MUSIC REVIEWS: The performances in Mark Bebbington’s album are first class… it lacks only the final bit of Gallic charm and insouciance that Poulenc brought
Francis Poulenc: Piano Concerto & Concert Champêtre Out now
Igor Stravinsky, not a great one for dishing out prizes to his colleagues, declared that Poulenc had the greatest melodic gift of any 20th- century composer. This 72-minute album provides evidence of that in almost every bar.
This album, with four masterpieces from the concerto and chamber music repertoire, is as good an introduction to Poulenc’s art as you will find.
The Piano Concerto is a display piece, composed for Poulenc himself to play with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The Concert Champêtre was originally intended for the harpsichord but increasingly played on the piano, and is more rustic.
It is especially well performed here by the British pianist Mark Bebbington.
This album, with four masterpieces from the concerto and chamber music repertoire, is as good an introduction to Poulenc’s art as you will find
Poulenc’s Bach and Mozart-inspired Trio For Piano, Oboe & Bassoon is 13 minutes of the purest joy; a piece I have loved for more than half a century.
The Sonata For Oboe & Piano – his last completed work – has a more sombre and serious atmosphere, perhaps suggesting he was aware time was running out. The performances here are first class, lacking only the final bit of Gallic charm and insouciance that Poulenc and his mates brought to bear in the recordings they bequeathed to us.
THIS WEEK’S CD RELEASES
By Adam Woods
Adam Lambert Velvet Out now
Best known for being the man who wears Freddie Mercury’s old shoes in Queen, Adam Lambert saves any new music for his own career. Velvet sometimes sacrifices memorability for mood, so its best songs tend to be its best grooves, notably Superpower and the Nile Rodgers team-up Roses
Brian Fallon Local Honey Out Friday
As a gutsy rocker from New Jersey, Brian Fallon is often compared to Bruce Springsteen. That won’t stop as long as he keeps writing songs mentioning carnivals and ‘tilt-a-whirls’, as he does on Vincent from his new album Local Honey, on which he sets aside effortless anthems for quiet, intimate reflection