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Poulenc: Music for Piano and Wind

Audio Samples

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Flute and Piano
>Poulenc, Francis : Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
>Poulenc, Francis : Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for oboe & piano, FP 185

Album Summary

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Flute and Piano
>Poulenc, Francis : Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
>Poulenc, Francis : Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100
>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for oboe & piano, FP 185
Performers Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"It is hard to imagine now, listening to this elegant music, that Poulenc was once denigrated by the early 20th-century arbiters of taste as a purveyor of cheap tunes. His response, "If you are not à la mode today, you may not be out of the mode tomorrow," reflects not only his wit but his accurate assessment of the transience of musical taste. The chic post-Great War Parisian audiences were certainly attracted by his wry humor and ability to amuse, but their superficial standards, the real source of the complaint, do not define his music. Poulenc, a member of the avant-garde Les Six, possessed a splendid Gallic ability to combine deep feeling with saucy mischievousness, and nowhere is it more apparent than in his chamber works. If one is satisfied to do so, one can delight in their light-hearted attractiveness, but it takes little effort to be moved by the undercurrents of melancholy, and to be impressed with how adeptly Poulenc integrates what would seem, in lesser hands, to be incompatible impulses.

This CD contains five of Poulenc's finest - and not incidentally, best-loved - works for winds and piano. They range from the early (1926) Trio, written at the suggestion of Stravinsky - and more than a little influenced by that composer's neoclassicism - and formed in part by the advice of Ravel, with whom he was studying, to the two late (1962) sonatas written under the never-dispelled shadow of the deaths of dear friends Honegger and Prokofiev, and the intimations of his own mortality. (He did not live to hear them premiered in 1963.) In between are the hard-won profundities and playfulness of the Sextet for Wind Quintet and Piano - he crafted and revised the work from the early 30s until he published it in 1945 - and the perfection of the Sonata for Flute and Piano (1956 - 57), a commission to honor the memory of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge.

Individual recordings of these works, on many a current recital disc, have kept the pieces before the public, but these are not so numerous that superb performances such as these from the members of Ensemble 360 could be anything but welcome. Ensemble 360 is a group of younger artists, recently appointed as ensemble-in-residence at the University of Huddersfield, and working as part of the University of Sheffield Music in the Round touring program. That institution's mission of "presenting the best in small-scale music in an informal atmosphere" to new audiences may explain the wonderful communicativeness of these performances. These do not eclipse the performances on the fine survey on Naxos, or the characterful EMI recordings by the Paris Wind Quintet et al. (out of print, but available as an ArkivCD reissue), or that of Flute Sonata premiere performance soloist Jean-Pierre Rampal. However, they deserve equal billing with these and with those on my other favorite single disc of Poulenc chamber works, by James Levine and the Ensemble Wien-Berlin (DG)."-Fanfare

International Record Review
There are no weak links in the band, and one can smell the vestiges of polish on the music's eccentrically undulating contours...Eshed's performance of the Flute Concerto is also very colourful and poetic...[Horton's] performance achieves a good measure of the lyricism and sarcasm bound up in the [Clarinet Sonata]...bassoonist Peter Whelan achieves some wonderfully elastic lines.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Potton Hall, Suffolk (05/28/2008-05/31/2008).



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Works Details

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Flute and Piano
  • Performers: Guy Eshed (Flute); Tim Horton (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk (05/28/2008-05/31/2008)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1956-1957

>Poulenc, Francis : Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43
  • Performers: Adrian Wilson (Oboe); Peter Whelan (Bassoon); Tim Horton (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk (05/28/2008-05/31/2008)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1926

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for Clarinet and Piano
  • Performers: Matthew Hunt (Clarinet); Tim Horton (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk (05/28/2008-05/31/2008)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962

>Poulenc, Francis : Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100
  • Ensemble: Ensemble 360
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk (05/28/2008-05/31/2008)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1932-1939

>Poulenc, Francis : Sonata for oboe & piano, FP 185
  • Performers: Adrian Wilson (Oboe); Tim Horton (Piano)
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Suffolk (05/28/2008-05/31/2008)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1962