Eric Parkin completes the last of his three volumes of Poulenc’s solo piano music. Eric parkin is a superb exponent of Poulenc’s piano music - this final volume in the set has been long awaited.
Poulenc’s self-doubt was particularly acute in relation to his piano music, but these doubts were balanced by the more positive side of his ambivalant attitude towards the instrument. His over-familiarity with the piano which he found burdensome is also the reason why his music for the instrument is so effective.
The ten Promenades dating from 1921 show the young composer experimenting with polytonality and polymetre.Likewise in the Five Impromptus we find more of the enfant terrible and less of his endearing side, but more of his later style is becoming evident.
The Nocturnes form one of the most representative collections of Poulenc’s piano music; the spikiness is now minimised and more integrated, allowing the melody to shine through. Though not strictly a cycle, this group does have a satisfying overall unity in spite of being written between 1929 and 1938.
Poulenc made piano transcriptions of a number of his orchestral and instrumental works.The Intermède and Caprice both originated as movements of Le bal masquè. The Intermède was concieved as an instrumental interlude, whereas the final Caprice originally included a vocal part.
Les biches, a ballet score for Diaghilev first produced in 1924 was Poulenc’s most public sucess. Although it is most often heard as an orchestral suite the composer arranged four ’Morceaux détachés for piano.
Four works on this album were originally published alongside works by other composers. The Calse was Poulenc’s contribution to a set of pieces by Les Six. Pastourelle was written for L’éventail de Jeanne, a one-act ballet. The witty and affectionate Pièce brève sur le nom d’Albert Roussel appeared as part of Hommage à Albert Roussel. Bourée au pavillion d’Auvergne belonged to a group of pieces by Milhaud and Ibert among others.
Feuillets d’album is a group of three pieces dating from 1933 and shows Poulenc’s expressive ability within a restricted time-scale. Française is based on music by the sixteenth-century compiler of dance-tunes and chansons, Claude Gervaise.
Although Poulenc may be regarded historically as one of the less important composers, he did have a particular voice. In the words of his teacher Koechlin. "You know how to be, sincerely and simply, yourself".