Hyperion Records

1920; part of the Album des Six; dedicated to Micheline Soulé

'L'Album des Six' (CDH55386)
L'Album des Six
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55386  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Track 11 on CDH55386 [1'37] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Although ‘Les Six’ existed formally only across 1920/21, its members somewhat unusually collaborated in two ventures: the wonderfully surreal divertissement of Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel of 1921 (though Durey, feigning illness, had already declined to be involved with this) and the miniature Album des Six, for piano (1920).

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

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