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Poulenc: Concerto for 2 Pianos; Piano Concerto; Aubade
Francis Poulenc, James Conlon, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Poulenc: Concerto for 2 Pianos; Piano Concerto; Aubade
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1


      
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CD Reviews

A Twentieth Century Mozart
Micromegas | Ada, OK | 10/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is one of my favorite Poulenc discs, and certainly among my favorite twentieth century concertos. Poulenc has such a flair for combining a Mozartean sense of drama and lightness, while at the same time spinning out an endless stream of melody. His musical personality is full of wit and irreverent humor, though not at the expense of a serious voice with something vital to say. We see this clearly in the Concerto for 2 Pianos, which is perhaps my favorite work by Poulenc. The tradition is a mix of Ravel and Prokofiev, with a dash of Chabrier and Rossini. Of course, the argument and melodies are all Poulenc's own, from the dark opening movement to the graceful, senusous slow movement, which is a homage to Mozart. The irreverence returns with a madcap finale, sending both pianists into spasms of delightful note spinning. I have only heard a handful of Concertos for 2 Pianos, but I can't imagine too many composers pulling it off this winningly.

The Piano Concerto is little played, yet it is an immaculate work, the first two movements displaying a Rachmaninovian sense of melody and sweep. The artless melody that opens the concerto propells the entire first movement, yet never sounds forced or mawkish; it's one of his greatest inspirations. The finale, like the previous concerto, cuts a merry caper and thumbs its nose at the concerto tradition (and is a very close relation to the finale of Ravel's Concerto in G).

Aubade was a ballet scenario based on the myth of Diana, and is thus a kind of "Daphnis et Chloe," albiet through Poulenc's impassionated wit. It is a turns menacing and brilliant, offering some of Poulenc's greatest concertante writing, with the piano stealing the show. It is a concerto in all but name, and because of its theatrical background, displays more range than the less showy Piano Concerto.

Conlon has a genuine talent with French music (and music of this tradition, as in his recordings of Martinu), and the Rotterdam Philharmonic is top notch. Likewise, the pianists, Duchable and Collard, play magnificently, especially in the Concerto for 2 Pianos, offering virtuousity and soul. There is no greater argument for Poulenc's talent than this disc...well worth owning even if you have alternative versions of any of these works."
Astonishing Poulenc
RUI DOSREIS | Suisse | 03/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"French composer Francis Poulenc can hardly fit into any category or artistic style. It's unique, it's surprising, it's pure music and of the highest inspiration. The Concerto for two pianos is a milestone of the XXth century keyboard music. In this recording, François-René Duchâble and Jean-Philippe Collard give a brilliant interpretation supported by the non less brilliant RPO with a very dynamic James Conlon conducting.
A must buy for real music lovers."