Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

The complete works of Les Six for flute and piano
Francis POULENC: Sonata for flute and piano
Germaine TAILLEFERRE: Pastorale
Georges AURIC: Imaginées I
: Sonatine
Romance; Danse de la chèvre
Germaine TAILLEFERRE Forlane; Pastorale.
Louis Durey: Deux dialogues (solo flute)
Darius Milhaud: Sonatine
Emily Beynon (flute) Andrew West (piano)
HYPERION CDA67204 [73.25]
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The composers of Les Six are really very different in character, at least as far as their mature personalities are concerned. However, there was a brief period in the Paris of the post-First World War period when they came together under the influence of Jean Cocteau, and the name attributed to them as a group of talented young composers has proved to be obstinately memorable.

In that sense the programme collected here is appropriately cohesive, featuring their collected works for flute and piano. But what does that mean? The answer is simple. It means, duos and solos for both instruments, and music that dates from that special brief period. Therefore the music has a unity which is intensified by the subtle individualities which were already emerging.

It is particularly interesting to have the chance to hear music by the less famous members of the group: Louis Durey, Germaine Tailleferre and Georges Auric. The others -Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc - are altogether better known and established themselves as major figures in 20th century music.

And there are some real gems here; not great masterpieces but delightful flights of musical elegance and wit. Ironically the longest piece in the collection is by Durey: his Sonatine. But it is the shorter items which are generally the most pleasing. Honegger's charming Romance and Danse de la chèvre, Tailleferre's Forlane and Pastorale.

To get the most out of this disc it is probably wiser to hear a few items separately rather than to sit through the whole programme. That is not a criticism, merely an observation about the nature of the music. For with artistry of the highest order from Emily Beynon and Andrew West, plus excellent recorded sound, this disc is highly recommended.

Terry Barfoot

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