'Les Six' (so named in 1920 by critic Henri Collet) hit the classical music scene with almost the same outrageous force with which the punk movement slammed into popular music in the 1970s and early '80s. It consisted of a group of six composers working in France: Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Georges Auric, Germaine Tailleferre and Louis Durey. Their music was largely a reaction against Impressionism and Wagnerism and incorporated the ideas of Satie and Cocteau with the popular styles of the time: French vaudeville, American jazz and café music. The result was a simple blend of sound with more than a dash of whimsical humour, parody and irony. 'Les Six' only formally existed across 1920/21 and its members collaborated in two ventures, the wonderfully surreal divertissement of Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel of 1921 and the miniature Album des Six for piano (1920) featured on this recording.
The popular highlight here is Poulenc's Sonata of 1957, which is now standard repertoire for flautists.