Francis Poulenc (1899-1963)

Sextet for Piano & Winds

(1932/39)
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While Ibert cheerfully drew from a diversity of styles, those of his contemporaries known as Les Six were united in part by their rejection of certain schools of thought – particularly romanticism and French impressionism. Yet the musical ideals held dear by Les Six – simplicity and clarity – are the very characteristics attributed to what are now Ibert’s most successful compositions. 

Of Les Six composers, Poulenc became the most famous. Like Ibert, his rst exposure to music was through his piano-playing mother, who began teaching him at a young age. He later became an accomplished performer, no doubt informing his treatment of the piano as an equal member of any chamber ensemble rather than mere accompanist. This Sextet is a case in point: the piano scarcely rests throughout the entire work - sometimes providing a point of anchor, at others taking the lead. The first movement juxtaposes bright and busy vivacity with more soulful rejection, while the second movement is somewhat nostalgic. The final movement alternates between jazzy playfulness and sentimental yearnings, drawing to a close with a sweetly wistful coda. 

Ensemble

Kristian Chong (piano), James Fortune (flute), Georgina Roberts (oboe), David Rowden (clarinet), Ben Hoadley (bassoon), Michael Dixon (horn)

Video Credits

Audio recording by Fine Music
Omega Ensemble gratefully acknowledges their support
Bruce Terry - Videographer