This is a most useful collection. The most important items (and, in fact, the only truly ‘genuine’ chamber works) are the String Quartet and Lyric Suite. The others are arrangements of more than passing interest (at least the ones by Berg himself) but it is probably the two big works that will interest collectors most.
This collection of the complete chamber music of Poulenc shows the varying styles that he employed. From the jazzy, bitonal passages of the Sonata for Clarinet and Bassoon and the Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone which has been described as 'Pergolesi with his wig awry' (Roger Nichols, Grove) to the profound beauty of his last three sonatas for wind. All are extremely accessible. The Nash Ensemble gave a series of concerts of Poulenc's music at the Wigmore Hall earlier this year to great critical acclaim and Hyperion are delighted to be able to present this wonderful collection on this, Poulenc's centenary year.
The complete Schumann chamber music? On just seven discs? Is that really possible?
With her recordings praised as “heartbreakingly beautiful” (Scene Magazine), “a sweeping experience” (Pizzicato), “full of emotions” (Crescendo Magazine), Hungarian-born violinist Orsolya Korcsolan has established herself as one of the most versatile violin players and teachers of her generation. Her technical command and warm, compelling sound, combined with her spirit and elegant stage presence have captured audiences around the world since her debut in New York.
This excellent first volume in what promises to be a two-disc collection of Poulenc's complete chamber music offers performances that compare favorably with the best available. All of the musicians are superb, but several deserve special mention. Alexandre Tharaud plays Poulenc's piano parts with great flair, wit, and a true feeling for the music's manic shifts from raucous high spirits to nostalgia and melancholy. Since all of these works feature the piano, the importance of his contribution can't be overestimated.