David Mellor
Classic FM

Another Signum issue well worthy of your attention features the husband and wife duo Alessio Bax and Lucille Chung. Here, for the first time on disc, she takes the lead, playing some of Poulenc’s solo piano music, and is then joined by her husband for some piano duet, and two piano pieces. The 50th anniversary of Poulenc’s death in 2013 passed almost without notice, which is sad, because Poulenc is one of the most captivating composers, with, as Stravinsky once said, “The greatest melodic gift of any 20th century composer. This is an interesting combination of the familiar and the unfamiliar. The Novelettes are quite well known, the 15 Improvisations, not so. For me the most attractive piece here is Poulenc’s own arrangement for two pianos of his Concerto for two pianos. The slow movement alone is worth the price of this exceptional disc.