Poulenc: Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 1: Sextet for Piano &Wind; Oboe Sonata; Flute Sonata,

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COMPOSERS: Poulenc
LABELS: Naxos
WORKS: Complete Chamber Music, Vol. 1: Sextet for Piano &Wind; Oboe Sonata; Flute Sonata,
PERFORMER: Alexandre Tharaud (piano), Philippe Bernold (flute, recorder), Olivier Doise (oboe), Ronald Van Spaendonck (clarinet), Laurent Lefèvre (bassoon), Hervé Joulain (horn)
CATALOGUE NO: 8.553611
Experiencing the chamber works of Poulenc en masse is like sitting in a room with all the siblings from a large family. It is not long before the younger children start to misbehave. This would be endearing if they were on their own, but here it distracts and detracts from what their older brothers and sisters are trying to say. Despite genuine affection for them, their respective charms are lost in the general hubbub. The performances on this first volume of the complete chamber music are spirited to the extent of being overbearing. This causes few problems in the Sextet and Trio, but, despite some deliciously inspired moments, the late sonatas for flute and oboe fare less well. Both Philippe Bernold and Olivier Doise are breathy players whose ability to control quieter passages compensates only partially for their lack of finesse elsewhere. They are not assisted by a recording which places the listener inside the bore of the instrument so that, at times, just about everything can be heard except the notes. Disappointing. Christopher Dingle

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