This collection should be the ideal tonic for a bright spring afternoon, sitting by the window! The early 20th century music is consistently refreshing and aromatically sensuous with a wide variety, although the style is consistently similar.
Poulenc's Sonata for Flute and Piano is the ideal beginning and is a beautiful three-movement piece whilst Georges Auric's, "Imaginees I' is a constant diversion that is truly magical. Sandwiched in between these long pieces, is Auric's short two-minute Aria and Germaine Taileferre's ideally relaxed Pastorale.
"Album des Six' is a short collection of solo piano pieces by each of the six composers and Andrew West finds much charm and bucolic imagery in all of them. I warmed to Poulenc's ubiquitous "Valse' and Durey's "Romance sans Parole' but each composer has a striking word to say in his/her own right.
Louis Durey is probably the one member of the group who is totally unknown but, on the strength of the "Sonatine' and "Deux Dialogues', his musical imagery is quite second to none.
There is music by Arthur Honegger in the form of "Danse de la chevre" and a Romance whilst Darius Milhaud's exquisite Sonatine concludes a ravishingly played disc with aplomb and intellectual mastery.
Recordings are vivid and intimately balanced with both Emily Benyon and Andrew West very mannered exponents of this charmingly sedate "salon' music. Another strong contender from the thoroughbred Hyperion stable.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech