L'ALBUM DES SIX
The complete works of Les Six for flute and
Francis POULENC: Sonata for flute and
Georges AURIC: Imaginées
Artur HONEGGER Romance; Danse de la
Germaine TAILLEFERRE Forlane;
Louis Durey: Deux dialogues
Emily Beynon (flute) Andrew West (piano)
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
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.