Poulenc Chamber Music David Jalbert Pentaedre 2013

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Poulenc: Chamber Music - David Jalbert, Pentaedre (2013)
Classical | MP3 320kbps CBR | 1 CD | 160 MB
Label: Atma Classique | Catalog Number: 22646 | Rls.date: 11th March 2013

To mark the 50th anniversary of Francis Poulenc's death (1899-1963), Pentaèdre offers a wide range of chamber music by this famous French composer. Pentaèdre is composed of five musicians whose talent, technique, and precision are renowned. Flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon each provide their very specific colour to create a rich, unique, and homogeneous sonority that is the ensemble's distinctive trademark. Canadian pianist David Jalbert joins the group for the works with piano.

Reviews: Poulenc has been unusually well served of late by a couple of recent releases purporting to contain his complete chamber works for winds. First to arrive was a two-disc French set from Indésens, featuring a cast of players from the Paris Orchestra, reviewed in 34:4. That was followed by an almost identical set on Champs Hill featuring the London Conchord Ensemble, reviewed in 36:1. Neither set was 100 percent complete, as advertised, but both were irresistible feasts for the Poulenc lover.

Here, on a single disc, we have a more modest collection of Poulenc's wind works, but one which nonetheless contains at least four of the composer's better-known, more popular pieces-the Sextet for piano and winds, the sonatas for flute and clarinet, and the Trio for piano, oboe, and bassoon. There's one item on this CD that's missing from both the Indésens and Champs Hill ?uvres completes , but not without good reason, and that's the Novelette . Poulenc composed a set of three such pieces in 1927-28 for piano solo, not for winds. The Novelette heard here is the first of them, the one in C Major, presented in a transcription for wind quintet by British horn player and conductor Geoffrey Emerson.

With the exception of the trio, the earliest composed work on the disc (1926) and the sextet, the second earliest composed work on the disc (1940), the remaining items-the Flute Sonata (1957), the Élégie (1957), and the Clarinet Sonata (1962)-date from Poulenc's last years and have a valedictory quality about them. Even the merriment of the flute sonata's first and last movements doesn't conceal the wistfulness that lies beneath it, and the Satie-like sadness of the slow movement is heartbreaking.

If a sense of melancholy pervades the flute sonata, it's a much bleaker feeling one experiences in the slow movement of the clarinet sonata, Poulenc's penultimate opus number, composed in the year before his death. Even the circus barker's music in the last movement shrieks with a feeling of increasing desperation and hysteria.

If you haven't yet lent an ear to Poulenc's chamber music for winds, and you're hesitant to invest in either of the above-mentioned two-disc sets, this single CD from Atma is the ideal initiate's album. It contains some of the composer's best and most beautiful music in idiomatic performances by this Canadian-French ensemble of musicians calling itself Pentaèdre. Thoroughly steeped in and attuned to the style, the players are technically flawless and highly responsive to Poulenc's mercurial musical moods. Atma's recording, made in 2010 in the Salle Pierre-Mercure at Montréal's Pierre-Péladeau Center, balances the instruments beautifully in an open, spacious acoustic setting. Strongly recommended.


1. Sextet, FP 100: I. Allegro vivace: Tres vite et emporte
2. Sextet, FP 100: II. Divertissement: Andantino
3. Sextet, FP 100: III. Finale: Prestissimo
4. Flute Sonata, FP 164: I. Allegro malinconico
5. Flute Sonata, FP 164: II. Cantilena
6. Flute Sonata, FP 164: III. Presto giocoso
7. Elegie for Horn and Piano, FP 168
8. Clarinet Sonata, FP 184: I. Allegro tristamente: Allegretto - Tres calme - Tempo allegretto
9. Clarinet Sonata, FP 184: II. Romanza: Tres calme
10. Clarinet Sonata, FP 184: III. Allegro con fuoco: Tres anime
11. Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, FP 43: I. Presto
12. Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, FP 43: II. Andante
13. Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, FP 43: III. Rondo
14. 2 Novelettes: Novelette No. 1 in C major: Modere sans lenteur


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Tags: Pentaedre, Jalbert, Chamber, Poulenc
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