Poulenc: Gloria; Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani; Concert champêtre

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Poulenc
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: Gloria; Concerto for Organ, Strings and Timpani; Concert champêtre
PERFORMER: Kathleen Battle (soprano), Simon Preston (organ), Everett Firth (timpani), Trevor Pinnock (harpsichord); Boston SO/Seiji Ozawa
CATALOGUE NO: 445 567-2 DDD (1989-95)
This triple coupling looks attractive, but the problems are rife. Neither the snatches of brilliant Boston orchestral playing nor Battle’s impassioned solos can make up for the Gloria’s grungy, semi-inaudible chorus, or the whimsical balancing of the whole. Preston and Pinnock emerge best on their own, their solos uncluttered. Ozawa’s ultra-brisk pacings colour all three pieces: snappy and exciting, certainly; but an increasing nerviness sets in, with some frenetic time changes, a bit like a race to get home for teatime. He does bring to the foreground the Stravinsky underlay (as in the lesser-known Concert champêtre) – a plus. But a hectic ride, at worst cavalier. Roderic Dunnett

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