One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Francis POULENC (1899-1963)
Intermède (1952) [2:31]
Thème Varié (1951) [11:15]
Trois Movements Perpétuels (1918) [5:39]
Valse-improvisation sur le nom de BACH (1952) [2:01]
Fifteen Improvisations (1933-1959) [25:12]
Badinage (1934) [1:53]
Mélancolie (1940) [6:15]
Trois Pièces (1918-1928) [8:41]
Aleck Karis (piano)
rec. 19-21 December 2014, Summer Center, Concordia College, Bronxville, New York, U.S.A.
BRIDGE 9459 [63:45]

What could be more enjoyable than a Poulenc piano recital? This is neo-classicism at its best: clean and bitter-sweet. It is intimate in scale, yet its attitudes still keeps the listener at a somewhat puzzling distance. The pieces are like tiny morsels of ice, often assuming gently mocking contours, revealing the heritage of great French baroque harpsichord pieces. The music is not profound, but it is rarely superficial.

American pianist Aleck Karis is a professor at the University of California, San Diego, and has made a broad range of recordings, from Mozart and Chopin to Stravinsky, John Cage and Morton Feldman.

Karis includes several of the most popular Poulenc works, including the Theme and Variations of 1951, the Mouvements Perpétuels of 1918, and the Trois Pièces of 1918-28. He also offers the Fifteen Improvisations. Although these were composed over a period of three decades, Karis treats them as a single composition, a view which holds up well. I miss the set of eight Nocturnes from 1938; others may crave the Suite Francaise but this is a good selection for a single disc of Poulenc.

The performances are enjoyable, with smooth and often elegant playing. Yet Pascal Rogé, Paul Crossley and Gabriel Tacchino are more satisfying. Tacchino, for instance, is more astringent, better able to deploy Poulenc’s gentle irony. Karis is more easy-going in his approach. His rhythms are more flexible, and his melodies favour sweetness over tartness. He underplays episodes which in other hands show Poulenc’s frenzy and sass. The relaxed approach also underplays moments of nobility, such as in the Hymne which forms the centre of the Trois Pièces.

The recording quality is good but not exceptional. It is detailed but resonant, and perhaps a touch heavy in the bass.

This welcome disc introduces the world of Poulenc’s keyboard quite honourably, but it does not displace old favourites, such as Tacchino and Rogé.

Richard Kraus



 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger