is a light-hearted jeu d’esprit. In June 1947 Poulenc wrote from London to his friend Darius Milhaud: ‘I’ve had a good spring this year. Now I’m about to write a Sinfonietta
for orchestra for the BBC Third Programme.’ Eighteen months later he was writing, from Boston this time, that ‘the Sinfonietta
went very well in London’. It had its first performance on 24 October 1948, in a broadcast by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Roger Désormière. An impetuous ‘Allegro con fuoco’, occasionally fanning out into mellow, long-breathed tunes, leads to a ‘Molto vivace’ that recalls unmistakably the finale of Les Biches
and is none the worse for that. The ‘Andante cantabile’, gentle and flowing, is succeeded by a farewell movement that scurries along to a breathless conclusion.
from notes by James Harding © 1989