This new album presents a delightful selection of Poulenc’s piano music, starting with the intriguing little Valse (1919) from L’Album des Six, which first presented in published form the collective of Franco-Swiss composers who came to be known under that title. As the fruit of a trip to Italy in the company of Darius Milhaud, a fellow Les Six-er, Napoli is a suite written in 1925 and presenting Italian forms through the light of Poulenc’s irrepressible personality.
More affecting are the eight Nocturnes, composed between 1929 and 1938, and the three Novelettes (1927-1959), while the ’Six petites pièces enfantines’ that make up the Villageoises of 1933 share the a spirit of gentle playfulness with Poulenc’s popular musical tale, Babar the Elephant. One day when Poulenc was improvising on the piano, his cousin’s little girl exclaimed: “Grandfather, it’s so boring when you play like that, why don’t you play us this?”. And in 1945, once the dreadful war years were over, Poulenc was happy to oblige.
The Trois Mouvements perpétuels are early pieces, a product of the kaleidoscopic ‘harlequin years’ of Paris in the 1920s. The three movements reveal a musical freshness and fluidity somewhat reminiscent of Satie, whose individualistic approach to life and art inspired the members of Les Six, to whom he served as a kind of honorary president. Finally, Poulenc evokes the spirit of Bach returns in a surprising guise in the Valse-Improvisation sur le nom de Bach, a piece bursting with vitality, in perfect keeping with the famous pianist Vladimir Horowitz, to whom it was dedicated.
Two previous albums by Chiara Cipelli on Brilliant Classics and Piano Classics have won enthusiastic praise from reviewers in Fanfare magazine. The piano music of Bruno Bettinelli is ‘presented with wonderful vigour and colour by the fine young Lombardy native Chiara Cipelli’ (95801), while ‘Cipelli’s technical capabilities are impressive throughout’ her selection of early Messiaen pieces (PCL10200).
- Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) is one of the most remarkable French composers of the 20th century. Inspired by many (Debussy, Satie, his fellow composers of the “Groupe des Six”) he found his essential own voice, a unique blend of French gaiety and a deep, serious and sometimes melancholic feeling.
- This new recording presents a fine selection of piano music by Poulenc: the Trois Mouvements Perpétuels, Huit Nocturnes, Villageoises, Trois Novelettes, Napoli Suite and two Waltzes, music of great charm, seductive, touching and intimate, or exuberant and jolly.
- Played by Chiara Cipelli, whose recordings for Piano and Brilliant Classics with works by Bettinelli (BC95801) and Messiaen (PCL10200) received excellent reviews in the international press.