Auric’s light-hearted Prélude, dedicated to General Clapier, is an animated genial piece, with brash ‘wrong note’ effects (including bitonality) for added piquancy and a mock-Classical ‘Alberti bass’, while Durey’s pensive Romance sans paroles, for Ricardo Viñes, features a wistful modal melody within a spacious—almost orchestral—layering of sound. The ensuing Sarabande (Honegger) and Mazurka (Milhaud) constitute the quiet central core, again with gently dissonant modal lines quite romantic in character—lush harmonies, syncopation and expressive markings. Poulenc’s extrovert and charming Valse, for Micheline Soulé, enjoys its Parisian café pleasures (mingled with hints of Petrushka!), and includes some striking bell-like effects. Finally, Tailleferre’s playful Pastorale, dedicated to Milhaud, trips along in 5/8 metre until it finds its proper bucolic 6/8, while, appropriately enough, the ending is just carried away on the breeze.
from notes by Deborah Mawer © 2001