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Sacred Vocal Music - Released March 10, 2014 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released May 11, 2018 | Naxos

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Take note: these are not suites taken from Poulenc's ballets Les Biches and Les Animaux modèles. Les Biches, first performed in 1924 by the Ballets Russes de Paris, is a particularly "facetious" score of Poulenc's, miles from his deeper works; we could even call it light music, in a vein which would later be addressed by Jean Françaix. Of course, "light" doesn't mean "easy" and Poulenc's score teems with imagination, harmonic curiosities, orchestral colours, and references and allusions running from Chopin to Mozart, from Stravinski to music-hall. As in Les Biches, the composer made his own theme for the ballet Les Animaux modèles of 1942, and here is its Suite. It's in the same vein that Poulenc uses a much more ambitious orchestra, but the Parisian tone predominates. Borrowing from La Fontaine, Poulenc makes his animals into human characters, so the grasshopper becomes an old ballerina, the ant an old provincial aunt, the lovelorn lion a pimp, and death an elegant woman, like a masked Duchess. Here too the borrowings and allusions are legion: including to himself but also to Satie, Saint-Saëns and many others, while in Le Lion, he sneaks the line "Vous n’aurez pas l’Alsace et la Lorraine"[You won't have Alsace and Lorraine] into the score, clearly addressed to the occupiers of Paris who had just taken part in the performance of a ballet by Lifar at the Opéra in Paris. The album closes with the 1947 Sinfonietta, quite unique among Poulenc's works: facetious and light, to be sure, but also coloured by potential drama that looms behind each passage. A most welcome programme. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released January 15, 2004 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released November 23, 1994 | Naxos

Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released October 15, 1996 | Arion

Distinctions Diapason d'or de l'année - Diapason d'or - Grand Prix de l'Académie Charles Cros
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Classical - Released August 1, 2018 | London Philharmonic Orchestra

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Classical - Released April 28, 2011 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Hi-Res Audio
It may not be apparent from the CD packaging or graphics visible to the online customer, but this is a historically oriented performance of these Poulenc favorites, helmed by Belgian keyboardist and conductor Jos van Immerseel. If you're wondering what that might involve for a composer of the early 20th century, the pianos are the main thing: the Concerto for two pianos and orchestra in D minor is played on a pair of Erard pianos from 1896 and 1905. These have a lighter tone than a Steinway grand, and they seem to fit together in the concerto's passagework in a more agile way, at least as executed by Claire Chevallier and van Immerseel himself. The chamber orchestra Anima Eterna Brugge also here includes instruments, mostly winds, that are subtly different from their modern versions. The result is a set of transparent but rhythmically rather plain performances that certainly stand out from the common run of Poulenc recordings. Perhaps the modern instruments are missed most in the two-piano concerto, where the music seems to lack rhythmic energy. The highlight may be the comparatively uncommon Suite française of 1935, an extreme manifestation of the neo-Renaissance trend in inter-war French music. The piece has a certain Renaissance faire quality, but it's executed with flair here, and the slightly antique instruments emphasize its exotic quality. Also appealing is the Concert champêtre for harpsichord and orchestra. Curiously, van Immerseel chooses to give soloist Katerina Chroboková a copy of an 18th-century French harpsichord rather than the modern Pleyel harpsichord for which the work was expressly composed and which was played by its champion, Wanda Landowska. His reasoning on this, spelled out in the booklet, is not entirely convincing, but the musical results work well simply because one of the key sources of the work's charm, the unlikely balances between the harpsichord and the large, brass-heavy orchestra, comes through effectively here. With excellent acoustics, this is a recording that is well worth hearing for Poulenc fans and will stir conversation among them. © TiVo
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Concertos - Released March 3, 2020 | Resonus Classics

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This enjoyable Poulenc release from pianist Mark Bebbington, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Jan Latham-Koenig, and a pair of fine wind players qualifies for the rarities category. True, the Concert Champêtre ("Pastoral Concerto") of 1928 is one of the composer's most familiar works, but what's heard here is not the usual version for harpsichord and orchestra, but one for piano and orchestra. This is certainly not beyond the pale; Poulenc himself not only played this version, he even recorded it in 1948 with the New York Philharmonic. Some listeners may miss the harpsichord, which is the work's most distinctive feature, yet Latham-Koenig and Bebbington manage the key Poulenc trick in the slow movement of delivering lyricism, but not sentimentality. The Piano Concerto of 1950 is probably the least often heard of Poulenc's concertante works. Its eclecticism, ranging from "Swanee River" to the "can-can" to the Brazilian maxixe rhythm, was taken as evidence of slapdash construction, though lately, has been sounding pleasingly eclectic, and Bebbington's ability to let the music speak for itself should help the work along. Even rarer are the Trio for piano, oboe, and bassoon and the Oboe Sonata, both of which show a somewhat more experimental version of Poulenc's basic language; oboist John Roberts is especially affecting in the sonata's unusual final "Déploration" slow movement. Enjoyable for anyone, this album is a must for Poulenc fans. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released September 2, 2016 | PentaTone

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Keyboard Concertos - Released January 31, 2020 | Odradek Records

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Classical - Released July 3, 2009 | Warner Classics

Distinctions Diapason d'or - The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 1, 2007 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Duets - Released February 1, 2011 | Chandos

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Classical - Released March 3, 2014 | Indésens

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Classical - Released March 5, 2012 | Warner Classics

Classical - Released June 10, 2015 | INA Mémoire vive

Booklet Distinctions Choc du Monde de la Musique - 4F de Télérama
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Keyboard Concertos - Released June 7, 2019 | Lawo Classics

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Concertos - Released January 28, 1999 | Naxos

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Oratorios (secular) - Released October 16, 1959 | Warner Classics

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Vocal Music (Secular and Sacred) - Released June 1, 2015 | Signum Records

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