The late Patric Standford may have written these short pieces deliberately to provoke our feedback. If so, his success is reflected in the rich range of readers' comments appearing at the foot of most of the pages.
Beginning (7 January 1899) and ending (30 January 1963) his life in Paris, Francis Poulenc was undoubtedly the most popular French composer of the 20th century. His artistry as a pianist was no less revered, especially in accompanying Pierre Bernac. From miniatures like mouvements perpetuels to the opera Dialogues des Carmelites, Poulenc was unique both in style and accomplishment.
Ensemble. Spirituality and Revolution - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from Rome on Francis Poulenc's 'Dialogues des Carmélites'
CD Spotlight. Thoroughly Enjoyable and Witty - Gerald Fenech listens to Poulenc, on Bramwell Tovey's last recording. 'Splendidly performed and sumptuously recorded ...'
Ensemble. Songs of the Distance - Giuseppe Pennisi describes how American music is back, alive and well at the Spoleto Festival
CD Spotlight. The Magic of Ballets Russes - Giuseppe Pennisi listens to Warner Classics' box set. '... a gem which should be on the shelves of all those interested in the music of the early decades of the twentieth century ...'
CD Spotlight. Thoroughly Delightful - Geoff Pearce listens to chamber music by Poulenc. '... the performers are all very fine ...'
CD Spotlight. Suggestive Interweavings - Twentieth century harpsichord concertos by Falla, Poulenc and Bacarisse, heard by Gerald Fenech. '... a highly enjoyable issue, full of imaginative music ...'
Ensemble. Beautifully Controlled - Mike Wheeler listens to piano music by Claude Debussy, Rhian Samuel, Francis Poulenc, Martin Butler, Robert Schumann and Benjamin Britten, played by Helen Reid
Ensemble. Backwards and Forwards - Mike Wheeler rounds up his coverage of the 2021 Buxton Festival with concerts by Sarah Connoly, Roderick Williams and Natalie Clein
Ensemble. The Seven Year Itch - Giuseppe Pennisi visits the Chigiana International Festival and Summer Academy
CD Spotlight. Most Welcome - Gerald Fenech listens to French piano duets. 'Paul Lewis and Steven Osborne, two of Britain's foremost pianists, give matchless performances, and their virtuosic brilliance and unique sensitivity to the many nuances of these scores are an absolute joy to listen to.'
CD Spotlight. Sensitive and Thoughtful - More Christmas music from Clifton Cathedral, heard by Keith Bramich. '... this 1997 choir has a crisper sound than its 1987 vintage, and the ensemble is neater.'
CD Spotlight. Firm Yuletide Favourites - Keith Bramich listens to a wide range of Christmas carols from Clifton Catholic Cathedral. 'Generally, everything is well-sung, tight and in-tune.'
Classical music news - The Story of Babar - On Friday 6 November 2020, Nimbus will release a CD single of Miriam Margolyes and Simon Callaghan performing Poulenc's setting of Cécile and Jean de Brunhoff's 'The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant'
CD Spotlight. Undoubtedly Colourful - Music by Poulenc and Koechlin, heard by Paul Sarcich. 'Odradek and the Bambergers have produced clean, well-balanced recordings and treated both composers with great sensitivity. The orchestral playing is first rate.'
CD Spotlight. A Dynamic Vitality - Music for organ and orchestra by Saint-Saëns and Poulenc, recommended by Gerald Fenech. 'A hugely enjoyable album, well worth hearing ...'
CD Spotlight. Something of Rare Beauty - Twentieth century oboe sonatas by York Bowen, Petr Eben, Henri Dutilleux, Eugène Bozza, Francis Poulenc and Camille Saint-Saëns, heard by Geoff Pearce. 'What a fantastic and inspiring team Alex Klein and Phillip Bush make.'
French Romanticism - George Colerick discusses orchestral music by Berlioz, Saint-Saëns, Delibes, Lalo, d'Indy, Debussy, Ravel, Honegger, Poulenc, Milhaud and others
Ensemble. Lieder with Harp - Giuseppe Pennisi reports on a world tour by Diana Damrau and Xavier de Maistre
Ensemble. Packed With Good Things - Roderic Dunnett reports from the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester
CD Spotlight. A Quintessentially French Bestiary - French songs by various composers, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Ducks, peacocks, pigs, butterflies, dromedaries, carp, cicadas and owls are just some of the creatures in the menagerie assembled for this recording.'
Ensemble. A Rare Outing - Poulenc, Vaughan Williams and Beethoven from the Derby Concert Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. War and Peace - Giuseppe Pennisi reports from the Sagra Musicale Umbra Festival
Ensemble. Plus and Minus - Songs and arias from Jennifer Davis and Caroline Dowdle at the Buxton Festival, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Stravinskian Credentials - Rossini, Poulenc and Saint-Saëns from Nottingham Harmonic Choir and the Hallé Orchestra, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Faith and Revolution - Poulenc's 'Dialogues des Carmélites' in Bologna, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Rendered in Masterly Fashion - An anthology of twentieth century music impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Centres of Excellence - Roderic Dunnett looks back to the 2017 Three Choirs Festival at Worcester, and forward to 2018 in Hereford
CD Spotlight. Bags of Fun - Music for flute and piano, heard by the late Howard Smith. '... eminently commendable.'
Punk Transformed? - Keith Bramich has lunch with Torsten Rasch, Roderic Dunnett and others, at the Three Choirs Festival
Ensemble. Emotional Extremes - Wagner, Duparc, Cecilia McDowall and Poulenc from Rachel Nicholls and Paul Plummer, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Rock-solid Technique - Victoria, Gesualdo, Schütz, J S Bach, Poulenc and Knut Nystedt from cellist Deirdre Bencsik and the Derwent Singers impresses Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. A Rare Treat - Mozart, Duncan Ward and Poulenc wind chamber music, enjoyed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Consistently Vibrant - Music inspired by St Francis of Assisi, heard by Gerald Fenech. 'A heart-melting issue ...'
Ensemble. Distinctly Gallic - Rosanna Ter-Berg and Leo Nicholson, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Warmth and Dignity - Mike Wheeler listens to the Derwent Singers
CD Spotlight. A Huge Showcase - American soprano Patrice Michaels impresses Paul Sarcich. 'Plenty of good things here ...'
Ensemble. Very Special - Christmas music in Rome impresses Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. Well Served - Mike Wheeler listens to Joo Yeon Sir and Irina Andrievsky
A Higher Standard - Malcolm Miller reports from the Wigmore Hall / Kohn Foundation International Song Competition
Ensemble. Refreshingly Inventive - A recital by Soraya Mafi and Ian Tindale captivates Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Commendable - Poulenc for winds and piano, heard by Howard Smith. 'MSR's combination of Poulenc wind music is unlike any other.'
Ensemble. Winning Flexibility - A recital by Agnieszka Kozlowska and Beate Toyka, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Pleasing Throughout - Poulenc ballet suites for piano, heard by Howard Smith. '... clearly at ease with Poulenc's soft-core tonality ...'
CD Spotlight. Widely Spread - Christmas music from Caius College Choir, recommended by Keith Bramich. '... high-quality singing with lovely rounded tone ...'
Out of this World - Cuban pianist Marcos Madrigal plays Schumann, Beethoven, Poulenc, de Séverac and Lecuona, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Without Despair - Sacred choral music by Poulenc, heard by Howard Smith. 'Harmonia mundi has struck oil ...'
Ask Alice - On 'Dialogues des Carmelites' at Covent Garden, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. From chains to the Almighty - Twentieth century operas in Rome, reviewed by Giuseppe Pennisi
Ensemble. An Interesting Idea - Opera North's 'From Paris with Love', reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Full Stretch - Poulenc's Organ Concerto, heard by Robert Anderson. '... marvellous vitality ...'
CD Spotlight. An Unqualified Winner - Christmas music from Voces 8, recommended by Howard Smith. '... breathtaking clarity.'
Ensemble. Enterprisingly Apt - A wide-ranging recital by Janey Miller and Susie Summers, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Exploring the Darker Side - Dan Miller and Richard Hodges at Derby's Festival of Britten, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Startlingly Effective - Purcell and Poulenc from Opera North, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Nimble Playing - Music for saxophone and piano played by Huw Wiggin and James Sherlock, heard by Mike Wheeler
Andrew Schartmann's Musical Tidbits - An Exercise in Self-Constraint. Non-conventional Harmony in Poulenc's Sonata for Flute and Piano
Ensemble. Poise and Charm - Poulenc, Debussy and Puccini from Derby Choral Union, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. A Dismal Success - Felicity Lott sings Poulenc, heard by Robert Anderson. '... various moods of increasing desperation ...'
Ensemble. The Flame of Music - Malcolm Troup reports on new arrivals from China and Lithuania at the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe's Summer Festival in London
Ensemble. The Finest of Them All - The 2012 Hereford Three Choirs Festival, reviewed by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Purity of Sound - Richard Strauss, Fauré, Debussy, Poulenc, Wolf and Berg from Christiane Karg and Malcolm Martineau, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight. Joyous and Infective - Poulenc's unaccompanied choral music, heard by Robert Anderson. 'There is much here to savour.'
Ensemble. Remarkable Performance - Eisler, Gershwin, Mozart, Poulenc, Schumann and Weill from Katie Bray and William Vann, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Chalk and Cheese - The nylon-string guitar of Tony R Clef, heard by Howard Smith. '... extraordinary recorded clarity.'
Clarity of Expression - Yasmin Rowe plays for the Keyboard Charitable Trust, reviewed by Bill Newman
Ensemble. Exotic Soundscapes - Two London concerts featuring music from the opera to the orient, attended by Malcolm Miller
Ensemble. Poise and Vitality - Mike Wheeler listens to Lucille Burns and Catherine Milledge
Ensemble. A Touch of Élan - Héloîse Geoghegan and Michael Joyce, heard by Mary Isaac
Ensemble. Cultural Delights - Gerald Fenech visits Slovenia for Festival Maribor
Ensemble. A Good Feel - Christmas music from the Sitwell Singers, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Vocal Colour - Simon Keenlyside sings Schubert, Wolf, Fauré and Ravel, heard by Robert Anderson. '... a wondrous variety ...'
Ensemble. A Remarkable Event - Paul Sarcich visits the West Cork Chamber Music Festival
Ensemble. A Cross Section - Bill Newman comments on some recent concerts at London's Wigmore Hall
CD Spotlight. A Must-have - Piano music by Federico Mompou, recommended by Natalie Artemas-Polak. 'Haskell Small's contemplative approach admirably suits these pieces ...'
Ensemble. Beautifully Realised - Haydn, Poulenc, Szymanowski and Walton, sung by Derby Bach Choir and the girl choristers of Derby Cathedral, heard by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Crystalline Lightness - A Symphony of the Americas concert, reviewed by Lawrence Budmen
Ensemble. The Boys - Bill Newman was at Nettle and Markham's thirtieth anniversary recital
Ensemble. Sing ye to the Lord - Roderic Dunnett was at the 2009 Hereford Three Choirs Festival
Ask Alice - On classical music in London's Royal Albert Hall, with classical music agony aunt Alice McVeigh
Ensemble. A Dream-Travelogue of Intoxification - David Wilkins attends a concert at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire
Ensemble. Intensity of Playing - Robert Hugill was at the start of Endymion's 30th birthday celebrations
Ensemble. A Piquant Contrast - Music by Fauré and Poulenc, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Sovereign Horn Territory - Music for horn and orchestra, recommended by Howard Smith. '... stunning breath control and consummate understanding ...'
CD Spotlight. A Surefire Winner - A recital by Lin Jiang and Benjamin Martin, recommended by Howard Smith. '... superbly performed.'
CD Spotlight. Engagingly Heartening - Choral and orchestral music by Arthur Honegger, enjoyed by Howard Smith. '... strikingly performed by Welsh forces ...'
Evocative Canvases - A recital by Miriam Brickman, reviewed by Malcolm Miller
DVD Spotlight. A Telling Moment - Poulenc's 'Dialogues des Carmélites', appreciated by Robert Anderson. '... finely expressed ...'
Ensemble. Sparkling Performances - The Hallé Orchestra plays Colin Matthews, Debussy, Poulenc and Tchaikovsky, reviewed by Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Strong and Appealing - Poulenc's 'La voix humaine' at Opera North, reviewed by Patric Standford
CD Spotlight. A Curious Recital - Paul Calistus-Ashley plays Poulenc, Schubert and Dett, reviewed by Howard Smith. '... verve and sensitivity.'
Ensemble. A gripping evening - 'Billy Budd' at English National Opera, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. A terrific evening - 'Dialogues des Carmélites' at English National Opera, reviewed by Robert Hugill
Ensemble. Darkness to light - Malcolm Tattersall is at the Australian Festival of Chamber Music
Ensemble. Feather in the cap - Rex Harley reviews a choral concert which took place on Saturday 13 March 2004 in Bristol UK
Ensemble. Simply overwhelming - Lawrence Budmen experiences 'Dialogues des carmélites' at Palm Beach Opera
CD Spotlight - Music for two pianos and orchestra, enjoyed by Ron Bierman. '... all the technique these sometimes difficult pieces require ...'
A perceptive pianist - Bill Newman listens to Yoo Na Noh
Ensemble - In virtuoso manner. Alice Neary and Gretel Dowdeswell at London's Wigmore Hall, heard by Bill Newman
CD Spotlight - Immeasurably sophisticated. 'Mr Sperry is not only up to the challenge, but transcends it in these consistently magical performances.' The Songs of Francis Poulenc, appreciated by John Bell Young
Record box - Quick-change artist. Encounters with Poulenc, by Basil Ramsey