If you love Poulenc as I do you have no choice but to grab this set. It contains virtually all his music -- actually I can't find anything he wrote that isn't here -- on 20 CDs at about £1.50 per disc. And these are absolutely classic performances mostly by French artists. They have all been issued separately before so you may already have some of them, but at this price a little duplication is no problem.
Consider some of the contents (I don't have space to list everything on 20 CDs!): All of Poulenc's piano music played by Gabriel Tacchino and Jacques Février. All of his chamber music played by the likes of Pierre Fournier, Jacques Février, Oscar Ghiglia, Emanuel Pahud, Laurence Pottier, Michel Debost, Maurice Bourge et al. Piano Concerto with Gabriel Tacchino, orchestra conducted by Georges Prêtre. Concerto for Two Pianos with Poulenc himself along with Jacques Février. Orchestral works conducted by George Prêtre or Michel Plasson. All the choral music including the Mass in G sung by the Winchester Cathedral Choir, other music by The Sixteen. The magnificent Gloria with Rosanna Carteri, with choral and orchestral forces conducted by Prêtre. The Stabat Mater with Régine Crespin.
The classic recording of Dialogues of the Carmelites with Denise Duval, Régine Crespin, Rita Gorr, et al, conducted by Pierre Dervaux. Les Mamelles de Tirésias with Denise Duval, conducted by André Cluyten. L'Histoire de Babar le petit Éléphant, narrated by Peter Ustinov. Le voix humaine with Denise Duval. Figure humaine with The Sixteen, Harry Christophers conducting. All the mélodies and chansons with artists like François le Roux, José van Dam, Rita Streich, Gérard Souzay, Elly Ameling, Nicolai Gedda, Mady Mesplé, Pierre Bernac, Michel Sénéchal, Gabriel Bacquier, William Parker, Jessye Norman, among others. Can't get starrier than that!
This set is, of course, self-recommending, but in case you haven't figured it out, I am completely in love with it.
P.S. No texts are included for the sung works.
on 26 October 2015
This is a fantastically good value way to enter Poulenc-Land. OK some of the piano music etc is better on other releases but you get things that vastly compensate for that. The songs - the core I think really of his achievement- are beautifully done by some very accomplished and famous singers, interesting to compare with the DECCA releases of there complete songs which are more recent and in some ways better. Also there's the beautiful single disc overview on Naxos from Michel Piquemal to consider, if you only want one Poulenc disc don't be put off by the bargain label, it is the real deal. Gerard Souzay was past his best maybe as recorded here as opposed to earlier recordings available on Testament and other labels, but still very good. There is even Jessye Norman here which is a bit unexpected. The stage works have Denise Duval and are to be honest hard to believe could be bettered, despite sound. I'm sure I'll be listening to Les Mamelles de Tiresias in this version until I pass on. Fascinating person, engaging music, a sort of synthesis of what was going on in the European music of the 1920s-50s that is not so much path-breaking as heart-breaking. Tel jour, telle nuit must be one of the most remarkable intense and beautiful song cycles about love since Schumann's Dichterliebe, to which it is a sort of 20th century counterpart and response. Very worth buying at the price.
Outstanding collection,some familiar,most not.Superlative throughout!A snip at the price,for a composer who deserves to be better known,beyond the small coterie of admirers of French music...one to place alongside Debussy,ravel,Faure,Berlioz......
on 10 May 2013
I am a fan of this composer! Having sung some of his œvres in a Motet choir, and enjoyed his chamber music as good friend of some very good young Swedish musicians (Henrik Berg and Stefan Moberg on piano and cello respectively) and remembering hearing his lovely, playful and witty concerts, all these records are as pleasant as they can be. Best interprets (as long as the awaited Moberg-Berg recording of the cello sonata has yet to be done...), what more can I say? Strongly recommended, and a bargain at this price!