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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Boris_G on July 16, 2007, 11:01:59 AM

Title: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Boris_G on July 16, 2007, 11:01:59 AM
With the recent death of Regine Crespin, Poulenc has been much in the air. On BBC Radio 4 recently they had a small item about her, and virtually all the extracts were from works by Poulenc - including a thrilling 'Paradisi Gloria' extract from Stabat mater.

But what I love about Poulenc above all is his insoucient moments of light-headed charm; light-headed and yet never quite carefree in songs like 'Les Gars Qui Vont A La Fete' (sorry - I don't know how to do accents on my PC). Even that languid masterpiece from Banalites, 'Hotel', has a wistful flavour, an awareness of time flowing past.

So I thought it's about time he had a thread of his own. Any favourites of his, anyone?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: MishaK on July 16, 2007, 11:09:35 AM
So I thought it's about time he had a thread of his own. Any favourites of his, anyone?

His concerto for two pianos is essential listening.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Boris_G on July 16, 2007, 11:12:37 AM
His concerto for two pianos is essential listening.

Love it...but essential? Why?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scriptavolant on July 16, 2007, 11:19:50 AM
I've listened to the Chamber Music CD on Decca (Performers: Roge, Gallois, Bourge, Portal) a lot of times. My preference goes toward the Sonata for clarinet and piano, and the one for flute and piano, but didn't really deepen my knowledge of this composer, even though I was planning to purchase the entire chamber music set on Naxos and some recording of L'Histoire de Babar. A pianist friend of mine commented this last work on a radio broadcast some time ago and strongly recommended it.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: JoshLilly on July 16, 2007, 11:47:00 AM
Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos was the first piece of non-worded music I ever heard that made me laugh out loud. The first movement is hilarious! Poulenc fans in the past got mad at me for saying that, but I can't help it. The first movement is just magnificent. I might be the only person on Earth who takes it that way. I never read or learned anything about the piece except that someone suggested it to me, knowing that I liked very little 20th century orchestral music, and to this day I honestly have no clue how other people perceive it. But I love laughing, so Poulenc gets high marks. I'm not laughing at it, as if I think it's pathetic; quite the contrary, it sounds like he's having fun with Vivaldi and who knows what else, and I think it's brilliant. Other than by Rachmaninov (the you-know-whats), I have yet to find any other concerto from the entire 20th century that I like.

This is my favourite Poulenc CD, as it contains the 3 works of his that have parts that I like:

http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Concerto-Pianos-Sonata-Quintet/dp/B000003YQU

Anyways, just wanted to plug that CD. Actual Poulenc fans might not like it, though, I don't know how they rate the performances of those pieces. I just found it a nice way to discover Poulenc. Sadly, it's no longer in print, and the used copies I see on amazon.com are US$33+. No way! But if you find it somewheres at a reasonable price, and you don't know Poulenc, it's worth a try!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Boris_G on July 16, 2007, 11:53:52 AM
Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos was the first piece of non-worded music I ever heard that made me laugh out loud. The first movement is hilarious! Poulenc fans in the past got mad at me for saying that, but I can't help it. The first movement is just magnificent. I might be the only person on Earth who takes it that way. I never read or learned anything about the piece except that someone suggested it to me, knowing that I liked very little 20th century orchestral music, and to this day I honestly have no clue how other people perceive it. But I love laughing, so Poulenc gets high marks. I'm not laughing at it, as if I think it's pathetic; quite the contrary, it sounds like he's having fun with Vivaldi and who knows what else, and I think it's brilliant. Other than by Rachmaninov (the you-know-whats), I have yet to find any other concerto from the entire 20th century that I like.

This is my favourite Poulenc CD, as it contains the 3 works of his that have parts that I like:

http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Concerto-Pianos-Sonata-Quintet/dp/B000003YQU

Anyways, just wanted to plug that CD. Actual Poulenc fans might not like it, though, I don't know how they rate the performances of those pieces. I just found it a nice way to discover Poulenc. Sadly, it's no longer in print, and the used copies I see on amazon.com are US$33+. No way! But if you find it somewheres at a reasonable price, and you don't know Poulenc, it's worth a try!

I'm sure your reaction to Francis's Concerto for Two Pianos is spot on. It's mad cap comedy, peppered with references to Mozart one moment, then what sounds like music hall the next, with the occasional whiff of something magical (like the evocation of Javanese gamelan) or wistful (parts of the second and third movements).
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mark on July 16, 2007, 12:05:16 PM
If you like Poulenc's songs, there are plenty on this disc, and all deliciously performed:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51215X5Z1TL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Drasko on July 16, 2007, 12:19:25 PM
I particularly like the wind/piano sonatas (clarinet, flute, oboe), and just getting acquainted with Les Mamelles ... fabulous

Here is whole Concerto for two pianos with Fevrier and composer on youtube

Francis Poulenc - Concerto for two Pianos

Poulenc / Fevrier / ONdF / Pretre

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC4kJiTHTtQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC4kJiTHTtQ)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2B5xTGInzI (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2B5xTGInzI)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7j7Vss8BSI (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7j7Vss8BSI)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Brewski on July 16, 2007, 12:19:56 PM
Poulenc's Concerto for Two Pianos was the first piece of non-worded music I ever heard that made me laugh out loud. The first movement is hilarious! Poulenc fans in the past got mad at me for saying that, but I can't help it. The first movement is just magnificent. I might be the only person on Earth who takes it that way. I never read or learned anything about the piece except that someone suggested it to me, knowing that I liked very little 20th century orchestral music, and to this day I honestly have no clue how other people perceive it.

It is a very amusing piece, and I can well imagine laughter during it!  I haven't heard the recording you mention, but I can recommend this one, with the Labèque sisters, whom I have also heard live in this -- totally delightful.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/412r%2B%2BiA%2BpL._AA240_.jpg)

Just saw Mark's post with that Lynne Dawson CD (and with Stuart Drake, whom I also like a lot).  I have only heard her in the Blomstedt/SFO Carmina Burana, in which she sounds terrific.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: pjme on July 16, 2007, 12:24:10 PM
Poulenc was one of the first composers I wanted to know more of. I got lots of LP's from the library : concerto for two pianos, the clarinet sonata, the sextet, Gloria and Stabat mater ( -Paradisi gloria!!!!), that strange & haunting violinsonata, funny trifles like the sonata for piano 4 hands, Le bal masqué or Les mamelles de Thirésias. The slow movement of the Symphonietta is a beauty and so is the Pastourelle from l'Eventail de Jeanne!

He made discovering music easy....


Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Norseman on July 16, 2007, 12:40:09 PM
The concerto for two pianos is great fun, but let's not totally forget his 'single piano' concerto. It might be a little less 'wild', but it's full of beautiful and fun tunes, and has that same almost fragmented, 'you-never-know-what's-going-to-happen' joking around (listen for instance to the crazy ending of the first movement and most of the last movement)

I also like a lot of his delightfully unpretencious solo piano works, like the Suite pour piano and Suite Francais (also scored for what I believe is wind band and harpsichord) Some of his stuff is a little too easy and kitschy even for me, though, and sometimes I can get a little tired of certain clichés of his, things that just sound 'too Poulenc', once you get to know him a little.. But then there's the other side of his famous Janus-face; the church music. Apart from the Gloria, Stabat Mater and Salve Regina, I know he has motets, a mass etc that might be worth checking out..
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: not edward on July 16, 2007, 02:19:27 PM
Yes, the two-piano concerto is fun, and Poulence's hugely underrated as a choral writer.

My favourite works are the late sonatas, though: the clarinet and oboe sonatas have a remarkable emotional world (the laughter failing to disguise the sorrow beneath), and the two-piano sonata is magnificent.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: aquablob on July 16, 2007, 02:55:28 PM
and the two-piano sonata is magnificent.

A friend of mine and I performed this a year or two ago... great fun!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: PSmith08 on July 16, 2007, 03:56:35 PM
Dialogues des Carmélites, which features Crespin in Pierre Dervaux' 1958 EMI recording, is probably (to me, anyway) one of the great 20th century operas. I won't spoil the plot, especially since it makes the famous "Salve Regina" at the end that much more moving, but I will say that the story of a community of nuns in Revolutionary France is pretty darned compelling. Poulenc didn't write an opera with many arias and the like, sticking with a lyrical Sprechgesang; the way, too, he wove the music into the story is downright Wagnerian at times.

In any event, it is surely worth a spin.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: aquablob on July 16, 2007, 05:27:25 PM
Dialogues des Carmélites, which features Crespin in Pierre Dervaux' 1958 EMI recording, is probably (to me, anyway) one of the great 20th century operas. I won't spoil the plot, especially since it makes the famous "Salve Regina" at the end that much more moving, but I will say that the story of a community of nuns in Revolutionary France is pretty darned compelling. Poulenc didn't write an opera with many arias and the like, sticking with a lyrical Sprechgesang; the way, too, he wove the music into the story is downright Wagnerian at times.

In any event, it is surely worth a spin.

Agreed. It is quite powerful.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mark G. Simon on July 16, 2007, 05:40:53 PM
One of Poulenc's earliest compositions (ca. 1919) is a sonata for two clarinets, one in Bb and the other in A. The music is almost entirely bitonal. The music is of moderate difficulty for the most part, but here and there are some really awkward figures which require intense practice. It's a fun piece.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: lukeottevanger on July 16, 2007, 11:54:08 PM
Agree with Edward about the late chamber music. It's very special stuff indeed, intensely moving. As with so many composers, its all about the chamber music and the songs for me - and though I don't know Mark's rec. I'd suggest you can't do better either musically or financially than this complete set, with stellar performances (including definitive ones with Poulenc at the piano):

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sufW%2BamIL._AA240_.jpg)

Other works I can't recommend highly enough - the Stabat Mater, the Gloria and the Litanies a la Vierge Noire (a neglected masterpiece); the Sinfonietta (Poulenc meets Brahms at times!); the Harpsichord Concerto; and that unique opera La voix humaine. But it's an easily extendable list...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mark on July 16, 2007, 11:56:52 PM
Rats! Luke, I let that set you've pictured slip through my fingers fairly recently. It (along with several other sets from the same series), was in a charity shop, along with a 3-CD set from Virgin Classics. Guess which one I picked? ::)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: lukeottevanger on July 17, 2007, 12:03:59 AM
Rats! Luke, I let that set you've pictured slip through my fingers fairly recently. It (along with several other sets from the same series), was in a charity shop, along with a 3-CD set from Virgin Classics. Guess which one I picked? ::)

 :( And the marketplace price at Amazon is a bit steeper now than it was when I bought this set a few months back. Still well worth it, though. This one is coming on holiday to France with me this year.... ;D
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Hector on July 17, 2007, 04:55:04 AM
Dialogues des Carmélites, which features Crespin in Pierre Dervaux' 1958 EMI recording, is probably (to me, anyway) one of the great 20th century operas. I won't spoil the plot, especially since it makes the famous "Salve Regina" at the end that much more moving, but I will say that the story of a community of nuns in Revolutionary France is pretty darned compelling. Poulenc didn't write an opera with many arias and the like, sticking with a lyrical Sprechgesang; the way, too, he wove the music into the story is downright Wagnerian at times.

In any event, it is surely worth a spin.

I won't spoil the plot...er, because there is no way we are going to find out each nun gets the chop at the end even by Googling it?

It is, without doubt, one of the great post-war operas, up there with Britten, Birtwistle and Zimmermann, for example.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: PSmith08 on July 17, 2007, 09:07:06 AM
I won't spoil the plot...er, because there is no way we are going to find out each nun gets the chop at the end even by Googling it?

It is, without doubt, one of the great post-war operas, up there with Britten, Birtwistle and Zimmermann, for example.

Yeah, well, you can indeed get the plot off the internet; still, if someone wants to suck all the emotional punch out of it, that's their business. I'm not going to ruin the last scene for them (and, you really have to get to the last scene for everything to click.)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: The new erato on July 17, 2007, 09:17:42 AM
I like Les Mamelles de Tiresias, superb and fun and totally different to the Dialogues, and a magnificent recording:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RRZPKH2EL._AA240_.jpg)

Have seen it (or them?) on stage and I am conviced both operas belong in the canon of 20th century operas.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: PSmith08 on July 17, 2007, 09:23:07 AM
I like Les Mamelles de Tiresias, superb and fun and totally different to the Dialogues, and a magnificent recording:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RRZPKH2EL._AA240_.jpg)

Have seen it (or them?) on stage and I am conviced both operas belong in the canon of 20th century operas.

So you wouldn't say, then, that you had foresuffered all?  ;)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: George on July 18, 2007, 05:26:46 AM

I love everything I have heard by Poulenc.

He's so much fun!  :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Maciek on July 18, 2007, 03:10:41 PM
I'll be on the lookout for that complete set but before I grab it, may I recommend this excellent disc?

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Mar04/Chemins_debussy_ACD0782_CH.jpg) (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2004/Apr04/chemins.htm)

(click on the image for a review)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: JoshLilly on November 19, 2007, 05:04:20 PM
And now, for something I find truly spectacular:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cC4kJiTHTtQ
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2B5xTGInzI
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7j7Vss8BSI
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 05:07:17 PM
We've started rehearsing two of his Christmas motets, and they're musical landmines  8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Lady Chatterley on November 19, 2007, 05:08:36 PM
I love everything I have heard by Poulenc.

 Ditto!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Lady Chatterley on November 19, 2007, 05:09:40 PM
We've started rehearsing two of his Christmas motets, and they're musical landmines  8)

 As hard as the runs in Handel ?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 05:18:32 PM
As hard as the runs in Handel ?

Harder, really. Those runs you can focus pretty much on your line, and keeping in time with the conductor.  Poulenc's harmonies and voice-leading, while pleasing to the ear, have their treacherous moments, and when the choir is still not confident of the piece, the whole things yaws over on its side and sinks  :(
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Lady Chatterley on November 19, 2007, 05:22:36 PM
Harder, really. Those runs you can focus pretty much on your line, and keeping in time with the conductor.  Poulenc's harmonies and voice-leading, while pleasing to the ear, have their treacherous moments, and when the choir is still not confident of the piece, the whole things yaws over on its side and sinks  :(

 Yes I see what you mean,how many more rehearsals till the performance?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 05:26:25 PM
Yes I see what you mean, how many more rehearsals till the performance?

Not sure, since Ed hasn't told us when he plans to program them.  So it's still pretty much on the knees of the gods.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: val on November 20, 2007, 02:16:01 AM
What I really like in Poulenc is the chamber music, with the beautiful flute sonata and the oboe sonate, and the choral works, in special Figure Humaine, Motets pour un temps de Penitence, Litanies à la Verge Noire ...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mark on November 20, 2007, 02:32:30 AM
What I really like in Poulenc is the chamber music ...

Agree absolutely. I think Poulenc is best in these and his songs.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: 71 dB on November 20, 2007, 02:59:18 AM
Thanks to Mark I have been listening to two Poulenc chamber music discs on Naxos lately. I am a Poulenc newbie and I have yet to get the style of this composer but what I have heard is good.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: rubio on November 20, 2007, 03:01:42 AM
What I really like in Poulenc is the chamber music, with the beautiful flute sonata and the oboe sonate, and the choral works, in special Figure Humaine, Motets pour un temps de Penitence, Litanies à la Verge Noire ...

I love the sound of the oboe. Do you have any recommendations for a recording of some Poulenc chamber music?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Drasko on November 20, 2007, 03:30:18 AM
I love the sound of the oboe. Do you have any recommendations for a recording of some Poulenc chamber music?

Naxos is excellent (5 discs, start with vol.2, Spaendonck on clarinet is fabulous) or EMI Rouge et Noir double ( with Fevrier, Portal, Debost...), EMI is also licensed to Brilliant (four discs - two chamber + two solo piano with Tacchino).

Haven't heard Decca series with Roge.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mark on November 20, 2007, 03:35:15 AM
I just tried posting a few samples from my downloads at eMusic, but only members would be able to hear them. Ho hum. :-\

I'll just confirm what Drasko says about the superb Poulenc Complete Chamber Music series on Naxos - all five discs are gems. But I have a different favourite for the Clainet & Piano Sonata: Julian Bliss (clar) and Julien Quentin (pf) on EMI Debut. A very fine account in sonics superior to the Naxos recording. ;)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: not edward on November 20, 2007, 05:41:09 AM
Haven't heard Decca series with Roge.
I have the original release of one disc of it (sextet, trio, three wind sonatas). Overall it's probably a fraction better than the Naxos: in particular the sextet comes out particularly well with Roge. However, I do prefer the Naxos version of the clarinet sonata.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: val on November 21, 2007, 04:32:13 AM
Regarding the chamber music I have the DECCA recording with Pascal Rogé (piano), Gallois (flute), Bourgue (oboe), Portal (clarinet). It is very good, fresh and natural, with Rogé at his best.

Regarding the choral music I think that the best recording is the one of the Groupe Vocal de France conducted by John Alldis. The 4 Motets pour le temps de Noel are delightful.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on July 29, 2010, 07:16:39 PM
Thought I would bump this thread back up. It seems that Poulenc is seldom discussed and I don't really understand why this is. He wrote remarkable music. I particularly enjoy all the concerti and Les Biches is really good. I also enjoy the Stabat Mater and Gloria, which are two very underrated choral masterpieces in my opinon. His music seems the most approachable of Les Six.
 
Anyway, I just wanted to show some love for this great man's music.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Franco on July 30, 2010, 01:18:53 AM
Poulenc is one of my most favorite composers.  There is hardly a work of his that does not touch me and bring me great enjoyment.  The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is one I often listen to, as well as the chamber music in general.  The Roge set is a disc I go back to about every month.  I agree about the choral writing - Penelope is a work that I have yet to listen to completely and is probably the only major work that I was late in discovering.

Thanks for bumping him.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Sid on July 30, 2010, 06:33:54 PM
He started off as somewhat of an enfant terrible but ended up being firmly part of the establishment. I agree that Les Biches is great, it has this vigorous rhythmic bouyancy. Much of his music has this tounge in cheek character which is often refreshing, compared to the more serious utterances of the composers that had gone before. I would like to see his Organ Concerto done live, the colours he brings out of that instrument combined with the orchestra are amazing (& this coming from someone who usually prefers to hear the organ solo). I would really like to explore his choral music, especially the a capella works, since I have only heard the larger scale Gloria so far...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Wendell_E on July 31, 2010, 07:17:46 AM
I agree about the choral writing - Penelope is a work that I have yet to listen to completely and is probably the only major work that I was late in discovering.

I've never heard of a Penelope by Poulenc.  Are you thinking of the opera by Fauré?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on July 31, 2010, 09:36:01 AM
Poulenc is one of my most favorite composers.  There is hardly a work of his that does not touch me and bring me great enjoyment.  The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is one I often listen to, as well as the chamber music in general.  The Roge set is a disc I go back to about every month.  I agree about the choral writing - Penelope is a work that I have yet to listen to completely and is probably the only major work that I was late in discovering.

I would love to hear Penelope, but recordings choices are limited.  There is a Dutoit recording but my experience is that I find Dutoit recordings deathly dull.  I see another on the Gala label with Lloyd-Jones, but I have idea what to expect from it.  Anyone heard it?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Franco on July 31, 2010, 06:29:35 PM
I've never heard of a Penelope by Poulenc.  Are you thinking of the opera by Fauré?

Yes, you're right - I got them mixed up. 

Quote
I would love to hear Penelope, but recordings choices are limited.

This is the one I've got:
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/53/f9/7e3e828fd7a084075b54f010.L._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/Penelope-Gabriel-Faure/dp/B00007KVN8/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280633241&sr=1-8)

But I have not listened to it yet.



Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on July 31, 2010, 06:34:34 PM
Poulenc is one of my most favorite composers.  There is hardly a work of his that does not touch me and bring me great enjoyment.  The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is one I often listen to, as well as the chamber music in general.  The Roge set is a disc I go back to about every month.  I agree about the choral writing - Penelope is a work that I have yet to listen to completely and is probably the only major work that I was late in discovering.

Thanks for bumping him.

He brings a lot of enjoyment to me as well. Didn't he compose a work just titled Sinfonietta? I think it's in the Dutoit box set. Anyway, this work is really enjoyable even though it's seldom heard or discussed when talking about his music.
 
For me, I haven't heard anybody top Dutoit's performances yet. I own almost every major Poulenc orchestral/choral recording available.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on July 31, 2010, 06:36:52 PM
I agree that Les Biches is great, it has this vigorous rhythmic bouyancy.

Which is one reason why I enjoy the work so much. I like strong rhythms.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Luke on July 31, 2010, 09:34:15 PM

He brings a lot of enjoyment to me as well. Didn't he compose a work just titled Sinfonietta? I think it's in the Dutoit box set. Anyway, this work is really enjoyable even though it's seldom heard or discussed when talking about his music.

Yes it is, and yes it is - I love this piece, it's really Poulenc at his most Poulencish (even though there are adorable shades of Brahms, filtered through a Poulenc perspective, in the slow movement!).

But the Poulenc I return to again and again and again is the chamber music, above all those last, late sonatas. It's very hard to top these, really - they have Poulenc's typical potency, all those 'hooks', melodic, harmonic and rhythmic that expect with him, but they are so plangently expressive, so filled with something disturbing. Where was I reading somewhere recently Ned Rorem's view of French music (profoundly superficial) as compared to German (superficially profound)?* Absurdly generalising, hugely biased, perhaps - but a grain of truth in it: all the orchestral behemoths, exaggerated climaxes, extreme tempi, comple counterpoint and tortured chromaticism in the world can't create profundity if there's nothing really there. Poulenc needs none of these things in order to write music which is profoundly moving, in the late sonatas.

Interestingly, Martinu, subject of so much interesting chat at the moment, and really French in his aesthetic too, was explicitly opposed to exaggeration, dynamic forcing, over-emphasis - there's a fabulous long quotation of his, one of my very favourite bits of writing-on-music, which he wrote as a prgoramme note to go with the First Symphony, which I wish more composers....and more listeners....would take on board. I think it applies to Poulenc too, which is why I'm posting it here, but maybe I'll post it on the Martinu thread too; after all, I'd better make copying it out worth it!

Quote from: Martinu
The concept of elevated thought is certainly incontestable, the question really becoming what we consider elevate thought to be. What I maintain as my deepest conviction is the essential nobility of thoughts and things which are quite simple and which, not explained in high-sounding words and abstruse phrases, still hold an ethical and human significance. It is possible that my thoughts dwell upon objects or events of an almost everyday simplicity familiar to everyone and exclusively to certain great spirits. They may be so simple as to pass almost unnoticed but may still contain a deep meaning and afford great pleasure to humanity which, without them, would find life pale and flat. It could also be that these things permit us to go through life more easily, and, if one gives them due place, touch the highest plane of thought. One must also recognize the truth that a work so great and weighty as the Ninth Symphony of Beethoven could have been conceived only at a certain moment in history with the convergence of certain conditions, and could not have been written just by anyone and just at any time. A different point of view could falsify creative activity at the start, and could force the composer in a tragic and pathetic attitude, which would result in nothing else than a tour de force. It is possible a priori for intended tragedy and pathos to be not tragic at all, and every composer must be wary of false magnitude. Each composer and each creator of our epoch feels himself, to a certain extent, obligated to espouse sentiments of grandeur and tragedy. But this is no natural human feeling.

I have long pondered over the question, and should like here to note its consequences upon the course of music. The tendency, the desire to be greater than one is, can lead directly to an over-emphasis which, to say the least, is not essential music. Over-emphasis can certainly strain the limits of music and sound, and by sound I mean dynamics. One inevitably comes to the point where the actual instruments can no longer support the weight of an expression which exaggerates dynamism; they cannot support expression and still keep faith with certain aesthetic laws which we rightly prize. Even the natural capacity of our ears and nerves is strained. There is still another grave consequence which dynamics conceal: the tendency to mask a lack of real music and to replace it with noise. The result adds nothing to the true beauty of the art, for the sheer excitation of the nerves cannot be a just aesthetic goal. I am aware that this way of expression has its admirers, but I am not thereby convinced that this is the true realm of music, for my aim is something different. I know, too, that that is the way of many in our epoch, but neither can this justify for me the use of noise in music. Sheer orchestral power does not necessarily imply either grandeur or elevation.

If we look at the question from the point of view of technique, the consequences are characteristic. This dynamic urge necessarily displaces the balance of the basic funtion in the orchestra. The strings, which have traditionally furnished the basic element, can no longer do so, their fortissimo sonority being covered when the composer leans heavily upon the brass and percussion. In this way the whole conception of a work becomes 'brass', while we lose the charm, the amiability even the passion of the stringed instruments and their great variety of expression. We are aroused but not exactly happy, and that we must leave a concert in a state of fatigue is in itself not a favourable sign.


Sorry, that's alenghty quotation, but it's one that I didn't want to cut! And in a Poulenc thread too - I'd better post it on the Marinu thread now, also


*remembered - a typically great Scott Morrison review of a disc of Francaix at Amazon. Which I bought on the strength of the review...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2010, 12:56:05 AM
Having read what is here, I have ordered Vol 1 in the Naxos series of complete chamber music. If I get along withit, I will work my way gradually through the remainder.

Thanks,

Mike
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: not edward on August 01, 2010, 06:21:07 AM
Having read what is here, I have ordered Vol 1 in the Naxos series of complete chamber music. If I get along withit, I will work my way gradually through the remainder.

Thanks,

Mike
I think you're in for a treat.

Honestly, I'm 1000% with Luke over the chamber music; the oboe and clarinet sonatas in particular, so expressive with simple means, and often so very emotionally ambivalent: it's striking to me how superbly calculated the finale of the clarinet sonata is--the high jinks bring the painful sadness around them into even sharper relief. (The flute sonata, though very fine, I think lacks a little in the emotional ambivalence department.)

It might be the string player in me, but I think the violin and cello sonatas are terribly underrated too. At least the violin sonata seems to get some attention, but the neglect of the cello sonata is a great shame IMO.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Franco on August 01, 2010, 06:48:03 AM
The songs (Mélodies) are one genre of Poulenc's oeuvre that has not been mentioned so far. 

I have a few good sets, most notable is this one on EMI (http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Melodies-Ameling-S%C3%A9n%C3%A9chal-Baldwin/dp/B000002S31/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280677399&sr=1-5), but I have others (http://www.amazon.com/Voyage-Melodies-Francis-Poulenc-Johnson/dp/B000002ZHZ/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1280677399&sr=1-4) by a number of singers.  His songs are really quite wonderful and make up a signifianct proportion of his output.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Brian on August 01, 2010, 07:05:56 PM
Having read what is here, I have ordered Vol 1 in the Naxos series of complete chamber music. If I get along withit, I will work my way gradually through the remainder.

Thanks,

Mike

You're in for an utter delight. I bought the full box set new for $3 last summer, and the wind sonatas - flute, oboe, clarinet - are simply divine. Edward's spot on about emotional ambivalence; the flute sonata is more "catchy," it's the only one from which I can remember a tune, and that might be the key to its immediate appeal and also to its remove from the other two. In the cases of all three solo instruments, Poulenc has a divine understanding of exactly how to make them sound their very best. A composer's composer. :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: knight66 on August 01, 2010, 09:23:26 PM
Sometimes I wonder how I miss out on such good music for such a long time. I explore all the time, but.....where has this been for so many decades?

I listened to the samples and knew I would enjoy the disc, which I am eager to get hold of now, not merely 'interested' in.

Thanks for the advocacy folks.

Mike
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 01, 2010, 09:43:27 PM
I am lucky to have snatched up the four volumes of the EMI "Edition Centenaire" when they were available.  Now they're are OOP but used copies turn up, but sometimes unreasonably expensive.  EMI had some fairly definitive performances in their vault, and the volume of Chamber music was especially fine.   It is worth keeping an eye out for.  They looked like this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51sufW%2BamIL._SL160_AA115_.jpg)

A proper French orchestra (such as doesn't really exist anymore) can give Poulenc more sparkle.  I like this one

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XQ095S7WL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

which actually sounded better on antique Decca vinyl than on the Testament CD reissue.  Poor Desormiere was a dashing character, but had some sort of stroke right after making this recording, a very sad state of affairs.

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: vandermolen on August 02, 2010, 10:20:08 PM
Don't know much Poulenc but I think that he wrote the best Organ Concerto - a work I find both entertaining and, at the end, moving.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: just Jeff on August 02, 2010, 11:33:35 PM

He brings a lot of enjoyment to me as well. Didn't he compose a work just titled Sinfonietta? I think it's in the Dutoit box set. Anyway, this work is really enjoyable even though it's seldom heard or discussed when talking about his music.
 
For me, I haven't heard anybody top Dutoit's performances yet. I own almost every major Poulenc orchestral/choral recording available.

This set has what some call "strong recordings" of his works:

http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Orchestral-Works-Francis/dp/B000024TDP

would you agree Georges Prêtre's EMI recordings are some of the better?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2010, 06:43:08 AM
This set has what some call "strong recordings" of his works:

http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Orchestral-Works-Francis/dp/B000024TDP (http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Orchestral-Works-Francis/dp/B000024TDP)

would you agree Georges Prêtre's EMI recordings are some of the better?

Haven't heard any of Pretre's recordings of Poulenc. One reason I was attracted to Dutoit's set, besides his excellent conducting, was because of Pascal Roge whose one of my favorite classical pianists.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 06:50:23 AM

Haven't heard any of Pretre's recordings of Poulenc. One reason I was attracted to Dutoit's set, besides his excellent conducting, was because of Pascal Roge whose one of my favorite classical pianists.

Roge notwithstanding, I find Dutoit's recordings rather colorless compared with some of the older ones which were made when French Orchestras has their own unique sound, such as the Desormiere I referred to above, Prêtre, etc. 
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Franco on August 03, 2010, 06:52:00 AM
The Poulenc recordings by Georges Prêtre were the first I heard, and he remains my favorite interpreter.  That EMI set is a must have for Poulenc fans, IMO.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2010, 11:25:19 AM
Roge notwithstanding, I find Dutoit's recordings rather colorless compared with some of the older ones which were made when French Orchestras has their own unique sound, such as the Desormiere I referred to above, Prêtre, etc.

I understand that you're not a fan of Dutoit and you continue with the same responses of his conducting like "colorless." Your opinion of Dutoit is duly noted. I happen to enjoy his conducting and have enjoyed many of his recordings, especially of the French repertoire.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 11:40:20 AM
Very good songs, especially in his musical rendition of Apollinaire's poetry, but also Eluard's.
One of the best composers of sacred choral works in his century.
One of the best operas of that century -- his Dialogues des Carmelites
I much prefer his more serious music to the light, frolicking stuff.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 11:47:09 AM
I understand that you're not a fan of Dutoit and you continue with the same responses of his conducting like "colorless." Your opinion of Dutoit is duly noted. I happen to enjoy his conducting and have enjoyed many of his recordings, especially of the French repertoire.

I fail to see why you find yourself offended if someone expresses an opinion you don't agree with.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2010, 12:00:30 PM
I fail to see why you find yourself offended if someone expresses an opinion you don't agree with.

I'm not offended. I'm just stating that your opinion, which you have mentioned on several other threads about Dutoit, has been duly noted by myself. We all understand you're not a fan of Dutoit.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 12:19:53 PM

I'm not offended. I'm just stating that your opinion, which you have mentioned on several other threads about Dutoit, has been duly noted by myself. We all understand you're not a fan of Dutoit.

My objection to Dutoit is ultimately that he was a construct of Decca Records.  Ansermet died, Decca management decided they needed a "new Ansermet" and they decided on Dutoit.  They had him re-record virtually the entire Ansermet catalog because they were trying to build a brand, despite the fact that he was hardly the most outstanding example of the French school of music-making.   I assume they were attracted to him because he was like the young Solti in the 1950's, without an independent reputation and therefore completely at their beck and call.  How much more lively Decca's catalog of French music would have been if they had Prêtre or Martinon instead (well, I guess Martinon didn't live long enough to replace Ansermet in the Decca catalog.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 12:24:35 PM
A strange way of saying that Montrealers had no taste between 1977 and 2002. He certainly did put that orchestra on the map! And most of his repertoire consisted of French and Swiss composers.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 12:42:33 PM
A strange way of saying that Montrealers had no taste between 1977 and 2002. He certainly did put that orchestra on the map! And most of his repertoire consisted of French and Swiss composers.

I'm not sure why you think I have said anything that reflects poorly on patrons of the Montreal symphony.  Montreal has always had a perfectly good orchestra, and I am sure their patrons were happy that their orchestra benefited from a Decca recording contract.   I'm just saying that Decca wanted to build a "brand" by anointing a "new Ansermet."  They picked Dutoit and had him systematically re-record every record Ansermet ever made during his 20 years as Decca's signature "French" conductor.  That's why we've heard of Charles Dutoit.  There are a lot of very good orchestras in North America.  If Decca had decided to engage, say, the Louisville Orchestra to record 20 LP records per year for 15 years, then Jorge Mester would be as well known as Charles Dutoit is now.  Probably better, because I think Mester is a better conductor.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 01:21:56 PM
If the Dutoit recordings are colorless, how does that reflect on Montreal's taste in classical music for a quarter of a century? I mean, can there be such a world of difference between a Dutoit live performance and a Dutoit recording as to make one wonderful and the other colorless?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 01:32:49 PM
If the Dutoit recordings are colorless, how does that reflect on Montreal's taste in classical music for a quarter of a century? I mean, can there be such a world of difference between a Dutoit live performance and a Dutoit recording as to make one wonderful and the other colorless?

You seem to take great pleasure in attributing things to me that I neither said not intended.  I find Dutoit's recordings technically proficient, but uninteresting.  I've never heard him perform live, so I have no idea whether I would find his live performances more engaging than his recordings.  I don't have any reason to think I would, but I can't rule it out, obviously.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2010, 01:44:00 PM
My objection to Dutoit is ultimately that he was a construct of Decca Records.  Ansermet died, Decca management decided they needed a "new Ansermet" and they decided on Dutoit.  They had him re-record virtually the entire Ansermet catalog because they were trying to build a brand, despite the fact that he was hardly the most outstanding example of the French school of music-making.   I assume they were attracted to him because he was like the young Solti in the 1950's, without an independent reputation and therefore completely at their beck and call.  How much more lively Decca's catalog of French music would have been if they had Prêtre or Martinon instead (well, I guess Martinon didn't live long enough to replace Ansermet in the Decca catalog.

And this still doesn't change my opinion that I think Dutoit is a great conductor whether he was billed as the next "Ansermet" or not, I don't give a damn. I like him.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 01:44:54 PM
And I simply find your overall assessment of Dutoit's recording too sweeping ... not specifically evaluative.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 01:51:43 PM
And I simply find your overall assessment of Dutoit's recording too sweeping ... not specifically evaluative.

You want evaluative.  Listen to Dutoit's recording of Supee overtures.  Then compare it with Solti's recording, not necessarily his recording with the VPO, but the earlier mono recording with the London Philharmonic.   Dutoit has no rhythmic drive, no vehemence of attack, no feeling of urgency.  Everything prim and proper and without heat or sentimentality.

Another Dutoit recording that left me utterly unsatisfied was the set of Haydn's Paris symphonies.  This was with the Montreal Sinfonietta.  Again, everything in it's place, played with great gentility, no drive, no rhythmic incisiveness, no urgency, no sense of humor.    How can I listen to this when I have Dorati or Harnoncourt on the shelf?

 Another recording I had was his recording of Respighi, La Boutique fantasque.  Again, you just feel your life dripping away as these as these recordings play.  I want to jump up and put something on that has some passion!

And, my god, those recordings where he accompanies Argerich.  The man must be a genius if he can make a Martha Argerich recording boring!

But, there are a few good ones.  His "Pines of Rome" is top notch.  I suspect he called in sick that day and the recording engineer conducted it.   :P

Now, I assume there are people that admire the elegance and poise of these recordings.  Not me.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Franco on August 03, 2010, 01:56:52 PM
And I simply find your overall assessment of Dutoit's recording too sweeping ... not specifically evaluative.

I'd suggest to just let it go; it is just one person's opinion after all.

Concerning Dutoit, I enjoy his recording of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande, his collaboration with Pascal Roge on the Saint-Saens piano concertos, as well as his Daphnis et Chloé.  I think he is a sensitive conductor with the French repertory I've heard, but I don't have him doing any Poulenc.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 02:09:07 PM
Nevertheless interesting that none of these specific examples explicitly pertain to a French composer. Only implicitly, in the case of Dutoit's wife, M. Argerich, can one suppose that it refers to Ravel's concertos.

In other words, still too sweeping.....
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: just Jeff on August 03, 2010, 03:58:18 PM
I own almost every major Poulenc orchestral/choral recording available.

Haven't heard any of Pretre's recordings of Poulenc.


Well, then you'll have to let us know what you think of Pretre's recordings when you can.  They are exceptionally high rated.  The earliest ones are 1968, so sound quality is just fine.  I have the original French EMI LPs.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 03, 2010, 04:01:05 PM
Multiple personality disorder?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 03, 2010, 04:21:41 PM
Well, then you'll have to let us know what you think of Pretre's recordings when you can.  They are exceptionally high rated.  The earliest ones are 1968, so sound quality is just fine.  I have the original French EMI LPs.

I don't own the Pretre recordings, but then again I never intended on buying them. I'm happy with the Dutoit set. Poulenc is a composer I seldom listen to, but when I do I know I can count on the Dutoit set to provide me with consistent, high quality performances in excellent audio.
 
 
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 05:54:46 PM
I believe I have earlier Pretre recordings of Poulenc's music than 1968.
I am reading from an Angel 35953 record of his Gloria in G Major, "world premiere recording under the supervision of the composer," that the recording was made on February 15, 1961. The flip side of the LP is Poulenc's Concerto in G Minor for organ, strings, and timpani, with Maurice Durufle at the organ. French National Radio-Television Orchestra conducted by George Pretre.

A preceding Angel record, numbered 35932, includes Poulenc's Les Biches, Dutilleux's Le Loup, and Milhaud's La Creation du Monde, Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire conducted by Pretre. No date but obviously in or before 1961.

Another recording of Poulenc's "The Model Animals," with Aldo Ciccolini and Alexis Weissenberg pianists, and Pretre conducting the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, has a Library of Congress Catalog Nunber of R 67-2771 on Angel EMI. Also cataloged as R 67-2988 iand awarded "the coveted 1966 Grand Prix by France's Academie Charles Cros, is Poulenc's Aubade for piano and eighteen instruments and his concerto for piano and orchestra, with Gabriel Tacchino, piano, Thge Paris Conservatoire Orchestra conducted by Pretre. Angel EMI

Once again, it is virtually impossible to type anything more once I reach the bottom of this stupid box.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Benny on August 03, 2010, 06:02:15 PM
I own what I think is a fairly rare RCA Victor album of Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, Opera in One Act, featuring soprano Denise Duval (and that's it, only her!), recorded in France by Ricordi, Orchestra Theatre National de l'Opera Comique, conducted by Pretre. The date of the first performance was 6 February 1959, so the recording is probably from 1959. RCA Victor LS/LSS 2385. This work is a tour de force.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: listener on August 03, 2010, 07:49:49 PM
I own what I think is a fairly rare RCA Victor album of Poulenc's La Voix Humaine, Opera in One Act, featuring soprano Denise Duval (and that's it, only her!), recorded in France by Ricordi, Orchestra Theatre National de l'Opera Comique, conducted by Pretre. The date of the first performance was 6 February 1959, so the recording is probably from 1959. RCA Victor LS/LSS 2385. This work is a tour de force.

Issued by EMI on CD as 769 696 - mono     Prêtre conducting, no text with the disc.  1959 recording.
Coupled with Cocteau's monodrame Le Bel Indifférent   (no music)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: just Jeff on August 03, 2010, 08:11:49 PM
I believe I have earlier Pretre recordings of Poulenc's music than 1968.
I am reading from an Angel 35953 record of his Gloria in G Major, "world premiere recording under the supervision of the composer," that the recording was made on February 15, 1961. The flip side of the LP is Poulenc's Concerto in G Minor for organ, strings, and timpani, with Maurice Durufle at the organ. French National Radio-Television Orchestra conducted by George Pretre.

A preceding Angel record, numbered 35932, includes Poulenc's Les Biches, Dutilleux's Le Loup, and Milhaud's La Creation du Monde, Orchestre de la Societe des Concerts du Conservatoire conducted by Pretre. No date but obviously in or before 1961.

Another recording of Poulenc's "The Model Animals," with Aldo Ciccolini and Alexis Weissenberg pianists, and Pretre conducting the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra, has a Library of Congress Catalog Nunber of R 67-2771 on Angel EMI. Also cataloged as R 67-2988 iand awarded "the coveted 1966 Grand Prix by France's Academie Charles Cros, is Poulenc's Aubade for piano and eighteen instruments and his concerto for piano and orchestra, with Gabriel Tacchino, piano, Thge Paris Conservatoire Orchestra conducted by Pretre. Angel EMI

Once again, it is virtually impossible to type anything more once I reach the bottom of this stupid box.

The 1968 recordings are only the earliest included in that EMI 2CD set mentioned somewhere in this thread above.

Are these Angel EMI LPs mentioned US pressings?  Because if they are, then they are Capitol mastering/pressing, and are a pale version of the French recordings as they sound on French or UK pressed EMI LPs.  I'm a stickler for this kind of stuff when I have a chioce.

I only have the 1968 Pretre LP on EMI vinyl from France which is a part of that double CD set.  It appears they took 3 LPs (all 68 and later) and compiled them into a knockout 2CD set.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: George on August 04, 2010, 02:36:41 AM
Poulenc is great fun. I highly recommend the aforementioned Naxos chamber series. The solo piano works by Taccchino on EMI are superb! We are fortunate that Poulenc recorded some of his and Satie's works as well. I have a nice Sony CD that compiles some (or all?) of these recordings. 
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Luke on August 04, 2010, 04:14:59 AM
Poulenc is great fun. I highly recommend the aforementioned Naxos chamber series. The solo piano works by Taccchino on EMI are superb! We are fortunate that Poulenc recorded some of his and Satie's works as well. I have a nice Sony CD that compiles some (or all?) of these recordings.

Sounds like those Poulenc plays... recordings are available in many issues, then, because I have them twice over, neither on Sony!

The Tacchino is available on Brilliant, as the first two CDs of the four CDs set that also includes the complete chamber music in unbeatable performances  - Menuhin, Gendron, Fevrier, Debost, Portal, Civil.... For the bargain Brilliant price and the superb performances, I'd have thought this one of the most essential Poulenc issues of all.

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: George on August 04, 2010, 11:40:14 AM
The Tacchino is available on Brilliant, as the first two CDs of the four CDs set that also includes the complete chamber music in unbeatable performances  - Menuhin, Gendron, Fevrier, Debost, Portal, Civil.... For the bargain Brilliant price and the superb performances, I'd have thought this one of the most essential Poulenc issues of all.

Wow! That does sound good.  :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 04, 2010, 11:43:10 AM
The 1968 recordings are only the earliest included in that EMI 2CD set mentioned somewhere in this thread above.

I have that set and it seems there are recordings going back to 1962 (the earlier the better, as far as I am concerned).
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Drasko on August 04, 2010, 12:18:35 PM
We are fortunate that Poulenc recorded some of his and Satie's works as well. I have a nice Sony CD that compiles some (or all?) of these recordings.
Sounds like those Poulenc plays... recordings are available in many issues, then, because I have them twice over, neither on Sony!

There is a Pearl CD titled Poulenc d'après Poulenc which seems like possibly best selection around, I never got around buying it, really should. Then there is of course Concerto for two pianos with Fevrier on EMI, and I think different performance on DVD. I recall CD with some brownish cover and Satie silhouette - Poulenc playing Satie/Poulenc (is that Sony?). There is also disc (or more) with Poulenc accompanying Bernac in songs, and I recently got some Italian CD with live material from RAI archives - few solo pieces, Aubade with some Italian orchestra and recital with Pierre Fournier (Schumann, Debussy, Stravinsky, Poulenc). Is there anything else? 
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: George on August 04, 2010, 12:22:47 PM
There is a Pearl CD titled Poulenc d'après Poulenc which seems like possibly best selection around, I never got around buying it, really should.

Me too.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 07, 2010, 06:45:04 PM
Got this recording for the Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky (which left me utterly cold) but enjoyed it for the Poulenc Gloria.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413C2MBNJVL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Despite being an admirer of Poulenc for a long time, I have never listened to any of his religious music until now.  Really wonderful stuff.  Not a bit of ponderous profundity to it.  Just wonderful, joyful music.   A piece where apparent simplicity comes from sophisticated technique.  There are a few points in this piece where I'd love to examine the score and figure out what he is doing.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: just Jeff on August 16, 2010, 06:16:35 PM
Lovely cover on this one I would say....

It's the original French EMI damn it!

 ;D

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/LP%20covers_labels/poulencfrenchemift.jpg)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Scarpia on August 16, 2010, 07:14:41 PM
Lovely cover on this one I would say....

It's the original French EMI damn it!

 ;D

(http://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af80/hiptone/LP%20covers_labels/poulencfrenchemift.jpg)

Attack of the 100 foot bimbo?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on August 18, 2010, 11:46:40 AM
Poulenc's the easiest Chamber Composer ever. Hyperion 2cd, yea, that one, the Complete Works, BAM!,...done! POW! ZAP!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kentel on August 24, 2010, 05:56:02 AM
The Sextet for Piano & Wind Instruments is a gem, perhaps not a world historic masterpiece, but one of these great second-fiddle works, like Ludwig Spohr's Octet in E Major, that one goes back to frequently & with enduring pleasure.

I fully agree : each piece of this 2cd box is great, and I also rate the Sextet very high. For me one of the best piece ever written by Poulenc with Les Animaux Modèles and the Sinfonietta. And maybe the Concert Champêtre too.

This EMI box has a brother ;

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/616%2BFOitJzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

With these 2 boxes, I think we have the essential Poulenc with superlative interpretations.

I don't like very much Poulenc's piano works nor his songs (mélodies), as they sound rather old-fashionned and designed for the parisian salons he thrived in during the 30's. There is this very typical mondaine touch, that I personaly find detestable. Boulez said once that Poulenc composed "sucreries" (sweets), and I think this is especially true for this part of his work. His "Rhapsodie Nègre" being the most caricatural of all.

--Gilles







Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: George on August 24, 2010, 09:45:48 AM

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/616%2BFOitJzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


My copy came  the other day, I plan to spin it during my vacation next week! :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kentel on August 24, 2010, 12:20:23 PM
My copy came  the other day, I plan to spin it during my vacation next week! :)

I would dream to be in the situation of discovering this box and the other one again. The orchestral box contains everything. As I wrote, the Sinfonietta, the Concert Champêtre and Les Animaux Modèles are masterpieces; Claude Rostand, a french critic rather famous during the 60's said that Poulenc had "invented a personal folklore" and I find this assertion rather accurate.

There is also a set of little pieces (La Baigneuse de Trouville, Discours du Général, Pastourelle, Matelote Provençale, Bucolique, etc.) which are fine but not as exciting as the above mentioned ones. The other big piece, Les Biches, is not the best thing Poulenc has ever written either, at least in my opinion.

--Gilles
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on April 10, 2011, 05:39:01 PM
Thought I would revive this thread as Poulenc has been on my mind and whose music I have enjoyed off and on for a few years now. A few things that attracted me initially to Poulenc's music was its wit and humor. I really appreciated the fact that his music could be lighthearted and carefree. I think these things sometimes work against him in trying to establish hiim as a "serious" composer (whatever this means). Some people don't know how to quite take the music. Poulenc's music does, however, have it's moments of seriousness and deep beauty like his Stabat Mater or the slow movement in his Concerto for Two Pianos.

Lately though I have been getting more into his chamber music and listened to a good bit of via YouTube and was enchanted with most of what I sampled. I had been eyeballing the recordings of his chamber music on Naxos and wasn't aware that all five volumes of this series was in housed together in a box set. I've heard nothing but great things about the Naxos set, so, needless to say, I snatched this set up:

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Guido on April 11, 2011, 12:26:08 AM
Thought I would revive this thread as Poulenc has been on my mind and whose music I have enjoyed off and on for a few years now. A few things that attracted me initially to Poulenc's music was its wit and humor. I really appreciated the fact that his music could be lighthearted and carefree. I think these things sometimes work against him in trying to establish hiim as a "serious" composer (whatever this means). Some people don't know how to quite take the music. Poulenc's music does, however, have it's moments of seriousness and deep beauty like his Stabat Mater or the slow movement in his Concerto for Two Pianos.

Lately though I have been getting more into his chamber music and listened to a good bit of via YouTube and was enchanted with most of what I sampled. I had been eyeballing the recordings of his chamber music on Naxos and wasn't aware that all five volumes of this series was in housed together in a box set. I've heard nothing but great things about the Naxos set, so, needless to say, I snatched this set up:



Such a bad album cover!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 17, 2011, 12:16:53 PM
Really? The first Poulenc post in 4 years??? Oops, was looking at the wrong post...onward!

Anyway, I have really fallen in love with Poulenc's choral pieces, primarily his Motets, Mass in G major, but I need a good recording of Figure humaine to complete my collection, I see several very desirable recordings, but the prices are extremely varied. I've had great luck with Harry Christophers & The Sixteen with their Britten performances, and they have this disc...

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/9e/cc/b20a4310fca066e5ea589010.L.jpg)

...but I can't seem to find any reviews or comments about it. It's fairly cheap on Amazon MP which is why I'm asking if anyone has any feedback on this. Or feedback on any recording of Figure humaine for that matter.

Thanks in advance, my friends.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 18, 2011, 09:36:54 AM
Such a bad album cover!

Yes, but glorious music inside!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Drasko on August 18, 2011, 11:38:16 AM
Really? The first Poulenc post in 4 years??? Oops, was looking at the wrong post...onward!

Anyway, I have really fallen in love with Poulenc's choral pieces, primarily his Motets, Mass in G major, but I need a good recording of Figure humaine to complete my collection, I see several very desirable recordings, but the prices are extremely varied. I've had great luck with Harry Christophers & The Sixteen with their Britten performances, and they have this disc...
...but I can't seem to find any reviews or comments about it. It's fairly cheap on Amazon MP which is why I'm asking if anyone has any feedback on this. Or feedback on any recording of Figure humaine for that matter.

Thanks in advance, my friends.

Th Sixteen recording of Figure Humaine was regarded as reference recording, at least by British press. I'm sure you could find a rave review in Gramophone archive (http://www.gramophone.net/). Current reviewers favorite seems to be Tenebrae on Signum.

Not sure if I can be of much help. None of the recordings by anglophone choirs worked for me, no matter how brilliantly sung, vowels always somehow get to bother me. My preference is Accentus on Naive, the recording is often criticized for some distortion in high passages, but that on the other hand doesn't seem to bother me.

Two recordings that I think I might enjoy, but never heard, would be Netherlands Chamber Choir under Eric Ericson on Globe (I have and like very much their Poulenc sacred choral music disc) and RIAS Kammerchor on HM, a choir which I find generally never less than very good.   

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 18, 2011, 06:27:01 PM
Th Sixteen recording of Figure Humaine was regarded as reference recording, at least by British press. I'm sure you could find a rave review in Gramophone archive (http://www.gramophone.net/). Current reviewers favorite seems to be Tenebrae on Signum.

Not sure if I can be of much help. None of the recordings by anglophone choirs worked for me, no matter how brilliantly sung, vowels always somehow get to bother me. My preference is Accentus on Naive, the recording is often criticized for some distortion in high passages, but that on the other hand doesn't seem to bother me.

Two recordings that I think I might enjoy, but never heard, would be Netherlands Chamber Choir under Eric Ericson on Globe (I have and like very much their Poulenc sacred choral music disc) and RIAS Kammerchor on HM, a choir which I find generally never less than very good.

Great, thank you, Drasko! I was getting afraid my post wasn't going to get a response.
Just found the reviews of The Sixteen and Accentus recordings on Gramophone. Both received positive reviews, and I have read some comments on Accentus's distortion issues, but if it's a good performance then I'm all ears  :D
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Sandra on August 21, 2011, 09:38:21 PM
I love Poulenc's choral works!

There's an amazing, high quality, complete recording available on YouTube. Watching it totally made my Sunday evening!

http://youtu.be/Z44NHxRLZM8 (http://youtu.be/Z44NHxRLZM8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 22, 2011, 03:36:34 AM
I love Poulenc's choral works!

There's an amazing, high quality, complete recording available on YouTube. Watching it totally made my Sunday evening!

http://youtu.be/Z44NHxRLZM8 (http://youtu.be/Z44NHxRLZM8)

Love it! Thanks for the post, Sandra.

Poulenc is a one of a kind, anyone who can compose Sonata for Clarinet & piano, Concerto for Organ, strings & timpani, and Mass in G major in the same lifetime has my ears.
Here is my current favorite Poulenc disc...

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2011, 07:58:28 AM
Poulenc is a one of a kind, anyone who can compose Sonata for Clarinet & piano, Concerto for Organ, strings & timpani, and Mass in G major in the same lifetime has my ears.

Poulenc is still neglected amongst classical listeners. I hardly ever see him programmed in concerts or at least by my local orchestra: the Atlanta Symphony. A few of my favorite Poulenc works are Oboe Sonata, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Concerto for Two Pianos, and Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Percussion. Even though I've known and listened to Poulenc's music for years, I'm still in the process of discovering it.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: AllegroVivace on August 23, 2011, 01:45:34 PM
Even when he was alive, he was never very popular. I'm a afraid it had something to do with his charisma. I read lots of composer biographies and Poulenc didn't come across as an interesting man. He was a great musician and a genius composer but he didn't have the kind of idiosyncrasies that such great individuals usually have. Perhaps because of this he lost some important connections that might have secured a wider recognition for him.

One thing I feel isn't discussed often is Poulenc's creative approach to orchestration - especially in works involving choirs as well (Stabat Mater, Gloria). The balance is very delicate and smooth.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2011, 01:47:47 PM
Even when he was alive, he was never very popular. I'm a afraid it had something to do with his charisma. I read lots of composer biographies and Poulenc didn't come across as an interesting man. He was a great musician and a genius composer but he didn't have the kind of idiosyncrasies that such great individuals usually have. Perhaps because of this he lost some important connections that might have secured a wider recognition for him.

One thing I feel isn't discussed often is Poulenc's creative approach to orchestration - especially in works involving choirs as well (Stabat Mater, Gloria). The balance is very delicate and smooth.

He learned orchestration from none other than Charles Koechlin. So he learned the right way. ;)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 23, 2011, 03:20:37 PM
...by my local orchestra: the Atlanta Symphony.

I see we will be neighbors soon.  :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2011, 03:21:53 PM
I see we will be neighbors soon.  :)

You're moving to Atlanta?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 23, 2011, 03:25:06 PM
You're moving to Atlanta?

As soon as my home in Richmond, VA sells...which might be never the way things are going. But I'm excited for the move, I really like Atlanta.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2011, 03:27:13 PM
As soon as my home in Richmond, VA sells...which might be never the way things are going. But I'm excited for the move, I really like Atlanta.

I'm not a fan of large cities, which why I don't live in Atlanta, but 40 miles away from it. :) The traffic in Atlanta is horrendous.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 23, 2011, 04:16:39 PM
I'm not a fan of large cities, which why I don't live in Atlanta, but 40 miles away from it. :) The traffic in Atlanta is horrendous.

I like being near large cities, mainly for the culture and arts it provides, but we plan on living outside of the city, preferably south. We like quiet living.  :)
The Richmond Symphony is a good symphony for what it offers, which is one concert series a month with decent programs. But I miss being near a major orchestra, I grew up in New Jersey, and through high school and college I would take the train to see the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Phil. often, so I became spoiled early on.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2011, 05:08:00 PM
I like being near large cities, mainly for the culture and arts it provides, but we plan on living outside of the city, preferably south. We like quiet living.  :)
The Richmond Symphony is a good symphony for what it offers, which is one concert series a month with decent programs. But I miss being near a major orchestra, I grew up in New Jersey, and through high school and college I would take the train to see the Philadelphia Orchestra and the New York Phil. often, so I became spoiled early on.

One doesn't need a large city to view art my friend. Take a walk on a nature trail. Go visit an aquarium. Art is all around us. Atlanta isn't exactly a place I think cultivates art. Anyway, that's another topic for another day...BACK TO POULENC!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on August 24, 2011, 04:15:59 AM
One doesn't need a large city to view art my friend. Take a walk on a nature trail. Go visit an aquarium. Art is all around us. Atlanta isn't exactly a place I think cultivates art. Anyway, that's another topic for another day...BACK TO POULENC!

Speaking of me wanting to live south of the city...this conversantion just went south.  :P ;D

But you're right, MI...BACK TO POULENC!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on September 09, 2012, 01:17:35 AM
Goodness me. No-one's mentioned Poulenc for a year?

I've just been reacquainting myself with the disc I have of piano music for the first time in... ahem, nearly 3 years.  And there's some wonderful stuff.  I've just found myself being particularly taken with the Intermezzo in A flat major.

It's Pascal Roge.  Fairly sure that the 5-disc version of Roge's performances (including 2-piano music and chamber music) is going to win out in my current laborious decision-making process for buying some box sets.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on September 09, 2012, 06:36:06 AM
Goodness me. No-one's mentioned Poulenc for a year?

I've just been reacquainting myself with the disc I have of piano music for the first time in... ahem, nearly 3 years.  And there's some wonderful stuff.  I've just found myself being particularly taken with the Intermezzo in A flat major.

It's Pascal Roge.  Fairly sure that the 5-disc version of Roge's performances (including 2-piano music and chamber music) is going to win out in my current laborious decision-making process for buying some box sets.

I just discovered the Sinfonietta, very nice neoclassicism.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 09, 2012, 06:40:49 AM
Speaking of Sinfonietta, this is a superb recording by Ronald Corp and The New London Orchestra, also featuring Aubade, one of my favorite from Poulenc...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61TFwPFbNjL._SL530_AA330_.jpg)

...has become one of my most listened to Poulenc discs.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on September 10, 2012, 08:41:28 PM
Speaking of Sinfonietta, this is a superb recording by Ronald Corp and The New London Orchestra, also featuring Aubade, one of my favorite from Poulenc...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61TFwPFbNjL._SL530_AA330_.jpg)

...has become one of my most listened to Poulenc discs.

Do own the Dutoit set of Poulenc, Greg? This is an essential acquisition for the Poulenc fan IMHO.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 11, 2012, 01:59:05 AM
Do own the Dutoit set of Poulenc, Greg? This is an essential acquisition for the Poulenc fan IMHO.

I do. And I agree. 

Add the Naxos chamber music series and one could easily own all of Poulenc's major instrumental works.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 03:07:48 AM
I do. And I agree. 

Add the Naxos chamber music series and one could easily own all of Poulenc's major instrumental works.

Yes, I own that Naxos chamber box as well. :) Fine music.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on September 11, 2012, 03:36:53 AM
Ack. Everyone stop telling me how wonderful the Naxos chamber music is when I'm about to buy the Roge piano/chamber box set!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 11, 2012, 04:01:57 AM
Ack. Everyone stop telling me how wonderful the Naxos chamber music is when I'm about to buy the Roge piano/chamber box set!

Just depends if you want more piano or chamber music. I think the Roge only has one chamber disc.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 04:12:38 AM
Ack. Everyone stop telling me how wonderful the Naxos chamber music is when I'm about to buy the Roge piano/chamber box set!

Don't own the Roge, but Naxos' Poulenc chamber series is an essential acquisition IMHO for all Poulenc fans.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on September 11, 2012, 04:13:56 AM
Just depends if you want more piano or chamber music. I think the Roge only has one chamber disc.

Closer to two.  One of the discs has 2-piano music plus a couple of chamber, then last disc is all chamber.

Works common to both sets: Sextet, oboe sonata, trio for oboe/bassoon/piano, flute sonata, violin sonata, clarinet sonata, sonata for 2 pianos, sonata for piano 4 hands, Capriccio (d'après Le Bal masqué) for 2 pianos, L'Embarquement pour Cythère for 2 pianos, Elegie for 2 pianos, elegy for horn.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 11, 2012, 04:16:35 AM
Closer to two.  One of the discs has 2-piano music plus a couple of chamber, then last disc is all chamber.

Works common to both sets: Sextet, oboe sonata, trio for oboe/bassoon/piano, flute sonata, violin sonata, clarinet sonata, sonata for 2 pianos, sonata for piano 4 hands, Capriccio (d'après Le Bal masqué) for 2 pianos, L'Embarquement pour Cythère for 2 pianos, Elegie for 2 pianos, elegy for horn.

Majority of his best chamber work is listed there.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Brewski on September 11, 2012, 12:44:33 PM
Ack. Everyone stop telling me how wonderful the Naxos chamber music is when I'm about to buy the Roge piano/chamber box set!

Rogé is marvelous - don't hesitate. (I have not heard any in the Naxos series.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: lescamil on September 11, 2012, 10:38:58 PM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_250/MI0001/033/MI0001033797.jpg)

(http://www.rolandpontinen.com/pics/duoderwingerpontinen.jpg)

http://www.amazon.com/Poulenc-Complete-Works-2-Pianos/dp/B0000016J9/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1347370977&sr=8-3

Don't let the pale expression of these two pianists on the cover fool you. These performances are anything but pale and lifeless. This CD contains perhaps the best and most exciting recording of the concerto for two pianos, and the other works for two pianos are played incredibly well, also. I find myself going back to this disk quite often, as far as Poulenc's music goes.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: The new erato on September 12, 2012, 09:41:36 PM
Under New releases on mdt:

(http://media.mdt.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/9/7/9721652.jpg)

20 CDs. They call it "Complete works".
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: North Star on September 12, 2012, 11:24:08 PM
Under New releases on mdt:

(http://media.mdt.co.uk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/9/7/9721652.jpg)

20 CDs. They call it "Complete works".
Also in Amazon UK (22 Oct 2012):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Poulenc-Oeuvres-complètes-Complete-France/dp/B0091JQH76/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347524529&sr=8-1
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 13, 2012, 04:15:11 AM
It looks like a good box for someone new to Poulenc, or who doesn't have many of these recordings already.  I love Poulenc and have all of his music in various recordings, so it is not for me.  I wonder when it will show up in the US.

This (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006ZV6V06/ref=dm_dp_cdp?ie=UTF8&qid=1347541131&s=music&sr=1-8), though, might tempt me:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mBLmuBFnL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Here (http://www.conchord.co.uk/biography/) is some info on the London Conchord Ensemble

Looks like an interesting 2fer. Thanks for the post.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on September 13, 2012, 05:26:10 AM
I found it on MOG and am listening right now.  So far, it sounds like a good set.

I have the Naxos chamber set and the Ensemble-Wein Berlin with James Levine on DG single disc of chamber (which I absolutely love) but am so enamored by Poulenc's chamber output that I'm always open for more interpretations.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Hattoff on September 13, 2012, 10:01:14 PM
I will get the new EMI comlete edition when the price comes down but it hardly seems possible that the complete works can be recorded on only 20 CDs. I estimate that there should be at least another ten CDS. What's missing?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on April 06, 2013, 06:59:02 AM
Piano Concerto

Concerto for 2 Pianos

Poulenc isn't as 'smooth' as I thought: he has a few jagged edges, and always seems to be upsetting the apple cart, throwing little things in willy-nilly. But of course, there are moments of pure, beautiful lyricism too.

The PC starts off with what I must imagine is some Mozartean melody. Is that right, or is it someone else? Then there is that wonderful falling melody in the C2P. I don't think you will find these kinds of melodies in the other Frenchmen: they seem wholly French, but also wholly Poulenc (or Satie?).

Gamelan textures also inform the C2P, lending a very genial atmosphere.

Poulenc seems to want to start his musics off with quite a whack, only to settle into a more cosmopolitan rhythm. Has anyone noticed this?

I also wish this set (Double Decca) had the Aubade, but,...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on April 06, 2013, 07:31:28 AM
If you like Poulenc as much as I do, you may want to look into these two box sets:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0091JQH76.01.L.jpg) (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000OPPSWQ.01.L.jpg)

I find that Poulenc's music is a refreshing blend of playfulness, whimsy, humor, but with a deep emotional core that makes these afore mentioned qualities seem almost surreal. Love the Concerto for Two Pianos by the way. Gorgeous work.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on June 27, 2013, 06:19:41 PM
If you like Poulenc as much as I do, you may want to look into these two box sets:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0091JQH76.01.L.jpg) (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000OPPSWQ.01.L.jpg)

I find that Poulenc's music is a refreshing blend of playfulness, whimsy, humor, but with a deep emotional core that makes these afore mentioned qualities seem almost surreal. Love the Concerto for Two Pianos by the way. Gorgeous work.

I find myself wanting...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on September 08, 2013, 07:21:01 PM
I'm listening to the Sonata for 2 pianos right now.

It's amazing to me how much more depth there seems to be in Poulenc's later works compared to earlier ones, at least in the piano compositions (It's Pascal Roge's box set that I'm listening to). I think Poulenc himself said something against his earlier piano miniatures.

The early works are very nice and have lots of wit and sparkle, but to me there's a lot more power in the later ones.

I'm looking forward to hearing the chamber music in this box, as it's mostly later works - the violin, flute, oboe and clarinet sonatas and the Elegie horn and piano are all in there.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: lescamil on September 08, 2013, 08:54:37 PM
I recently played the Poulenc Sonata for Two Pianos, and it has some of his most interesting music, in my opinion. The evocation of gamelan that one can faintly detect in the Concerto for Two Pianos is taken a step further. The dissonances heighten the sense that we are listening to something that is truly non-Western. It has an exotic quality to it that reminds me a bit of Szymanowski, particularly in his more impressionistic-aimed works, like the Métopes or Symphony No. 3. You still get that carefree Les Six sound, but it is tempered by all of the previously mentioned qualities.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: mjwal on September 09, 2013, 09:05:04 AM
MI has suggested to very good box sets.  Poulenc is one of the most underrated composers, IMO.  I tend to listen to his chamber music more but a work like Aubade for piano and chamber orchestra is fantastic, as is Les Biches, the music from the ballet.  His woodwind sonatas are some of the best, and I often listen to his clarinet works coupled with the late Brahms clarinet works for a nice contrast. 

His sacred music is another area where his genius shines through.  His faith was an important aspect of his persona and his Gloria as well as the other works are necessary to get a full picture of this composer.

He was an accomplished pianist and you can find recordings with him playing his own music, e.g. I remember an album of his songs with him as pianist. -

- As to his own recordings, there are several CDs of mélodies with the inimitable Pierre Bernac and a great RAI recording made in 1953 with Pierre Fournier and others playing his own compositions (including the Aubade and Cello Sonata)and some by Schumann, Debussy and Stravinsky.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on September 24, 2013, 07:02:52 AM
To my enthusiasm for the Sonata for 2 Pianos, I'm going to now add some enthusiasm for the Violin Sonata.

The more I listen to Poulenc, the more I get the impression of a composer who really hit his stride in the second half of his career.  Which makes me excited because the works I've yet to listen to in this Roge box include the flute, oboe and clarinet sonatas.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: North Star on September 24, 2013, 07:19:32 AM
To my enthusiasm for the Sonata for 2 Pianos, I'm going to now add some enthusiasm for the Violin Sonata.

The more I listen to Poulenc, the more I get the impression of a composer who really hit his stride in the second half of his career.  Which makes me excited because the works I've yet to listen to in this Roge box include the flute, oboe and clarinet sonatas.
Do you know those three from before? Some fantastic pieces! My favourites from the chamber works - along with the Cello Sonata - by a rather large margin.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on September 24, 2013, 03:46:39 PM
Do you know those three from before? Some fantastic pieces! My favourites from the chamber works - along with the Cello Sonata - by a rather large margin.

No, I've never heard any of them before, unless you count about 10 seconds per track when I first got the CDs to check that everything was in working order.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: North Star on September 24, 2013, 11:18:28 PM
No, I've never heard any of them before, unless you count about 10 seconds per track when I first got the CDs to check that everything was in working order.
Oh great, you're in for a treat!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on September 30, 2013, 08:57:59 AM
What are your thoughts about a Poulenc String Quartet? I thought it would be four short movements, a Mozart SQ reduced to ten minutes, with a minute-scherzo and a haunting Nocturne flanked by two rather humorous and heroic outer movements.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on November 25, 2013, 02:36:49 AM
I am loving Poulenc the chamber music composer.  The trio for oboe, bassoon and piano is a total delight. Amongst his earlier works, this is currently a standout.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on November 25, 2013, 12:31:06 PM
In Poulenc's chamber oeuvre, nothing beats the cello and clarinet sonatas IMO. They're sublime works shot through a vein of nostalgia and filled with Poulenc's fresh lyricism.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on November 25, 2013, 12:31:59 PM
In Poulenc's chamber oeuvre, nothing beats the cello and clarinet sonatas IMO. They're sublime works shot through a vein of nostalgia and filled with Poulenc's fresh lyricism.

I think the Oboe Sonata is just as sublime as those works, Kyle. There's many gems in Poulenc's chamber oeuvre.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on November 25, 2013, 12:41:06 PM
I think the Oboe Sonata is just as sublime as those works, Kyle. There's many gems in Poulenc's chamber oeuvre.

Yeah, I knew there was one wind sonata I was forgetting......
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: North Star on November 25, 2013, 12:45:23 PM
The Flute Sonata is certainly up there with the other sonatas, too.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on November 25, 2013, 01:38:39 PM
Yeah, I knew there was one wind sonata I was forgetting......

Well his whole chamber oeuvre is worth hearing. Lovely music.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on December 07, 2013, 06:00:05 AM
Well, I finally got to the end of the Pascal Roge box.  I saved the Oboe Sonata until last. Beautiful. Reminds me why I learnt the oboe in high school.

I already jumped back to 'the beginning', this time being chronological. I suspect I'm going to want to explore more of this composer.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 13, 2014, 04:21:45 PM
I had dropped this into my Shopping Cart back before it was available.  I am now listening to the Stabat Mater ~



Patricia Petibon is very good in this music.

I believe you that Petibon is very good, but became a bit skeptical about Järvi so I never dropped this one in my cart. Am I wrong?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 13, 2014, 04:46:29 PM
This is a promo clip but does contain some nice excerpts.  I don't think Parvi should concern you, the orchestra sounds really good, maybe a bit muscular for Poulenc and because he hears the music with some irony, something he thinks Poulenc wrote into it - his is not an overly religious interpretation.

https://www.youtube.com/v/c1TGfYiiEE0

If you have access to MOG, or Spotify, the entire CD can be found there.

I like it.

Most of my Järvi experiences seem to find him preferring speedy interpretations, and muscular is a possible spot on description (a former Cincinnati Symphony musician told me how the timpanist was always breaking mallets because of Jarvi).
Spotify it is. Thank you, SA.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Brian on February 13, 2014, 05:06:50 PM
Do Spotify it, Greg. I got it and have only listened to the Gloria, and that only once. But at the end of my listen the thought which occurred to me was, "Huh. I guess I don't like this piece as much as I thought." Luckily I also grabbed Dutoit before my Great CD Buying Embargo of 2014, so some time soon when it's convenient I will compare them side-by-side and figure out what is really going on.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 02:10:11 PM
I have to say now that I've listened to the whole CD, it is a very mixed bag.  Some sections, mainly the solo movements featuring Petibon are nicely done.  But in some places, Jarvi does not convey the style I expect for Poulenc.  Steely, rushed in places and in a couple of spots during the Stabat Mater, verging on ugly.  It is strange, some parts, e.g. the chorus, and in places the orchestra, sound beautiful.  But then something will happen to destroy the mood entirely.

Disappointing since I was very much looking forward to this recording.

I listened on MOG before buying, and am glad I did.

Thanks for taking one for the team, SA. That Jarvi recording looked interesting, but I then realized that Jarvi isn't quite known for his interpretations of French music, so I let it pass right by me. :)

Moving onto another topic, I've been enjoying Poulenc's chamber music immensely for a couple of years now and I really think everyone should get that Naxos set. Such authoritative performances. A work that caught my ear today was Rapsodie Negre, which I had heard once before but didn't remeber much about it. What an atmospheric piece.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ken B on February 24, 2014, 02:24:47 PM
In Poulenc's chamber oeuvre, nothing beats the cello and clarinet sonatas IMO. They're sublime works shot through a vein of nostalgia and filled with Poulenc's fresh lyricism.

I was very surprised when i first heard his chamber music how ardent it was. The orchestral and piano music is more detached and cool.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 03:01:41 PM
I was very surprised when i first heard his chamber music how ardent it was. The orchestral and piano music is more detached and cool.

The chamber music is definitely more intimate, as one would expect considering the instrumentation. I love the orchestral and chamber music equally, because they offer a glimpse a composer who was in some kind of constant rotation. I'm thinking of picking up a book on Poulenc pretty soon.

To my fellow Poulenc fans, what would you say are Poulenc's top 5 masterpieces and why?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Brian on February 24, 2014, 08:35:27 PM
To my fellow Poulenc fans, what would you say are Poulenc's top 5 masterpieces and why?

I don't have a clue, but the first Poulenc I heard was the flute sonata played by an acquaintance at Rice so I still have much love for that. May have heard the bassoon sonata at that time, too.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 08:52:35 PM
I don't have a clue, but the first Poulenc I heard was the flute sonata played by an acquaintance at Rice so I still have much love for that. May have heard the bassoon sonata at that time, too.

Ah yes, the beautiful Flute Sonata. As I mentioned to you, Brian, if you don't own a box of the chamber works, then do try to acquire one. You won't be sorry. Personally, I'd go for the Naxos set. Nothing but high quality performances throughout. Since you have a subscription to NML, you could definitely sample a lot of the performances. Would be interested in reading your thoughts.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Brian on February 24, 2014, 09:01:06 PM
Ah yes, the beautiful Flute Sonata. As I mentioned to you, Brian, if you don't own a box of the chamber works, then do try to acquire one. You won't be sorry. Personally, I'd go for the Naxos set. Nothing but high quality performances throughout. Since you have a subscription to NML, you could definitely sample a lot of the performances. Would be interested in reading your thoughts.

In 2010 (not 2011 as I posted elsewhere), Lethe posted on this board that NaxosDirect was having a pricing bug in its webshop. As a result, I got two copies each of the "British Symphonies" (25 CDs), "British Orchestral Music" (25 CDs), and "Spanish Classics" (25 CDs) box sets, and the complete Poulenc chamber music, all $2.99 per box. Gave the duplicate copies to a friend. The super-est duper-est cheap bargain in GMG history by far.  :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 09:04:04 PM
In 2010 (not 2011 as I posted elsewhere), Lethe posted on this board that NaxosDirect was having a pricing bug in its webshop. As a result, I got two copies each of the "British Symphonies" (25 CDs), "British Orchestral Music" (25 CDs), and "Spanish Classics" (25 CDs) box sets, and the complete Poulenc chamber music, all $2.99 per box. Gave the duplicate copies to a friend. The super-est duper-est cheap bargain in GMG history by far.  :)

Yep, I just read that unbelievable price you paid for the Poulenc set. I wish more online retailers would have pricing glitches. >:D But, anyway, I shouldn't complain as I got a good deal on the set, too. I believe I paid around $14 for the set. Nothing to scoff at at all.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 24, 2014, 09:04:12 PM
To my fellow Poulenc fans, what would you say are Poulenc's top 5 6 masterpieces and why?

Figure Humaine
Concert Champetre
Sonata for Two Pianos
Aubade
Mass in G
Organ Concerto

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2014, 09:12:11 PM
Figure Humaine
Concert Champetre
Sonata for Two Pianos
Aubade
Mass in G
Organ Concerto

The only work I haven't heard from your list is Figure Humaine. Will change this at some point.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 25, 2014, 12:52:35 AM
The chamber music is definitely more intimate, as one would expect considering the instrumentation. I love the orchestral and chamber music equally, because they offer a glimpse a composer who was in some kind of constant rotation. I'm thinking of picking up a book on Poulenc pretty soon.

To my fellow Poulenc fans, what would you say are Poulenc's top 5 masterpieces and why?
Perhaps "masterpieces" is not really the appropriate a word, but my personal favourites could be (in no particular order):

1) Les Biches --complete ballet-- (FP 036a)
2) Gloria (FP 177)
3) Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon for voice and piano (FP 122) -- the mélodie "C" is just breathtaking (Louis Aragon's text and Poulenc's setting)
4) Concerto for piano and orchestra (FP 146)
5) Suite française d'après Claude Gervaise --either the orchestral version (FP 082a) or for piano solo (FP 082b)

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 25, 2014, 06:46:53 AM
Perhaps "masterpieces" is not really the appropriate a word, but my personal favourites could be (in no particular order):

1) Les Biches --complete ballet-- (FP 036a)
2) Gloria (FP 177)
3) Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon for voice and piano (FP 122) -- the mélodie "C" is just breathtaking (Louis Aragon's text and Poulenc's setting)
4) Concerto for piano and orchestra (FP 146)
5) Suite française d'après Claude Gervaise --either the orchestral version (FP 082a) or for piano solo (FP 082b)

Good list, ritter, with more great music from Poulenc.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Cato on February 25, 2014, 07:05:11 AM
The Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings is an all-around fave!  I believe it was the first composition by Poulenc that I ever heard c. 1965 or so.

Karl Haas on his radio show often featured Poulenc's works.

Dialogues of the Carmelites, anyone?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 25, 2014, 07:14:46 AM
The Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings is an all-around fave!  I believe it was the first composition by Poulenc that I ever heard c. 1965 or so.

Karl Haas on his radio show often featured Poulenc's works.

Dialogues of the Carmelites, anyone?

I miss Adventures In Good Music, safe to say I was the only kid in my high school jamming to it on my car stereo.

Sometimes the film Carnival of Souls comes to mind when I listen to the Organ Concerto.

And yes, Cato, Carmelites is fantastic. I've only heard the Nagano conducted performance however.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Cato on February 25, 2014, 07:29:14 AM
I miss Adventures In Good Music, safe to say I was the only kid in my high school jamming to it on my car stereo.

Sometimes the film Carnival of Souls comes to mind when I listen to the Organ Concerto.


Karl Haas had his likes and his quirks: one did not hear middle or late Schoenberg as one of the "adventures."  And the Webernian school was also absent.

But certainly Poulenc, Bartok, Hindemith, Honegger, etc. were often heard as examples of 20th Century styles.


Sometimes the film Carnival of Souls comes to mind when I listen to the Organ Concerto.


That was one freaky movie!   8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2014, 06:56:50 PM
Perhaps "masterpieces" is not really the appropriate a word, but my personal favourites could be (in no particular order):

1) Les Biches --complete ballet-- (FP 036a)
2) Gloria (FP 177)
3) Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon for voice and piano (FP 122) -- the mélodie "C" is just breathtaking (Louis Aragon's text and Poulenc's setting)
4) Concerto for piano and orchestra (FP 146)
5) Suite française d'après Claude Gervaise --either the orchestral version (FP 082a) or for piano solo (FP 082b)

Great list! Love Les Biches, Gloria, Piano Concerto, and Suite Francaise, but have not heard Deux poemes de Louis Aragon.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2014, 07:36:39 AM
The Concerto for Organ, Timpani, and Strings is an all-around fave!  I believe it was the first composition by Poulenc that I ever heard c. 1965 or so.

Karl Haas on his radio show often featured Poulenc's works.

Dialogues of the Carmelites, anyone?

Yes, to both Dialogues of the Carmelites and the Organ Concerto. Both incredibly fine works and show Poulenc in a completely different light. One thing I've been stressing to newer listeners of Poulenc is that one shouldn't get comfortable with his music and what I mean by this is he shouldn't be pigeonholed or boxed in any kind of way. He was a composer who was completely free to express himself and has a wide compositional range.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ken B on February 26, 2014, 07:41:22 AM
Yes, to both Dialogues of the Carmelites and the Organ Concerto. Both incredibly fine works and show Poulenc in a completely different light. One thing I've been stressing to newer listeners of Poulenc is that one shouldn't get comfortable with his music and what I mean by this is he shouldn't be pigeonholed or boxed in any kind of way. He was a composer who was completely free to express himself and has a wide compositional range.
Yes exactly. The image I formed early on from the orchestral and some piano pieces got a jolt when I heard the chamber and choral stuff some years later. Less Satie more  Faure, if that makes sense.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2014, 07:45:17 AM
Yes exactly. The image I formed early on from the orchestral and some piano pieces got a jolt when I heard the chamber and choral stuff some years later. Less Satie more  Faure, if that makes sense.

Well, I can't remember who said that Poulenc was 'half-delinquent, half-monk," but I certainly wouldn't argue with that assessment. :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 26, 2014, 08:24:09 AM
...but have not heard Deux poemes de Louis Aragon.
Here you have one of the two songs, the "C" I was raving about...it lasts less tan three minutes...the tessitura is fiendishly difficult for any voice type...this video has the advantage of displaying the words in the original French and translated into English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfNKZrPh0ho

Aragon's poem deals with France's defeat in 1940, using some quite astonishing images (all of which bear some relation with the historical event, without mentioning it as such), and Poulenc's setting is full of melancholy (which requires great control by the singer if he or she wants to avoid falling into cheap sentimentality--often a risk with Poulenc).

Note: I don't have a clue how to insert YouTube videos in a message :(, so I just give the link. :-[
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 26, 2014, 08:27:16 AM
Well, I can't remember who said that Poulenc was 'half-delinquent, half-monk," but I certainly wouldn't argue with that assessment. :)
It was critic Claude Rostand..."le moine et le voyou" was the original phrase. :)  (he could have added "millionaire" too...Poulenc was born into a rather well-off family of industrialists)...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ken B on February 26, 2014, 08:51:21 AM
It was critic Claude Rostand..."le moine et le voyou" was the original phrase. :)  (he could have added "millionaire" too...Poulenc was born into a rather well-off family of industrialists)...
He was heir to Poulenc-Rhone I thought, making him one of the richest men in France.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 26, 2014, 08:54:05 AM
He was heir to Poulenc-Rhone I thought, making him one of the richest men in France.
Exactly... :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on February 26, 2014, 09:03:05 AM
The only work I haven't heard from your list is Figure Humaine. Will change this at some point.

Accentus, Temebrae, The Sixteen and Swedish Radio Choir all have quality recordings of it, can't go wrong with any of them.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2014, 06:00:18 PM
Here you have one of the two songs, the "C" I was raving about...it lasts less tan three minutes...the tessitura is fiendishly difficult for any voice type...this video has the advantage of displaying the words in the original French and translated into English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfNKZrPh0ho

Aragon's poem deals with France's defeat in 1940, using some quite astonishing images (all of which bear some relation with the historical event, without mentioning it as such), and Poulenc's setting is full of melancholy (which requires great control by the singer if he or she wants to avoid falling into cheap sentimentality--often a risk with Poulenc).

Note: I don't have a clue how to insert YouTube videos in a message :(, so I just give the link. :-[

Thanks for this, Ritter. I tend to avoid works for just voice and piano as I like more instruments included. I do enjoy the human voice, but I don't like the limited sonic palette of just voice with piano. I need either other instruments or even another harmonic instrument like harp or vibraphone for example. I know I'm picky, but who isn't, right? ;D
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2014, 06:01:09 PM
It was critic Claude Rostand..."le moine et le voyou" was the original phrase. :)  (he could have added "millionaire" too...Poulenc was born into a rather well-off family of industrialists)...

Ah, okay. I remember reading about this many years ago.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 27, 2014, 06:35:15 AM
Thanks for this, Ritter. I tend to avoid works for just voice and piano as I like more instruments included. I do enjoy the human voice, but I don't like the limited sonic palette of just voice with piano. I need either other instruments or even another harmonic instrument like harp or vibraphone for example. I know I'm picky, but who isn't, right? ;D
Your statement is fully understandable, Mirror Image... I myself think that in German Lied, French mélodie, and so on, the text is as important as the music. That's what I like so much of the Poulenc song I gave you the link to. I don't know if you speak languages other than English , but I'm lucky enough to be fluent in several major European languages, and thus am in a position to enjoy this kind of pieces fully. But to be honest, songs in e.g. Russian or Czech (languages I don't speak at all), I really can't enjoy that much. :-[

And we all have a right to be picky! I for one can't stand much of the work by a composer that graced your avatar some days ago ;) , but that's my loss, not his.. :D, right?

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2014, 06:57:11 AM
Your statement is fully understandable, Mirror Image... I myself think that in German Lied, French mélodie, and so on, the text is as important as the music. That's what I like so much of the Poulenc song I gave you the link to. I don't know if you speak languages other than English , but I'm lucky enough to be fluent in several major European languages, and thus am in a position to enjoy this kind of pieces fully. But to be honest, songs in e.g. Russian or Czech (languages I don't speak at all), I really can't enjoy that much. :-[

And we all have a right to be picky! I for one can't stand much of the work by a composer that graced your avatar some days ago ;) , but that's my loss, not is his.. :D, right?

Agreed. Of course I speak horrible English, but I also speak some Spanish, but I couldn't carry on an in-depth conversation in Spanish, though, but I'm working on it. Which composer could you not stand? I go through so many avatar changes...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 27, 2014, 08:52:40 AM
Which composer could you not stand? I go through so many avatar changes...
Ritter trembles, fearful of the wrath his affront can unleash, as he hesitantly types the letters D S  C   H    .....  :-[   :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ken B on February 27, 2014, 08:56:44 AM
Ritter trembles, as he types the letter D S  C   H    .....  :-[   :)
RUN FOR THE HILLS!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 27, 2014, 09:06:53 AM
RUN FOR THE HILLS!
Automatic out-of-forum reply: Ritter is not available until further notice.  ;D

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: North Star on February 27, 2014, 09:58:31 AM
I'm anxious to read Ritter's report on the life at the gulag.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2014, 06:11:50 PM
Ritter trembles, fearful of the wrath his affront can unleash, as he hesitantly types the letters D S  C   H    .....  :-[   :)

Man, don't be silly. It's okay. I'm not going to give you a tongue lashing or anything, because you can't help the way you feel. There's a lot of people who don't care for Shostakovich and I absolutely accept, and respect, that decision.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2014, 07:23:14 PM
Just found out, which I'm sure many of you already know, that the Oboe Sonata was Poulenc's last work. Such a gorgeous piece of music and one that I'll listen to in a different light now. It's dedicated to the memory of Sergei Prokofiev.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on February 28, 2014, 12:04:34 AM
Man, don't be silly. It's okay. I'm not going to give you a tongue lashing or anything, because you can't help the way you feel. There's a lot of people who don't care for Shostakovich and I absolutely accept, and respect, that decision.
  :)  But I do very much admire the 24 Preludes and Fugues op. 87 (and some of the String Quartets)...

Best regards,

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 07:11:23 PM
  :)  But I do very much admire the 24 Preludes and Fugues op. 87 (and some of the String Quartets)...

Best regards,

I can't say I'm much into solo piano music, so I wouldn't know where Shostakovich's ranks amongst other 20th Century composers.

Anyway, let's get back to Poulenc!

Let's have a little fun here: you are allowed to choose two chamber works, which ones would you choose?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: not edward on February 28, 2014, 07:12:30 PM
That's easy: the clarinet and oboe sonatas.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 07:16:40 PM
That's easy: the clarinet and oboe sonatas.

It's not so easy for me unfortunately, although I'm definitely leaning in that direction.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 07:22:06 PM
I'm completely torn between the Sonatas for Oboe, Clarinet, Flute, Violin, and Cello and Elégie for horn and piano. I just can't decide!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on February 28, 2014, 08:09:20 PM
I'll let you know when I've listened to them all again (re-surveying the Roge set of performances, in chronological order of composition this time).
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 08:24:42 PM
I'll let you know when I've listened to them all again (re-surveying the Roge set of performances, in chronological order of composition this time).

You own all of the chamber music, orfeo? I thought I remembered reading that you just own that Roge set which just contains one disc of the chamber works? I could be wrong or read things that weren't even posted of course. :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kishnevi on February 28, 2014, 08:39:16 PM
The full contents of the box, as given by Amazon


 
Disc: 1
 1. Les soirées de Nazelles, for piano, FP 84: 2. Variation: 5. Le Charme enjôleur
 2. Les soirées de Nazelles, for piano, FP 84: 2. Variation: 6. Le Contentement de soi
 3. Les soirées de Nazelles, for piano, FP 84: 2. Variation: 7. Le Goût du malheur
 4. Les soirées de Nazelles, for piano, FP 84: 2. Variation: 8. L'Alerte vieillesse
 5. Novelettes (3) for piano, FP 47 & 173: No. 1 in C major
 6. Novelettes (3) for piano, FP 47 & 173: No. 2 in B flat minor
 7. Improvisation No. 1 for piano in B minor (Presto ritmico), FP 63/1
 8. Improvisation No. 6 for piano in B flat major (A toute vitesse), FP 63/6
 9. Improvisation No. 8 for piano in A minor (Presto), FP 63/8
 10. Improvisation No. 13 for piano in A minor (Allegretto comodo), FP 170/1
Disc: 2
 1. Humoresque for piano, FP 72
 2. Nocturnes ( 8 ) for piano, FP 56: No. 1 in C major
 3. Nocturnes ( 8 ) for piano, FP 56: No. 2 (Bal de jeunes filles)
 4. Nocturnes ( 8 ) for piano, FP 56: No. 3 (Les Cloches de Malines)
 5. Nocturnes ( 8 ) for piano, FP 56: No. 6 in G major
 6. Nocturnes ( 8 ) for piano, FP 56: No. 7 in E flat major
 7. Nocturnes ( 8 ) for piano, FP 56: No. 8 (pour servir de coda au cycle)
 8. Suite for piano in C major, FP 19
 9. Improvisation No. 4 for piano in A flat major (Presto con fuoco), FP 63/4
 10. Improvisation No. 9 for piano in D major (Presto possible), FP 63/9
 11. Improvisation No. 10 for piano in F major ('Eloge des gammes'), FP 63/10
 12. Improvisation No. 14 for piano in D flat major (Allegretto), FP 170/2
 13. Intermezzi (2) for piano, FP 71: No. 1 in C major
 14. Intermezzi (2) for piano, FP 71: No. 2 in D flat major
 15. Intermezzo No. 3 for piano in A flat major, FP 118
 16. Presto for piano in B flat major, FP 70
Disc: 3
 1. Trois pastorales, for piano, FP 5: 3. Vite
 2. Impromptus (5) for piano, FP 21: 2. Allegro vivace
 3. Impromptus (5) for piano, FP 21: 4. Violent
 4. Impromptus (5) for piano, FP 21: 5. Andante
 5. Badinage, for piano, FP 73
 6. Napoli, suite for piano, FP 40: 2. Nocturne (Lent)
 7. Napoli, suite for piano, FP 40: 3. Caprice italien (Presto)
 8. Promenades (10) for piano, FP 24: 5. En avion (Lent)
 9. Promenades (10) for piano, FP 24: 6. En autobus (Trépidant)
 10. Promenades (10) for piano, FP 24: 7. En voiture (Lent)
 11. Promenades (10) for piano, FP 24: 8. En chemin de fer (Vif)
 12. Promenades (10) for piano, FP 24: 9. À bicyclette (Vite)
 13. Promenades (10) for piano, FP 24: 10. En diligence (Lent)
 14. Feuillets d'album (3), for piano, FP 68: 3. Gigue (Prestissimo)
 15. Suite française (d'après Claude Gervaise), for piano (arr. from chamber version), FP 80: 6. Sicilienne (Très doucement)
 16. Suite française (d'après Claude Gervaise), for piano (arr. from chamber version), FP 80: 7. Carillon (Très animé)
Disc: 4
 1. Sonata for 2 pianos, FP 156: 1. Prologue
 2. Sonata for 2 pianos, FP 156: 2. Allegro molto
 3. Sonata for 2 pianos, FP 156: 3. Andante lyrico
 4. Sonata for 2 pianos, FP 156: 4. Epilogue
 5. Sonata for piano, 4 hands, FP 8: 2. Rustique
 6. Sonata for piano, 4 hands, FP 8: 3. Final
 7. Sonata for violin & piano, FP 119: 1. Allegro con fuoco
 8. Sonata for violin & piano, FP 119: 3. Presto tragico
Disc: 5
 1. Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100: 1. Allegro vivace
 2. Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100: 2. Divertissement
 3. Sextet for wind quintet & piano in C major, FP 100: 3. Finale
 4. Sonata for clarinet & piano, FP 184: 1. Allegro tristement
 5. Sonata for clarinet & piano, FP 184: 2. Romanza
 6. Sonata for clarinet & piano, FP 184: 3. Allegro con fuoco
 7. Sonata for flute & piano, FP 164: 1. Allegro malinconico
 8. Sonata for flute & piano, FP 164: 2. Cantilena
 9. Sonata for flute & piano, FP 164: 3. Presto giocoso
 10. Sonata for oboe & piano, FP 185: 2. Scherzo
 11. Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43: 1. Presto
 12. Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43: 2. Andante
 13. Trio for oboe, bassoon & piano, FP 43: 3. Rondo

Amazon doesn't seem to list the Elegie for horn, so perhaps there are other mistakes; I'm too lazy to search out my own copy.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on February 28, 2014, 08:40:26 PM
You own all of the chamber music, orfeo? I thought I remembered reading that you just own that Roge set which just contains one disc of the chamber works? I could be wrong or read things that weren't even posted of course. :)

Yes, I currently own only the Roge set, but it's more like 1.5 discs of chamber music and it has most of the works you mentioned you couldn't choose between. I'd argue the only mature work it's missing is the cello sonata.  It's got the violin, flute, clarinet and oboe sonatas, the horn Elegie, the Sextet and the Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on February 28, 2014, 08:41:28 PM
The full contents of the box, as given by Amazon

Well then Amazon is missing quite a lot of tracks. It's the complete piano music - having entries that only show half the Nocturnes, 3 out of 5 impromptus, 6 out of 10 promenades etc etc is just plain wrong.

The number of tracks on the first CD isn't 10, it's 31!!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 08:42:09 PM
Ah, okay. Thanks for the information, orfeo.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kishnevi on February 28, 2014, 08:45:37 PM
Well then Amazon is missing quite a lot of tracks. It's the complete piano music - having entries that only show half the Nocturnes, 3 out of 5 impromptus, 6 out of 10 promenades etc etc is just plain wrong.

Why am I not surprised?  I thought it was the complete piano music,  but MI is focused on the chamber music, and I wasn't in the mood to search out my own copy (which I got, IIRC, from Presto).
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on February 28, 2014, 08:52:30 PM
In fact, Presto's entry for the box is far more accurate, and comes with samples.

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4757097 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4757097)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kishnevi on February 28, 2014, 08:58:55 PM
In fact, Presto's entry for the box is far more accurate, and comes with samples.

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4757097 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Decca/4757097)

Although even they seem unable to figure out how many Improvisations there are.

At any rate, MI, you have CD 5 of that set, and I'd say you need to get CD 4, which contains the music for two pianos (or piano four hands) and the violin sonata.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 09:07:07 PM
Although even they seem unable to figure out how many Improvisations there are.

At any rate, MI, you have CD 5 of that set, and I'd say you need to get CD 4, which contains the music for two pianos (or piano four hands) and the violin sonata.

Yep, I'm searching now. :)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on February 28, 2014, 09:11:38 PM
I did find the disc with the Violin Sonata and Elegie for Horn, but the price is definitely keeping me at arm's length right now.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on February 28, 2014, 09:39:27 PM
Although even they seem unable to figure out how many Improvisations there are.

There is actually a coherent explanation for that... it's a combination of the fact that the improvisations are split between 2 discs, and that the improvisations are under 4 different 'opus' numbers in Poulenc's catalogue (1-10, 11-12, 13-14 and 15).

It's one of those relatively rare times when I've been grateful for the ability to edit information in iTunes and put back together the bits and pieces that were split on disc.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2014, 06:46:04 AM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread:

My order fell through with that Poulenc chamber disc w/ Pascal Roge, so to compensate, and to give me more of an incentive, I bought this this 2-CD set:

(http://indesensdigital.fr/92-thickbox_default/francis-poulenc-2cd.jpg)

The audio samples sounded quite nice. I didn't do much research here, but there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of sets dedicated to Poulenc's chamber music for winds, so I happily took the risk.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: lescamil on March 02, 2014, 10:53:19 AM
On the topic of the chamber music, anyone else a fan of the Sextet for Piano and Winds? I think this is perhaps his best chamber work. I've been looking for a great recording of this piece. My old standby was the one with James Levine, but I'd like alternatives.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2014, 11:18:03 AM
The Sextet is a great work, but, then again, so are so many others.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: lescamil on March 02, 2014, 11:37:23 AM
More Poulenc recommendations needed, please. I'm accompanying a vocalist in a few of his songs in 2 weeks, and I'd like to know which recordings are the best. I'm doing Chanson d'Orkenise, Voyage à Paris, and Hôtel (all from Banalités), specifically, but recommendations for any of his songs (or collections of them) is fine.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on March 02, 2014, 01:15:34 PM
On the topic of the chamber music, anyone else a fan of the Sextet for Piano and Winds? I think this is perhaps his best chamber work. I've been looking for a great recording of this piece. My old standby was the one with James Levine, but I'd like alternatives.

As recently mentioned, I only have the Pascal Roge set, and it certainly made me like the Sextet.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2014, 02:38:21 PM
Do Spotify it, Greg. I got it and have only listened to the Gloria, and that only once. But at the end of my listen the thought which occurred to me was, "Huh. I guess I don't like this piece as much as I thought." Luckily I also grabbed Dutoit before my Great CD Buying Embargo of 2014, so some time soon when it's convenient I will compare them side-by-side and figure out what is really going on.

Have you done this comparison yet, Brian? Would be curious to read your thoughts.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 12:57:33 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread -

Just bought via Amazon France:

(http://csimg.webmarchand.com/srv/FR/290473362479349/T/340x340/C/FFFFFF/url/poulenc-f-un-siecle-en.jpg)

Looks like a great set, especially the concerti and chamber music discs with Eric Le Sage on piano.

Does anyone own this set or own, and have heard, any of the individual recordings from it? I know the concerti disc got some good reviews and it features Eric Le Sage as the main soloist with none other than French specialist Stephane Deneve on the podium. Should be good.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 01:43:16 PM
Piano Concerto

Concerto for 2 Pianos

Poulenc isn't as 'smooth' as I thought: he has a few jagged edges, and always seems to be upsetting the apple cart, throwing little things in willy-nilly. But of course, there are moments of pure, beautiful lyricism too.

The PC starts off with what I must imagine is some Mozartean melody. Is that right, or is it someone else? Then there is that wonderful falling melody in the C2P. I don't think you will find these kinds of melodies in the other Frenchmen: they seem wholly French, but also wholly Poulenc (or Satie?).

Gamelan textures also inform the C2P, lending a very genial atmosphere.

Poulenc seems to want to start his musics off with quite a whack, only to settle into a more cosmopolitan rhythm. Has anyone noticed this?

I also wish this set (Double Decca) had the Aubade, but,...

Both the Piano Concerto and Concerto for Two Pianos are great works, snyprrr. I think you give them a pretty fair description. It seems that the Piano Concerto is a bit underrated. I find it absolutely delightful from start to finish. BTW, have you bought any Poulenc since you made this post?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 05:28:29 PM
What do you guys think of the Violin Sonata and the Cello Sonata? To my mind, they are both masterworks. It seems that chamber music for woodwinds dominates his chamber oeuvre, but he was especially gifted in writing for string instruments as these two works would indicate. Any favorite performances of either work?
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ken B on March 03, 2014, 05:45:24 PM
I keep waiting to see Lon Chaney as your avatar!

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 05:52:20 PM
I keep waiting to see Lon Chaney as your avatar!

 ???
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 03, 2014, 07:28:39 PM



Since you own this set, SA, I have a few questions for you: how is the audio quality in this set? I remember reading that there are some balance problems in the audio, do you hear this in any of the performances?

Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 07, 2014, 08:22:40 PM
Although even they seem unable to figure out how many Improvisations there are.

At any rate, MI, you have CD 5 of that set, and I'd say you need to get CD 4, which contains the music for two pianos (or piano four hands) and the violin sonata.

Went ahead and bought the whole set. Glad I did. I love Pascal Roge's pianism. Can't wait to hear the chamber music performances in this set.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on March 26, 2014, 02:17:28 AM
As I continue to go back through the Roge box, chronologically, I'm reinforced in the view that the piano music tends to improve later in his career. Recent listens have included the Melancolie and the Intermezzo in A flat major, which are both lovely and well-rounded works.

Some of the very earliest piano pieces do virtually nothing for me. But it's not an even spread. There are some relatively early ones that I enjoy. And I think in some ways the biggest surprise is the other way - Les Soirees de Nazelles, the largest scale piano work, just doesn't seem to do it for me. Poulenc later repudiated it, and I'm inclined to agree with him. It doesn't seem, to me, to much depth of feeling in it.

I'm going to get back into the 2-piano works soon, which pleases me no end. They were definitely highlights in my first round of listening.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ken B on March 26, 2014, 01:25:54 PM
Poulenc, Poulenc. Name rings a bell.  Hmm.  Hey! Didn't MirrorImage used to play Poulenc?

 8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2014, 04:33:14 PM
Poulenc, Poulenc. Name rings a bell.  Hmm.  Hey! Didn't MirrorImage used to play Poulenc?

 8)

Still do. :D Poulenc is in my top five.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: TheGSMoeller on April 18, 2014, 01:54:08 AM
I love seeing the Stabat Mater getting so much airtime recently. Jarvi (disappointing), Deneve (very fine) and now the new release of Reuss with Carolyn Sampson, Cappella Amsterdam, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Estonian Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra on Harmonia Mundi. Based on the small sampling it sounds glorious, wonderfully recorded with a detailed choir. What's most exciting about this release is the coupling of Sept Repons de Tenebres which is an equally fine, and not as often recorded piece. Anyone have this album yet? It's in my cart waiting for payday, more than likely will be done soon.


Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ZauberdrachenNr.7 on November 21, 2014, 08:15:41 PM
I have to say now that I've listened to the whole CD, it is a very mixed bag.  Some sections, mainly the solo movements featuring Petibon are nicely done.  But in some places, Jarvi does not convey the style I expect for Poulenc.  Steely, rushed in places and in a couple of spots during the Stabat Mater, verging on ugly.  It is strange, some parts, e.g. the chorus, and in places the orchestra, sound beautiful.  But then something will happen to destroy the mood entirely.

Disappointing since I was very much looking forward to this recording.

I listened on MOG before buying, and am glad I did.

I too came close to buying this; fortunately my local public library picked it up and I was able to give it a thorough listen.  I've enjoyed the Orchestre de Paris very much over the years and had high expectations but I don't think they're the problem.  While there are some splendid moments, Järvi is outta his element here, plain and simple.  Poulenc's Gloria is a very enthusiastic Christian encomium - so much so it initially troubled Rome - it's supposed to rock at points and yet this is curiously restrained.  You like Petibon better than I do - she has an unfortunate tendency to hoot and hasn't the vocal strength to negotiate the Domine Deus, Agnus Dei (5th mvt.) - listen to her swoop (a singer's no-no - an embarrassment, really).  Sad to say, but the Gloria is bad enough to have not been released.

Edit:  both sound like they really know what they're doing in this interview clip :  http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/en/cat/4791497.  You can hear the 'swooping' here.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: rpsabq on April 03, 2017, 10:47:23 PM
I simply must join in and offer my most favorite recording of the Poulenc Gloria.  Let's not be afraid to give the Americans their due folks, because this is simply superb. 

Poulenc: Gloria; Stabat Mater
Boston Pops Orchestra, Kathleen Battle, Seiji Ozawa & Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Seiji Ozawa, Conductor


Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2017, 06:38:16 AM
With all due respect, I didn’t enjoy the Ozawa recording of these Poulenc choral masterworks. I prefer Dutoit here. Bernstein has a great Gloria as well from earlier in his career.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: vandermolen on April 04, 2017, 07:12:28 AM
Organ Concerto remains my favourite.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Spineur on April 04, 2017, 08:02:43 AM
I love all his music, with the Dialogues des Carmelites at the forefront, followed by his religious pieces.  Only the light music in "Le voyage a Paris" can be skipped.  The CD "Miroirs Brulants" melodies on Paul Eluard poem is fantastic.  I wrote a review on the listen to thread.  Then there is the keyboard music: the 2 pianos concerto, the harpsicord concert champetre and of course the organ concerto.  All the aubades are wonderful.   The violin and the cello sonatas are very nice as well.

The Brassens song says it best

"Tout est bon chez lui, il n'y a rien a jeter
Sur l'ile deserte il faut tout emporter"
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: arpeggio on April 04, 2017, 08:57:37 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/812MjD0leDL._SL1500_.jpg)

I submitted a post about the above in the

"Purchases Today" Thread: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21529.msg1052646.html#msg1052646 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21529.msg1052646.html#msg1052646)

and the " Pieces that have blown you away recently" thread: http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,26195.msg1052863.html#msg1052863 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,26195.msg1052863.html#msg1052863)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on April 04, 2017, 06:03:29 PM
Organ Concerto remains my favourite.

I like his orchestral and choral music, but I favor his chamber works more than anything else.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on April 05, 2017, 07:40:50 AM
I like his orchestral and choral music, but I favor his chamber works more than anything else.

Takemitsu needs a haircut!!


Piano Concerto, Flute Sonata
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Monsieur Croche on April 05, 2017, 10:24:04 AM
Piano Concerto, Flute Sonata

Aubade ~ for piano and eighteen instruments I still prefer the performance of the keyboard concerti and concertante works on EMI
https://www.amazon.com/Aubade-Francis-Poulenc/dp/B003TW3M42/ref=sr_1_sc_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1491419399&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=Poulenc+aubade+gabriel+taccino

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXFq7QZKp4o
Sextuor ~ for piano and wind quintet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMjVsju3HZc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T7rinGXmH8
Oboe Sonata.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY1j_DJDOf8

piano solo:
Promenades -- delightful, dry, wry, and somewhat 'Stravinskyian.'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfX37D6uIXE
Nocturnes, Gabriel Tacchino, piano; Tacchino recorded all the piano music, still available on, I believe, EMI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfQoNDuutTs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJBC3M8B39I

Two pianos:
Sonata for 2 pianos, FP 156
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGWYdDzxIos
Elégie (a study in alternating chords, which are constant throughout the piece) (Francois Chaplin, Alexandre Tharaud)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXEiciXRxaw
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Monsieur Croche on April 05, 2017, 11:10:40 AM
I simply must join in and offer my most favorite recording of the Poulenc Gloria.  Let's not be afraid to give the Americans their due folks, because this is simply superb. 

Poulenc: Gloria; Stabat Mater
Boston Pops Orchestra, Kathleen Battle, Seiji Ozawa & Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Seiji Ozawa, Conductor

If this is still floating around, it would be on EMI, w the bonus that it should be a 'budget'
Gloria; Georges Prêtre, Chœur de Radio France, Orchestre National de France
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Wdbj1jkdGo
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc STARTING FRESH WITH CHAMBER MUSIC
Post by: snyprrr on October 24, 2017, 06:12:34 PM
Flute Sonata (1957)
Elegie (1957)
Clarinet Sonata (1962)
Oboe Sonata (1962)

All three of the Late Sonatas must rank as some of the most refined and sublime expressions of their genre. As I listen to each fresh, I am struck by how many "hooks" I remember enjoying previously. I have the same experience with the Janacek SQs: there is such a wealth of material, one doubts they all came from the same piece, but, they did!

I'm mainly using the Hyperion set with the Nash Ensemble, and at present time have only one alternative for each, and they're somewhat on the minor labels. So far, I have enjoyed Francois Leleux's Oboe Sonata on HarmoniaMundi the most, inorks. terms of sound and performance. These pieces really can bring out some still moments.

I have one Elegie that lasts almost 11mins., and the one by Richard Watkins of the Nash, which is 9mins., really brings out much more of the spirit of the piece. It certainly is not the most serene Elegie one has ever heard, and I have yet to crack this nut fully.

Just in terms of pure musicianship and craft and feeling and oh-just-so perfection, I just have a hard time finding anything quite comparable to these Late Works.


Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on October 24, 2017, 06:15:19 PM
You can’t go wrong with any of Poulenc’s sonatas for wind instruments. Seductive, puckish, tender, and extremely lyrical. For me, right up there with Debussy’s and Ravel’s chamber music.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on October 24, 2017, 06:18:59 PM
You can’t go wrong with any of Poulenc’s sonatas for wind instruments. Seductive, puckish, tender, and extremely lyrical. For me, right up there with Debussy’s and Ravel’s chamber music.

...or his Cello Sonata, which is one of the finest works of its kind IMO. By turns a playful and deeply lyrical work. My cello teacher didn't even know that it existed... :(
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on October 24, 2017, 06:20:25 PM
...or his Cello Sonata, which is one of the finest works of its kind IMO.

Sure, but snyprrr was talking about the wind sonatas, which are favorites. I’m not too crazy about his Cello Sonata truth be told.

Edit: My mistake --- I was actually referring to his Violin Sonata not the one for cello. :-[ Yes, that Cello Sonata is a masterpiece.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc CONVINCE ME, OR NOT, CONCERNING HIS PIANO MUSIC
Post by: snyprrr on November 27, 2017, 09:26:03 AM
Piano Music

I dunno, I'm just not grabbing onto this... could it be that I like Francaix's PM better, or have I just not listened to all of it in order to get the gems? Or... what?


LIST YOUR FAV POST-DEBUSSY FRENCH PIANO MUSIC, PLEEEEEEEZ
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on November 27, 2017, 01:18:57 PM
Poulenc apparently complained about his own piano music, so you're in good company.

I seem to remember liking the Nocturnes, and the Intermezzi and later Improvisations. But it's been a while. Certainly, some of the earlier piano music is pretty insubstantial in my opinion.

EDIT: The music for 2 pianos is good. Can't believe I didn't say that.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on November 27, 2017, 01:26:56 PM
The Sonata for 2 Pianos is a marvelous work. I don't know many other solo piano works of his.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on November 27, 2017, 09:05:48 PM
The Sonata for 2 Pianos is a marvelous work. I don't know many other solo piano works of his.
realized I had this, and y its opening mysteryes, I am quite impressed by

Just

(this happens all the time :()

Yes, it's a great piece, opening with mystery.


Poulenc apparently complained about his own piano music, so you're in good company.

I seem to remember liking the Nocturnes, and the Intermezzi and later Improvisations. But it's been a while. Certainly, some of the earlier piano music is pretty insubstantial in my opinion.

EDIT: The music for 2 pianos is good. Can't believe I didn't say that.

ha!

I've been looking at the Piano Music of Poulenc, Francaix,Milhaud,... Milhaud has some serious works... but... I have to decide who will be my Miniaturist. I've been hemming and hawing over the 3CD set of Francaix,... I knowI've tried Poulenc before and not particularly liked it compared to others. oy, this is exhausting, looking into small things one really may not be into.

so, yea, the 2Piano Muisc seems to be Poulenc's outlet for serious Piano Music...hmm....

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on November 28, 2017, 08:31:46 AM
Am I alone in preferring Poulenc's underrated Piano Concerto to his much more popular Concerto for 2 Pianos? Sure, the PC is a bit derivative of Rachmaninoff in spots (and none the worse for that, IMO), but the first two movements are absolutely gorgeous and have some killer melodies. The cheeky finale seems a bit incongruous with the lyrical first two movements, though. As for the Concerto for 2 Pianos, I find it to be rather annoying in spots, and the constant wittiness grows a bit old after a while.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: snyprrr on November 29, 2017, 05:24:33 PM
Am I alone in preferring Poulenc's underrated Piano Concerto to his much more popular Concerto for 2 Pianos? Sure, the PC is a bit derivative of Rachmaninoff in spots (and none the worse for that, IMO), but the first two movements are absolutely gorgeous and have some killer melodies. The cheeky finale seems a bit incongruous with the lyrical first two movements, though. As for the Concerto for 2 Pianos, I find it to be rather annoying in spots, and the constant wittiness grows a bit old after a while.

I feel like you on both points


Just enjoyed the Harpsichord Concerto, very Stravinskian in a 'Jeu de Cartes' way. The Organ Cto. is too monumental for at the moment.


I also think I've said "no" to the Piano Music. He's too salon-ish in general here it seems to me. The 2Piano music seems much more serious. I just can't find ONE perfect piano piece by Poulenc, so Satiesque as to destroy me, but, no, I can't fins it...

I DID pop for that Francaix3CD set of Piano Muisc, tho,... lol... Francaix's PM just seems a little more straightforward to me,,,we'll see...
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc POULENC PROBLEM
Post by: snyprrr on January 06, 2018, 08:59:46 AM
I am tempted to get more of his music than I probably would care for... like the EratoBox,... but I know I wouldn't probably be into most all of the Vocal Music,... and I'm starting to suspect that I'm vexxing over some psychosomatic Stockholm Syndrome, whereby I MUST LIKE all that I hear, which, I don't.

The DutoitBox (5CD)is more manageable, but I'm even thinking this is too much,... I just don'tthink I enjoy 'Les Biches', the 'Animals', and the Aubade,... why do I feel like I MUST have them? I'm not even too keen on 'Pulcinella', so why would I get all sweaty over Paris@1928-32?

If I found ANY Box for $5, well, that would be a different story,... is $35 too much for Poulenc? :'(


btw- Dutoit seems quite lush and lux, whereas Pretre really gets down and dirty (and recorded IN YOUR FACE!): compare the Molto Vivace from the Sinfonietta to hear the real deal.


First World Problem ::) :P  :laugh:



and yes, I do feel stupid writing that,lol
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc POULENC PROBLEM
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2018, 08:32:13 AM
I am tempted to get more of his music than I probably would care for... like the EratoBox,... but I know I wouldn't probably be into most all of the Vocal Music,... and I'm starting to suspect that I'm vexxing over some psychosomatic Stockholm Syndrome, whereby I MUST LIKE all that I hear, which, I don't.

The DutoitBox (5CD)is more manageable, but I'm even thinking this is too much,... I just don'tthink I enjoy 'Les Biches', the 'Animals', and the Aubade,... why do I feel like I MUST have them? I'm not even too keen on 'Pulcinella', so why would I get all sweaty over Paris@1928-32?

If I found ANY Box for $5, well, that would be a different story,... is $35 too much for Poulenc? :'(


btw- Dutoit seems quite lush and lux, whereas Pretre really gets down and dirty (and recorded IN YOUR FACE!): compare the Molto Vivace from the Sinfonietta to hear the real deal.


First World Problem ::) :P  :laugh:



and yes, I do feel stupid writing that,lol

I never understand a lot of your rants as they just don’t make any logical sense ;), but I think you will like the vocal/choral music if you gave it a chance. Like for example, this Baudo recording is absolutely first-rate:

(https://img.discogs.com/CYo3I-OACkemW-18MESlIwTmi-M=/fit-in/459x458/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3795313-1376845584-5045.jpeg.jpg)

I can’t recommend this Baudo recording highly enough and this goes for anyone who’s interested in branching out from the concerti and chamber works. I do like Dutoit’s recordings of Poulenc, but I don’t rate him especially high in the choral works, but I do rather enjoy his Gloria. Prêtre is also an excellent Poulenc conductor and has turned in many great performances. The Erato set (EMI initially) is definitely worth checking out, although I don’t care for most of the performances of the chamber music in this set and still feel that Tharaud’s set on Naxos hasn’t been bettered.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: SymphonicAddict on December 16, 2018, 03:52:05 PM
How gratifying it is to listen to a work for the first time, having your ears fresh, and even more when the work packs a big deal of wit and grace. It's the case of the Concert champêtre: what fun and singular music! This work could only have been written by Poulenc. It's absolutely delightful all around, the harpsichord at its most both creative and eloquent. The concerto owns a very unique personality. Something curious is that Poulenc wrote it by using a big orchestra and not the more usual chamber ensemble. The harpsichord is not overshadowed by the other instruments, and all the details about it (melodies, development, orchestration, touch of genius, etc.) are blended in an unbeatable way.

In short, I was seriously fascinated by this piece.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on December 17, 2018, 09:52:27 AM
How gratifying it is to listen to a work for the first time, having your ears fresh, and even more when the work packs a big deal of wit and grace. It's the case of the Concert champêtre: what fun and singular music! This work could only have been written by Poulenc. It's absolutely delightful all around, the harpsichord at its most both creative and eloquent. The concerto owns a very unique personality. Something curious is that Poulenc wrote it by using a big orchestra and not the more usual chamber ensemble. The harpsichord is not overshadowed by the other instruments, and all the details about it (melodies, development, orchestration, touch of genius, etc.) are blended in an unbeatable way.

In short, I was seriously fascinated by this piece.

It’s a charming and inventive work for sure, Cesar. I love all four of Poulenc’s keyboard concerti, and perhaps my favorite is the least-known of the bunch, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor. It has Poulenc’s trademark elegance infused with a Rachmaninoffian sense of nostalgia. The opening theme is unforgettable, as is the lovely slow movement which covers a lot of emotional ground in its brief duration.

A great recent Poulenc discovery of mine was his Oboe Sonata. I don’t usually enjoy solo woodwind music a great deal, but my, this is such a lovely work! Poulenc was an undoubted master of melody.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on December 18, 2018, 07:13:43 AM
It’s a charming and inventive work for sure, Cesar. I love all four of Poulenc’s keyboard concerti, and perhaps my favorite is the least-known of the bunch, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor. It has Poulenc’s trademark elegance infused with a Rachmaninoffian sense of nostalgia. The opening theme is unforgettable, as is the lovely slow movement which covers a lot of emotional ground in its brief duration.

A great recent Poulenc discovery of mine was his Oboe Sonata. I don’t usually enjoy solo woodwind music a great deal, but my, this is such a lovely work! Poulenc was an undoubted master of melody.

I saw this and was reminded of how long it's been since I heard this piece, so I put on the Tacchino/Pretre/Paris Conservatorie recordings. What a hoot! I can't decide if the primary influence is Rachmaninoff, Mozart, or Bruckner. That middle section of the first movement, with the soaring brass chorales, is sublime and could give Anton a run for his money.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ket0FXKFL.jpg)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: SymphonicAddict on December 19, 2018, 12:59:31 PM
It’s a charming and inventive work for sure, Cesar. I love all four of Poulenc’s keyboard concerti, and perhaps my favorite is the least-known of the bunch, the Piano Concerto in C-sharp minor. It has Poulenc’s trademark elegance infused with a Rachmaninoffian sense of nostalgia. The opening theme is unforgettable, as is the lovely slow movement which covers a lot of emotional ground in its brief duration.

A great recent Poulenc discovery of mine was his Oboe Sonata. I don’t usually enjoy solo woodwind music a great deal, but my, this is such a lovely work! Poulenc was an undoubted master of melody.

My favorites are the Organ and the Harpsichord, but now according to your great perception of the Piano Concerto, I'll have to give it a spin since I don't remember it very well. As for his chamber music, I'm only familiar with the gorgeous Flute sonata, nothing else so far.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: North Star on December 19, 2018, 02:11:49 PM
My favorites are the Organ and the Harpsichord, but now according to your great perception of the Piano Concerto, I'll have to give it a spin since I don't remember it very well. As for his chamber music, I'm only familiar with the gorgeous Flute sonata, nothing else so far.
The clarinet sonata and oboe sonata are equally gorgeous, and the violin and cello sonatas are not far behind - and there's plenty to enjoy in the rest of the chamber music, too. I'd recommend checking out the Tharaud-led chamber music cycle on Naxos.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on December 19, 2018, 02:31:26 PM
The Cello Sonata is really fantastic, one of my favorite works by Poulenc and one of my favorite cello sonatas. Poulenc’s characteristic juxtapositions of sparkling wit and nostalgic lyricism are especially apparent in this work. The Violin Sonata is also great, although I found the 2nd and 3rd movements didn’t quite live up to the great promise of the 1st. I have yet to investigate the clarinet and flute sonatas.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: SymphonicAddict on December 19, 2018, 04:41:02 PM
The clarinet sonata and oboe sonata are equally gorgeous, and the violin and cello sonatas are not far behind - and there's plenty to enjoy in the rest of the chamber music, too. I'd recommend checking out the Tharaud-led chamber music cycle on Naxos.

Very good, duly noted. Thanks!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Herman on December 22, 2018, 12:44:17 AM
The clarinet sonata and the oboe sonata have always been my top Poulenc works. Particularly the latter is such an intense piece.

The Piano Concerto mentioned above is a great piece, it has had a rather chequered reception history, but by now we can just enjoy it for what it is. (Frankly I don't hear any Rachmaninoff in it, and I have a hard time picturing Poulenc even liking that composer.)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Maestro267 on October 24, 2019, 06:24:47 AM
I picked up a Decca 5-disc set of Poulenc's music today. I'm only familiar with the Organ Concerto and the Gloria, so a lot of this is new to me. Just listened to the Suite Française, for wind instruments, drum and harpsichord. What a charming work, especially the 2nd-movement Pavane!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on October 24, 2019, 06:38:48 AM
I picked up a Decca 5-disc set of Poulenc's music today. I'm only familiar with the Organ Concerto and the Gloria, so a lot of this is new to me. Just listened to the Suite Française, for wind instruments, drum and harpsichord. What a charming work, especially the 2nd-movement Pavane!

I’m not a huge fan of Poulenc’s orchestral music, but I do love the Concerto for Two Pianos and the Concerto for Organ, Strings, and Timpani. Both of these works are so fantastic. I prefer his chamber and choral works the most out everything he’s written.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: SymphonicAddict on October 24, 2019, 10:59:25 AM
The Piano Concerto is even superior to the two-piano one IMO. The former is just memorability and real fun. The harpsichord concerto Champêtre is not less so, it will surely make anyone smile. Some of his orchestral music is of high standard too: Les Animaux Modèles, Les Biches, Sinfonietta (heard recently, supremely engaging work), Aubade. I remember those for now.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: kyjo on December 15, 2019, 05:27:33 PM
I love pretty much everything Poulenc wrote, except for some of the solo piano music which I find rather trite. He’s such a supremely engaging composer whose music I cherish more and more. My current favorites of his are the Piano Concerto, Organ Concerto, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Cello Sonata, and Oboe Sonata.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 15, 2019, 05:37:49 PM
I love pretty much everything Poulenc wrote, except for some of the solo piano music which I find rather trite. He’s such a supremely engaging composer whose music I cherish more and more. My current favorites of his are the Piano Concerto, Organ Concerto, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Cello Sonata, and Oboe Sonata.

The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is very good, as is the sextet, and Les Biches.  In fact, I think all of his chamber works are some of his best music.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 15, 2019, 06:17:56 PM
The Aubade for piano and 18 instruments is very good, as is the sextet, and Les Biches.  In fact, I think all of his chamber works are some of his best music.

+1 I think very little of his solo piano music. I would also add his choral music as being particularly noteworthy.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 15, 2019, 09:06:16 PM
The Cello Sonata is really fantastic, one of my favorite works by Poulenc and one of my favorite cello sonatas. Poulenc’s characteristic juxtapositions of sparkling wit and nostalgic lyricism are especially apparent in this work. The Violin Sonata is also great, although I found the 2nd and 3rd movements didn’t quite live up to the great promise of the 1st. I have yet to investigate the clarinet and flute sonatas.

For me, the Violin Sonata is one of his weakest chamber pieces. I do like the Cello Sonata, but not as much as the sonatas for flute, clarinet, and oboe. These works are the works that continue to touch me the deepest.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: dissily Mordentroge on December 16, 2019, 02:05:46 AM
I’ve found asking around how Poulenc’s organ concerto is perceived provides a range of totally different impressions. One that startled me, and still overlays my emotions whenever I hear the work, was provided by a 95 year old friend, a retired orchestral cellist. She experienced the organ symphony as picturing someone like herself sitting in a garden remembering contrasting episodes in their long life until the last few bars illustrates the arrival of death.
Others have told me they experience a picturesque landscape and nothing more. I can’t see it myself.
As to his Gloria I can only describe it as sublime (if I manage to ignore the text)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 04:59:40 AM
For me, the Violin Sonata is one of his weakest chamber pieces.

Why do you think the violin sonata is one of Poulenc's weakest chamber works?  Have you analyzed it and can point out what you based your opinion on?  I am interested.

I am listening to it right now from this recording, which collects these works together in good performances, IMO.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61bdQr6epGL._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Maestro267 on December 16, 2019, 05:26:06 AM
Something I only discovered the other day, about my favourite passage in the Organ Concerto. Near the end, there's a solo playing over pizzicato strings and a deep organ pedal. All this time I assumed it was a solo cello playing in a mid- to upper-range, but it turns out it's a viola solo.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 07:45:13 AM
Why do you think the violin sonata is one of Poulenc's weakest chamber works?  Have you analyzed it and can point out what you based your opinion on?  I am interested.

I am listening to it right now from this recording, which collects these works together in good performances, IMO.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61bdQr6epGL._SY355_.jpg)

I try not to analyze the whys of why I dislike a piece of music --- it either resonates with me or it simply does not. Since you asked, I think my general problem with the Violin Sonata is the lack of sweetness to it and how the emotional feel of it doesn’t seem to coincide with Poulenc’s best music. That whole Tharaud series on Naxos is worth its’ weight in gold.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 08:09:27 AM
I try not to analyze the whys of why I dislike a piece of music --- it either resonates with me or it simply does not. Since you asked, I think my general problem with the Violin Sonata is the lack of sweetness to it and how the emotional feel of it doesn’t seem to coincide with Poulenc’s best music. That whole Tharaud series on Naxos is worth its’ weight in gold.

The fact that it resonates with you, or doesn't, is different from saying it is "weakest" of his chamber works.  That is what I wanted to nail down - you were just using a different phrase for saying that you did not like it as much his other chamber music. 

I agree about the Naxos sets, there are 5, although the 5th is not very interesting to me, what with two versions of Babar the Elephant.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 08:13:48 AM
The fact that it resonates with you, or doesn't, is different from saying it is "weakest" of his chamber works.  That is what I wanted to nail down - you were just using a different phrase for saying that you did not like it as much his other chamber music. 

I agree about the Naxos sets, there are 5, although the 5th is not very interesting to me, what with two versions of Babar the Elephant.

Well, I used the adjective ‘weak' because I don’t think the thematic material is strong nor is it memorable, which is why I suppose I don’t enjoy it as much as his other chamber works. You’d have to ask someone with more knowledge of music theory for a more thorough analysis.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 08:23:12 AM
Well, I used the adjective ‘weak' because I don’t think the thematic material is strong nor is it memorable, which is why I suppose I don’t enjoy it as much as his other chamber works. You’d have to ask someone with more knowledge of music theory for a more thorough analysis.

I don't think it is a "weak" work.  I just wondered if you had some objective reason for using that term - which implies some defect in the craft of the composition.  From now on I won't place any emphasis on your choice of words, since what you seem to always be saying is some version of either "I like it" or "I don't like it".

Nothing wrong with that - we are all entitled to our likes and dislikes - but being a composer myself, when someone says a work is "weak" I want to know why they think that. 

No offense intended.   ;)

Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 08:33:28 AM
I don't think it is a "weak" work.  I just wondered if you had some objective reason for using that term - which implies some defect in the craft of the composition.  From now on I won't place any emphasis on your choice of words, since what you seem to always be saying is some version of either "I like it" or "I don't like it".

Nothing wrong with that - we are all entitled to our likes and dislikes - but being a composer myself, when someone says a work is "weak" I want to know why they think that. 

No offense intended.   ;)

I think the problem here is the terminology, but, to be even more frank, everything we write on this forum that’s an opinion of a work is a variation of ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it’.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 11:55:18 AM
... everything we write on this forum that’s an opinion of a work is a variation of ‘I like it’ or ‘I don’t like it’.

I don't want to belabor the point, and this will be my last exchange with you about this, but there are those who can talk about a work beyond "I like it" or "I don't like it."  And I am not talking about trying to capture in words an emotional response to the music (much like what Mandryka posts), or talking about a programmatic association (like what dissily Mordentroge wrote about the Organ Concerto).

One could describe the method of how the composition works, thematic development, points about the specific harmonic language being employed; a discussion of rhythmic attributes, how silence/space is handled.  It doesn't happen often, and I am not saying that I enjoy those kinds of discussions more than others - but it is a something other than saying, "I like it" or 'I don't like it."

Granted, I usually just post about recordings I like ... and don't say much more than that.    ;)   But I would never describe a work as "weak" unless I were going to say why in musical analytical language.

 8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 12:01:54 PM
Getting back to Poulenc...

I have to say how incredible I think this recording is:

(https://img.discogs.com/YaBX4A8deK-VdBIMc4J8Cpu_0gk=/fit-in/600x569/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-11078016-1509522453-4131.jpeg.jpg)

I gifted this to Karl Henning (as I knew he’d appreciate it) and I do wish Baudo had conducted more of Poulenc’s music. Litanies à la Vierge Noire, in particular, was surprisingly good under Baudo’s baton.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Symphonic Addict on December 16, 2019, 04:00:35 PM
Am I the only person who finds the Concert Champêtre amazing? Poulenc at his quirkiest methinks.

I revisited Les Biches the other day and I was underwhelmed. It's like if Poulenc forced the music to be witty, but without much success IMO. It got tiresome after some minutes.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 04:21:37 PM
Am I the only person who finds the Concert Champêtre amazing? Poulenc at his quirkiest methinks.

I revisited Les Biches the other day and I was underwhelmed. It's like if Poulenc forced the music to be witty, but without much success IMO. It got tiresome after some minutes.

I’m not especially fond of Poulenc’s orchestral music, but I do love all of the concerti, including the delectable Concert Champêtre you mentioned. I seem to recall having a fondness for the ballet Les Animaux modèles. I’m more interested in his chamber and choral music, but I have to say I’ve gotten quite a bit into his solo piano music and the mélodies.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 04:39:47 PM
Am I the only person who finds the Concert Champêtre amazing? Poulenc at his quirkiest methinks.

I revisited Les Biches the other day and I was underwhelmed. It's like if Poulenc forced the music to be witty, but without much success IMO. It got tiresome after some minutes.

I had an LP back in the 1970s with the Aubade and Les Biches (suite) conducted by Georges Prêtre, and fell in love with both works (I can't find a cover of the LP I had, all I can find are the complete orchestral sets).  I can't relate to your comment about Les Biches, since the work charms me with its melodies and witty orchestration to this day. I have only heard the suite but might listen to the complete ballet just to see what I've been missing.

Poulenc has been a favorite composer of mine since I first heard his music, which was as I said back in the early '70s.

 8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Symphonic Addict on December 16, 2019, 04:41:58 PM
I’m not especially fond of Poulenc’s orchestral music, but I do love all of the concerti, including the delectable Concert Champêtre you mentioned. I seem to recall having a fondness for the ballet Les Animaux modèles. I’m more interested in his chamber and choral music, but I have to say I’ve gotten quite a bit into his solo piano music and the mélodies.

Les Animaux modèles contains some fine music indeed. The only piano work I know of his is Trois mouvements perpétuels. Short, memorable, entertaining pieces.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 04:43:20 PM
Les Animaux modèles contains some fine music indeed. The only piano work I know of his is Trois mouvements perpétuels. Short, memorable, entertaining pieces.

Give the Nocturnes and Improvisations a listen if you can.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Symphonic Addict on December 16, 2019, 04:48:04 PM
I had an LP back in the 1970s with the Aubade and Les Biches (suite) conducted by Georges Prêtre, and fell in love with both works (I can't find a cover of the LP I had, all I can find are the complete orchestral sets).  I can't relate to your comment about Les Biches, since the work charms me with its melodies and witty orchestration to this day. I have only heard the suite but might listen to the complete ballet just to see what I've been missing.

Poulenc has been a favorite composer of mine since I first heard his music, which was as I said back in the early '70s.

 8)

That was my perception about Les Biches that day. It gave me the impression that, if compared with others of his works, the saucy element of the music seemed not very convincing. You might feel something different.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Symphonic Addict on December 16, 2019, 04:49:19 PM
Give the Nocturnes and Improvisations at listen if you can.

Duly noted. Thank you!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 05:56:25 PM
My desert island Poulenc recordings:

(https://cdn11.bigcommerce.com/s-35bvwz4b63/images/stencil/2000x2000/products/11103/18372/28947851585__89783.1528438045.jpg?c=2)

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/5099969558450.jpg?1461084596)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51jSXhWSivL._SY355_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/4128G6Z94ML.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61JUdFok44L._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 06:18:31 PM
Some nice choices. Do you know any of the other mélodies recordings, San Antone? Like this set for example:

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571280219.png)

I bought this Hyperion set the other night. Really looking forward to it. I also own most of those EMI recordings, but I was looking for something a bit more modern sounding.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 06:26:51 PM
Some nice choices. Do you know any of the other mélodies recordings, San Antone? Like this set for example:

(https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/150dpi/034571280219.png)

I bought this Hyperion set the other night. Really looking forward to it. I also own most of those EMI recordings, but I was looking for something a bit more modern sounding.

I am a big fan of the Hyperion songs series, but haven't bought/heard the one you posted.  I usually stick with a recording that I've enjoyed for years and not buy others.  Also, of Poulenc's oeuvre, the songs are of lesser interest to me than the other works.

Actually, I don't feel any need to add to those five sets, except in newer recordings of the choral works, especially if there were a newer recording of the Mass in G, which is somewhat under represented.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 16, 2019, 06:50:12 PM
I am a big fan of the Hyperion songs series, but haven't bought/heard the one you posted.  I usually stick with a recording that I've enjoyed for years and not buy others.  Also, of Poulenc's oeuvre, the songs are of lesser interest to me than the other works.

Actually, I don't feel any need to add to those five sets, except in newer recordings of the choral works, especially if there were a newer recording of the Mass in G, which is somewhat under represented.

I don’t really understand your comment of how these works are of less interest to you when you posted the EMI set of them as part of your ‘desert island recordings’? That’s like saying you hate cheddar cheese, but you always have a slice of cheddar cheese on your ham biscuit in the morning. Anyway, his mélodies were of less interest to me until I heard Banalités and then I realized just what I’ve been missing. Sublime music.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 16, 2019, 07:08:57 PM
I don’t really understand your comment of how these works are of less interest to you when you posted the EMI set of them as part of your ‘desert island recordings’? That’s like saying you hate cheddar cheese, but you always have a slice of cheddar cheese on your ham biscuit in the morning. Anyway, his mélodies were of less interest to me until I heard Banalités and then I realized just what I’ve been missing. Sublime music.

You misunderstood me.  I enjoy them, and I especially enjoy that EMI recording of the melodies - but as to the degree that I enjoy them, and the frequency that I listen to the songs compared to the other works, it is less. 

They still make my desert island list, though.  I might check out that Hyperion set, since as I said, I am a fan of their other series, e.g. Schubert, Schumann, and Liszt.

 8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Madiel on December 17, 2019, 01:34:25 AM
I don't want to belabor the point, and this will be my last exchange with you about this, but there are those who can talk about a work beyond "I like it" or "I don't like it."  And I am not talking about trying to capture in words an emotional response to the music (much like what Mandryka posts), or talking about a programmatic association (like what dissily Mordentroge wrote about the Organ Concerto).

One could describe the method of how the composition works, thematic development, points about the specific harmonic language being employed; a discussion of rhythmic attributes, how silence/space is handled.  It doesn't happen often, and I am not saying that I enjoy those kinds of discussions more than others - but it is a something other than saying, "I like it" or 'I don't like it."

Granted, I usually just post about recordings I like ... and don't say much more than that.    ;)   But I would never describe a work as "weak" unless I were going to say why in musical analytical language.

 8)

There is practically zero evidence of this kind of analysis on GMG. I agree with Mirror Image. For all intents and purposes, everything here is like or dislike.

And even if anyone frames their views in terms of claims about how a composition works... that's still at heart a like or dislike because there simply is no one correct way for a composition to work. Some of the most famous and greatest pieces of music are famous and considered great precisely because they broke previous notions of how compositions are supposed to work.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Cato on December 18, 2019, 10:02:35 AM
Getting back to Poulenc...

I have to say how incredible I think this recording is:

(https://img.discogs.com/YaBX4A8deK-VdBIMc4J8Cpu_0gk=/fit-in/600x569/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-11078016-1509522453-4131.jpeg.jpg)

I gifted this to Karl Henning (as I knew he’d appreciate it) and I do wish Baudo had conducted more of Poulenc’s music. Litanies à la Vierge Noire, in particular, was surprisingly good under Baudo’s baton.

Yes, a great work and Serge Baudo was also at his best with his Czech Philharmonic records of Honegger's comnpositions!
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2019, 10:52:12 AM
Yes, a great work and Serge Baudo was also at his best with his Czech Philharmonic records of Honegger's comnpositions!

Yes, indeed. I would say if anyone is interested in Honegger’s symphonic music, then Baudo is difficult beat. I don’t listen to Honegger a whole lot, but there are several works of his that I love (like the 2nd and 3rd symphonies for example). I’m less keen on his chamber music, but his SQs are worth investigating.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2019, 11:40:23 AM
I want to an extend an apology to San Antone for my negative tone in regards to the Violin Sonata. I think this is a wonderful work and it’s full of emotional suspense. I’m not really sure why I didn’t respond to it before or even why I came to my harsh conclusion about it, but, I was wrong, and I’m proud to say I was wrong.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: San Antone on December 18, 2019, 12:34:58 PM
I want to an extend an apology to San Antone for my negative tone in regards to the Violin Sonata. I think this is a wonderful work and it’s full of emotional suspense. I’m not really sure why I didn’t respond to it before or even why I came to my harsh conclusion about it, but, I was wrong, and I’m proud to say I was wrong.

Thanks, but there was no need for an apology, at least not to me.   ;)    All is well.  I am happy that you have found something in the violin sonata to enjoy, I've always thought it was one of his more interesting works.

 8)
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2019, 02:51:13 PM
Thanks, but there was no need for an apology, at least not to me.   ;)    All is well.  I am happy that you have found something in the violin sonata to enjoy, I've always thought it was one of his more interesting works.

 8)

Well, I feel bad for arguing with you about it, but, yes, I’m quite enjoying it now. There does seem to be a bit of that give-and-take in this work that make the late sonatas so ear-fetching. I’m not sure why Poulenc wrote off these string sonatas, but I think highly of both them.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: vers la flamme on December 18, 2019, 04:12:13 PM
^Interesting reading about these Poulenc chamber works. I think I might pick up that Tharaud/Naxos disc that includes the violin sonata – unless there is a better recording out there...? I've been enjoying the piano works of Poulenc (as played by Pascal Rogé, primarily) as well as the Baudo disc that MI previously mentioned in this thread, but I am less up-to-date on his chamber music. Poulenc was a great composer. When I first heard his music I thought I'd discovered the French Prokofiev. But I now see there are more sides to him than that.

P.S. Does anyone else enjoy the C major Novelette as much as I do? I have a CD with a very old recording of Vladimir Horowitz performing it along with other works of Poulenc, Debussy, Prokofiev and Kabalevsky, and it seriously blew me away when I first heard it. Extremely beautiful, brief piano piece.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2019, 04:51:45 PM
^Interesting reading about these Poulenc chamber works. I think I might pick up that Tharaud/Naxos disc that includes the violin sonata – unless there is a better recording out there...? I've been enjoying the piano works of Poulenc (as played by Pascal Rogé, primarily) as well as the Baudo disc that MI previously mentioned in this thread, but I am less up-to-date on his chamber music. Poulenc was a great composer. When I first heard his music I thought I'd discovered the French Prokofiev. But I now see there are more sides to him than that.

P.S. Does anyone else enjoy the C major Novelette as much as I do? I have a CD with a very old recording of Vladimir Horowitz performing it along with other works of Poulenc, Debussy, Prokofiev and Kabalevsky, and it seriously blew me away when I first heard it. Extremely beautiful, brief piano piece.

Yes, that entire Tharaud series on Naxos is excellent and worth looking into. I’m not sure if I’d say these chamber music performance are any better than the ones I’ve heard from Rogé on Decca or in the Erato (formally EMI) Œuvres complètes box set, but they have certainly convinced me of Poulenc’s greatness or, at least, made me appreciate his music even more. Another yes to the Novelettes. A beautiful suite of piano miniatures.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Maestro267 on December 20, 2019, 04:18:24 AM
Listening to Les Animaux modèles for the first time...my oh my, this is stunningly beautiful music! Right from the off. Wonderfully scored as well for a decent-sized orchestra, with all sections well represented.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on December 20, 2019, 06:42:54 AM
Listening to Les Animaux modèles for the first time...my oh my, this is stunningly beautiful music! Right from the off. Wonderfully scored as well for a decent-sized orchestra, with all sections well represented.

Yes, that’s fantastic work! I need to revisit it at some point.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on July 23, 2020, 04:04:40 AM
Nice complete piano works set, including transcribed works. Gray’s performance is lyrical and majestic. There is warmness and love in his playing.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on August 04, 2020, 04:36:38 AM
Am I the only person who finds the Concert Champêtre amazing? Poulenc at his quirkiest methinks.

I revisited Les Biches the other day and I was underwhelmed. It's like if Poulenc forced the music to be witty, but without much success IMO. It got tiresome after some minutes.

I like Concert Champetre too. I want to mention 2 recordings- (relatively) old and new one. The Hickox set is not well-known, but the City of London Sinfonia and soloists present very artistic renditions. While the piano concerto is played a little slower, the performance is majestic and atmospheric. Champetre sounds cute, elegant and lively. I've never heard this orchestra except this recording, but their performance is versatile and refined.

The Bebbington/Latham-Koenig album was released only few month ago. The pianist performs the Concerto and the Champetre very well. Interestingly, the Champetre is played with piano rather than harpsichord. I think the song sounds pretty good. Even David Hurwitz, notorious critic on the GMG, liked it. As for my opinion, however, while the materials in the album are well-played, the music lacks nuance and color overall. It is a fine performance, but I would give A minus or B plus. Nonetheless, the album has been well-received by critics, and many people may find the album excellent.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Symphonic Addict on August 04, 2020, 05:18:55 PM
I like Concert Champetre too. I want to mention 2 recordings- (relatively) old and new one. The Hickox set is not well-known, but the City of London Sinfonia and soloists present very artistic renditions. While the piano concerto is played a little slower, the performance is majestic and atmospheric. Champetre sounds cute, elegant and lively. I've never heard this orchestra except this recording, but their performance is versatile and refined.

The Bebbington/Latham-Koenig album was released only few month ago. The pianist performs the Concerto and the Champetre very well. Interestingly, the Champetre is played with piano rather than harpsichord. I think the song sounds pretty good. Even David Hurwitz, notorious critic on the GMG, liked it. As for my opinion, however, while the materials in the album are well-played, the music lacks nuance and color overall. It is a fine performance, but I would give A minus or B plus. Nonetheless, the album has been well-received by critics, and many people may find the album excellent.

I've wanted to hear the Champêtre in its piano version. That recording looks like the best option.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on October 09, 2020, 06:43:18 AM
Some other piano boxes. The Roge box is popular, and the performance is relaxed and lyrical. It is not bad, but it is often slow, flat, and an old style. Eric Parkin generally plays faster than anybody discussed here. I like some of his renditions while I don’t like others. Sometimes, some passages fail to shine due to the rapid execution. I like Paul Crossley, but I think that this box is average, if not poor. The music lacks color and uniqueness. The Le Sage set sounds very good. The music is vibrant, colorful and thrilling. The recording sound is very good though personally I would want the left hand side louder. The box includes the well-regarded piano concerti recording with Deneve. Overall, I like the Le Sage set and Antony Gray set I mentioned above.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on October 09, 2020, 06:46:37 AM
Le Sage
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Herman on January 10, 2021, 04:03:38 AM
The last few days I have been listening a lot to some of Poulenc's chamber music. The sonatas for Clarinet and for Oboe, which are the last pieces he composed, I believe. There are two youtube videos from Radio France, with the soloists from the Philharmonique, Nicolas Baldeyrou and Olivier Doise. Those performances are really top grade.

A piece I had not known for several decades is L'invitation au Chateau, for piano, violin and clarinet. It's from 1947 and on the lighter side, with two waltzes and a tango. Quite enjoyable.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: ritter on January 10, 2021, 05:30:29 AM
A piece I had not known for several decades is L'invitation au Chateau, for piano, violin and clarinet. It's from 1947 and on the lighter side, with two waltzes and a tango. Quite enjoyable.
I listened to that not too long ago. It’s the incidental music to a play by Jean Anouilh (whose work I’ll start exploring sometime soon). I enjoyed L’Invitation au Château.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Herman on January 10, 2021, 09:58:35 AM
Yeah, I know. I believe Anouilh's instruction was that it should not sound "like music".
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Mirror Image on January 14, 2021, 09:26:44 PM
Some other piano boxes. The Roge box is popular, and the performance is relaxed and lyrical. It is not bad, but it is often slow, flat, and an old style. Eric Parkin generally plays faster than anybody discussed here. I like some of his renditions while I don’t like others. Sometimes, some passages fail to shine due to the rapid execution. I like Paul Crossley, but I think that this box is average, if not poor. The music lacks color and uniqueness. The Le Sage set sounds very good. The music is vibrant, colorful and thrilling. The recording sound is very good though personally I would want the left hand side louder. The box includes the well-regarded piano concerti recording with Deneve. Overall, I like the Le Sage set and Antony Gray set I mentioned above.

My go-to pianist in the solo piano works is Gabriel Tacchino. He’s done for these works what Aldo Ciccolini has done for Satie.
Title: Re: Francis Poulenc
Post by: Dry Brett Kavanaugh on January 15, 2021, 05:37:27 AM
My go-to pianist in the solo piano works is Gabriel Tacchino. He’s done for these works what Aldo Ciccolini has done for Satie.

Yes, his disc sounds very good.