After a successful cycle of Chopin works for solo piano, exclusive Chandos artist Louis Lortie plays here works by Poulenc with his duet partner Hélène Mercier. In Aubade and the two concertos they are joined by Edward Gardner and the BBC Philharmonic.
Quelle mouche teutonne a donc piqué Emmanuel Chabrier ? En novembre 1880, à son retour d’un Tristan et Isolde à Munich, cet enragé du wagnérisme (comme ses amis Vincent d’Indy, Charles Lamoureux, Stéphane Mallarmé, etc.) démissionne de son emploi au Ministère de l’Intérieur et ne veut plus être que compositeur.
Brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, which he abandoned in 1917 following the death of his father, Poulenc returned to the Church in 1936 after the death of his close friend and fellow composer Pierre-Octave Ferroud. Together these events caused a spiritual crisis in Poulenc’s life which led to a series of important compositions for chorus. The powerful Mass in G major, dedicated to the memory of his father, is notable for its daring use of tonality, though the playfulness of Poulenc’s ‘Les Six’ period is not absent. In the Sept Chansons, set to surrealist texts, and in the two sets of Motets - both very personal and penitential - Poulenc generates a huge range of emotion.
Combining works by Debussy and Poulenc on an album may, to some, seem a bit ironic seeing as at one point, the latter railed against the music of the former. Poulenc was later to change his tune, though, and eventually became one of Debussy's most ardent admirers. The two were greatly responsible for a new direction in French music, which, ironically, required both of them to look to composers of the past for inspiration.
The keyboard aficionados from all over the world know that Katia and Marielle Labeque are the most famous pianistic duo on the international concert stage now. They have reigned supreme in the territory of the two keyboards repertoire for some three decades and still seem inexhaustible in musical resources when conveying its marvels…