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Poulenc: Complete Chamber Works

Sonata for Two Clarinets, Op. 7
Oboe Sonata, Op. 185
Violin Sonata, FP 119
Sextet for piano and wind quintet, Op. 100
Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon
Violin Sonata, FP 119
Cello Sonata, Op. 143
Clarinet Sonata, Op. 184
Oboe Sonata, Op. 185

London Conchord Ensemble

Champs Hill Records: CHRCD028

An exemplary collection of Poulenc's chamber music (1922-62) recorded 2001-2011. Francis Poulenc lived from 1899 – 1963; his dates, not given with the discs, are important in connection with his personality and career, which are well summarised in an excellent essay by Daniel Jaffe. The cover photo of the young Poulenc captures his wistful vulnerability. Poulenc was himsef a fine performer of hsi own music; I was privilieged to hear him with his regular partner Pierre Bernac at one of Myra Hess's famous National gallery concerts in wartime...

Poulenc's moods are reflected in his music, and range from "insouciant mischief and wit" to darker feelings and depression to be found works dedicated to memories of numerous deceased persons, especially close friends such as a fellow composer P-O Ferroud.

That range is expressed in the variety of these pieces which can be enjoyed in the given track order or otherwise by choice. A few a day may be best. Although recorded over a decade, and with different engineers, there is a general consistency and the supportive acoustic of the Champs Hill studio plays a positive part.

There are other collections; a French set [EMI CZS7627362] with performers including Alan Civil & Sir Yehudi Menuhin together with eminent French stars (Février, Debost & Bourgue and another pair of discs from Rogé, Portal, Bourgue, Gallois, Cazalet & Wallez [London 421581-2] but I am sure you won't go wrong with this newest collection.

Peter Grahame Woolf