i bought my copy of this Apex release about 12 months ago as was investigating more 20th C piano concerto beyond the staples of Ravel,Prokofiev, Bartok etc. Poulenc as part of "Les Six" french composers (including Milhaud- but not Ravel or Debussy) of the 1920's onwards were by all accounts, fans of eclecticism, surrealism, jazz + a playful bent on classical music + modernism in general.
this fine Apex budget cd of Poulenc's - Concerto for 2 pianos, Piano Concerto + the moodier Aubade is a very good overview i feel of this often playful life affirming composer. recording from 1996 (but released in 2005 in this Apex version) is excellent , clear + contains clean , articulate pianism from Duchable + Collard of these eminently dare i say it ? enjoyable works. the main two piano concertos share strong gallic dash with Ravel's piano concerto (or Gershwins) with pretty luscious orchestral writing, playful references to other composers including Mozart in eclectic cheeky + thoroughly enjoyable style.
the third work - Aubade does nicely counter balance the high jinks + revelry with Poulenc's choral works in the moodier Stravinsky-esque work that showcases the more profound side of the composer with more pronounced elements of light + shade. a good foil to the first two works. Liner notes (as is the case in the budget Apex series in general) are fine is a little brief.
a fine antidote to "the serious as your life" school of modernism. recommended.
Poulenc has a delightful playful charm at its best in these concertos. The slow movements are classic loveliness, such as we also find in the concertos of Shostakovich and Ravel. Light and lovely, with gorgeous moments.
I heard this for the first time at a live concert. Wanted to get a copy. This bargain download is more musically satisfying than the S/H LP I tracked down, and is well recorded. The balance seemed right with the two pianos where they should be in the spatial mix (the LP was strangeley balanced).
Not a Major label, but the quality is good, the orchestra sound fine, and of the performers, conductor and soloists, they do their job well. more than that I cannot say because this is are new works for me so I am unable to for an opinion.... But it sounds good to me.
I think the Labeque Sisters at the Proms a few years ago delivered the definitive performance of the 2-Piano Concerto- they contrived to be pitch-perfect arch commediennes visually and yet pellucid and lyrical interpreters. These performances have great acuity but seem to miss the fact that Poulenc is sublimely, empathically taking the p**s out of the forms and pretensions ascribed to them (rather of course than innate), while simultaneously being in love with them. And that he knows the musical terroirs he invokes inside out. They will remind you though just how well realised these things are compositionally.