WORKS: Poulenc: Aubade; Trio for Oboe, Bassoon & Piano; Nocturnes, ; Honegger: Cello Concerto; Pastorale d’été
PERFORMER: Francis Poulenc (piano), Maurice Maréchal (cello)Paris Conservatoire Orchestra/Arthur Honegger
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 55036 2 ADD mono
Neither Honegger nor Poulenc became a virtuoso performer; but each composer, and especially Poulenc, was a noted interpreter of his own music. Here we have Arthur Honegger conducting two of his most appealing orchestral works, while his friend Francis Poulenc is featured in chamber and piano music, and the Aubade for piano and small orchestra.
It is a tribute to the quality of the transfers that the ear so readily adjusts to these various recordings, made between 1928 and 1943. Of course the sound quality is inconsistent and never achieves the sensitivity and detail of a modern recording, but on the whole the music is well served.
Maurice Maréchal is an impressive soloist in the Honegger Cello Concerto, above all conveying a sure sense of line and expressive integrity. But, while Honegger brings an ideal balance of tempi in the Pastorale d’été, neither the playing nor the recording creates the right atmosphere for this appealing music.
Wit, charm and tenderness abound in these Poulenc pieces, and who better to convey such qualities than the composer himself? Perhaps they are too similar in outlook to build a satisfying programme as a sequence, but taken separately they give much pleasure, especially the wonderfully inventive Aubade. Terry Barfoot