Poulenc wears his Parisian sexuality out and proud

Poulenc wears his Parisian sexuality out and proud


norman lebrecht

January 05, 2020

The first Lebrecht Album of the Week for 2020:

No happier way to start a year than Francis Poulenc, few grimmer than Charles Koechlin. This album opens with the little-played Poulenc Sinfonietta, originally intended as a string quartet and allegedly thrown in a Paris gutter when it did not work out. …

Read on here.

And here.

The pianist is Artur Pizzaro.


  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I could not understand why Wagner would have been Koechlin if born half a century later in France (a country he hated). I do not like Wagner as a person, but I have to acknowledge his achievements as a composer of stage works as far above every other composer with the exception of Mozart. One of the greatest geniuses who ever lived, but an appalling person.

  • Koechlin says:

    Charles Koechlin was a genius composer.

  • Andrew says:

    Perhaps you might mention Artur Pizarro’s piano contribution in the review , I take it your 5 star rating for the Poulenc includes his playing ?!

  • Clarrieu says:

    Worst ignorant misunderstanding of Koechlin I ever read. Please !

  • Ed says:

    On Koechlin I share Ravel’s opinion. He was a great composer.

    • Jean says:

      Ravel recommended him as an orchestrator. One Nordic composer, impressed by Ravel’s orchestral scores, approached him and wanted to become his student, but Ravel told him to go to Koechlin: he already knew everything.

  • Fliszt says:

    The Poulenc Piano Concerto is certainly cute, but it’s fluff at best and deserving of obscurity. True, Boston critics didn’t think much of it, and neither did New York critics when he played it here. However, the conductor Andre Kostelanetz was fond of it, and he led it twice in New York during the 1960’s, with pianists Grant Johansen and Ozan Marsh, but then it vanished from American concert halls.

    • John Borstlap says:

      The odd thing about Poulenc is that so much of his music consists of phrases which stop before the next is taken-on, like a multi-stylistic mosaic. You can only assess the whole when standing back, as with a mosaic.

  • esfir ross says:

    Artur Pizarro’r the finest pianist of today. Underrated and not much promoted

  • Paul says:

    The most ludicrously cloth-eared dismissal of Koechlin I’ve read anywhere! Given that he numbered Poulenc amongst his pupils (Cole Porter was another such), the pairing is very apt.