & piano, FP 185
  • Performers: Gareth Hulse (Oboe); Ian Brown (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Poulenc, Francis : Élégie, for horn & piano, FP 168
  • Performers: Ian Brown (Piano); Richard Watkins (Horn)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1957

>Poulenc, Francis : Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43
  • Performers: Ursula Leveaux (Bassoon); Gareth Hulse (Oboe); Ian Brown (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1926

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for clarinet & bassoon, FP 32
  • Performers: Ursula Leveaux (Bassoon); Richard Hosford (Clarinet)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1922

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Flute and Piano
  • Performers: Ian Brown (Piano); Philippa Davies (Flute)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (12/22/1998/12/23/1998)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1956-1957