DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | The Les Six Challenge: Can You Name Them All?

By Norman Lebrecht on May 17, 2019

L’Esprit des Six (Claves)

★★★★☆

🎧 iTunes

Your challenge for the weekend: name all six of Les Six.

Poulenc and Milhaud? That’s average.

Arthur Honegger? Good (unless you’re Swiss).

Germaine Tailleferre? Very good.

Georges Auric. Excellent.

So who have we forgotten?

(Louis Durey (1888-1979). Nobody remembers Durey.)

Les Six came to the fore in 1920s Paris as acolytes of the iconoclastic Eric Satie and briefly caught the spirit of the age before veering off in diverse directions. This ingenious album of clarinet-piano music from either end of their careers. Francis Poulenc, the most lyrical and the only one with a major opera to his credit, can be heard in sonatas from 1918, 1922 and 1962, the earliest having an absolute earworm of an Andante, the kind of music people hummed as they went off to found new colonies.

Darius Milhaud, who could write for any instrument at the drop of a hat, had reached opus 100 by his mid-thirties, a Sonatine with a delicious melting centre. Auric, who spent his life writing film scores, contributed a 1971 Imaginées for clarinet and piano. Tailleferre, who lived longest, wrote a 1973 Arabesque. Honegger is represented by a neat Sonatine of 1921-22. And Durey? There’s nothing here by Durey. There never is.

Davide Bandieri, principal clarinet of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra, is the driving force here, with pianist Guillaume Hersperger panting to keep up. It’s a fun album that feels almost Twenties in its ésprit. Look up quick and you might see an ox on the roof.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

Want more updates on classical music and opera news and reviews? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for all the latest.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.

Norman Lebrecht

Norman Lebrecht is one of the most widely-read commentators on music, culture and cultural politics. He is a regular presenter on BBC Radio 3 and a contributor to the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Standpoint, Sinfini and other publications. His blog, Slipped Disc, is among the most widely read cultural sites online, breaking exclusive stories and campaigning against human abuse and acts of injustice in the cultural industries.
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

SCRUTINY | Pomegranate Has The Makings Of An Indie Opera Classic

By Arthur Kaptainis on June 8, 2019

In an age of edgy drama and raucous music, Pomegranate, at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, makes a remarkably lyrical impression.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

THE SCOOP | Canadian Pianist Takes First Prize At Inaugural China International Music Competition

By Anya Wassenberg on May 21, 2019

Toronto-based pianist Tony Siqi Yun takes home the $150,000 USD prize from the first-ever China International Music Competition, held in Beijing.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | Mayor John Tory Proclaims June 14, 2019 Massey Hall Day

By Michael Vincent on June 13, 2019

Toronto Mayor John Tory has proclaimed June 14, 2019 “Massey Hall Day” in honour of the National Historic Site’s 125 birthday.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.