F. Poulenc, Complete Chamber Music, v. 1
F. Poulenc, Complete Chamber Music, v. 2
F. Poulenc, Complete Chamber Music, v. 3
F. Poulenc, Complete Chamber Music, v. 4
F. Poulenc, Complete Chamber Music, v. 5
If you are unfamiliar with Poulenc you can best discover his musical palette (none of which should be intimmidating: Poulenc is among the most accessible of the important 20th century composers) with a selection from his chamber and orchestral works as well as his opera Dialogues des Carmélites. The chamber music has been well recorded by Naxos with none less than Alexandre Tharaud on the piano. The best orchestral overview (and in fact the best starting place for Poulenc newbies) is the Double-Decca disc of his concertos (piano, two pianos, harpsichord, organ) and the Gloria. The Dialogues has received a seminal recording from Dervaux in the 50s (EMI), and it took half a century to be challenged seriously with Nagano’s account on Virgin.
The players that tackled this fun – but by no means easy – work were Lambert Orkis (piano), Toshiko Kohno (flute), Rudolf Vrbsky (oboe), Loren Kitt (clarinet), Sue Heinemann (bassoon), and Martin Hackleman (horn), who combined for a very enjoyable performance.
It was a day of considerate, informative, and mercifully brief speeches – Hackleman’s before the Brahms horn trio superior especially on the third count. Mr. Orkis ‘accompanied’ nicely on the piano, Hackleman performed his part quite well, too, and Marissa Regni (the NSO’s principal second violin) got into the spirit before long, too… although sounding conspicuously like a viola for most of the trio. The work is lovely and pleased even in something short of an inspirational performance. The lugubrious slow movement didn’t help; it went beyond ‘funereal’ towards ‘boring’), but a lively finale made up for it.
Daniel "Il Divo" Ginsberg, Kennedy Center Chamber Players (Washington Post, February 6)