Poulenc: Piano Concerto; Concerto in D minor for two pianos and orchestra; Aubade; Sonata for piano four hands; Élégie for two pianos; L'Embarquement pour Cythère

Reviewed on Wed 28 Oct, 2015

For the sparky Two-piano Concerto of 1932 (with its skittish mood-swings and delectably Mozartian slow movement) Loius Lortie joins Hélène Mercier with outstanding results ... this is a most addictive collection.

Louis Lortie proves a magnificently stylish and idiomatic champion of the deeply loveable Piano Concerto that Poulenc wrote in 1949 for an American tour (listen out for the slyly affectionate quotation of 'Way down upon the Swanee river' in the uproarious finale). Edward Gardner and a terrifically responsive BBC Philharmonic play their full part both here and in an exceptionally eloquent rendering of the Aubade – an altogether nervier and more complex 'choreographic concerto' from two decades earlier, scored for piano and 18 instruments, and chock full of memorable ideas. For the sparky Two-piano Concerto of 1932 (with its skittish mood-swings and Mozartian slow movement) Lortie joins Hélène Mercier with (again) outstanding results, and they go on to give delectably articulate and understanding readings of the early four-hand Sonata, Élégie and L'Embarquement pour Cythère (the latter boasting one of those 'once heard never forgotten' Poulenc tunes). With sound of demonstration-quality realism throughout, this is a most addictive collection.
–Andrew Achenbach