POULENC: Suite française d’après Charles Gervaise.1,2 Sérénade d’après la huitème des chansons Gaillardes.1,2 L’Invitation au château: Musique de scène pour la pièce de Jean Anouilh.1,3,4 Un joyeur de flute berce les ruines.5 Villanelle.1,6 Deux Mélodies pour baritone et piano.1,7 La Travail du Peintre1,7 / 1Eva-Marie May, pno; 2Martin Rummel, cel; 3Corinna Desch, vln; 4Andreas Schlabas, cl; Ahran Kim, 5fl/6pic; 7Damien Gastl, bar / Paladino Music PMR 0068
Several of these pieces already have classic accounts in the catalog, but it’s always fun to listen to Poulenc’s music and a few of these pieces are new to me, so I gave this disc a whirl. The recorded sound has a touch more reverb than I would have liked, but the instruments are miked closely and thus have a realistic sound.
I was tempted to do my usual musical analysis of each piece, but Poulenc is such a known quantity in the classical music world that I decided not to spoil the fun for those of you who, like me, have never heard the Suite française d’après Charles Gervaise, the Sérénade d’après la hutème or some of the other fairly uncommon works on this program, except to make a few comments here and there. I was surprised, for instance, that the first suite has more serious slow movements than fast, sprightly ones, or that much of L’Invitation au château sounds like French movie music, but it’s true. The Villanelle, usually played by a recorder but played here by a piccolo, is one of Poulenc’s more famous pieces, but the lyrical and slightly sad Un joyeur de flute berce les ruines for flute is not nearly as well known.
The CD concludes with more familiar material, the Deux Mélodies and La Travail du Peintre, sung with a lovely light touch by baritone Damien Gastl. All in all, perhaps not a Poulenc disc that will reveal new things about the composer and including some music that is as much if not more entertaining than meaty, but one of those perfect “Sunday afternoon relaxing” discs that will bring a smile to your face.
—© 2020 Lynn René Bayley
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