‘Irrepressibly gorgeous’ – London Conchord Ensemble releases the complete chamber music of Francis Poulenc to critical acclaim

London Conchord Ensemble's most recent release on the Champs Hill Records label explores the complete chamber music of the French composer, Francis Poulenc. Those who will have caught the ensemble's recent performance of the Poulenc Sextet at the Wigmore Hall for BBC Radio 3 will have a sense of the affinity that this ensemble have with these works.

You can hear excerps of the disc here - www.champshillrecords.co.uk/cddetail.php?cat_number=CHRCD028

Stephen Pritchard

The Observer, Sunday 19 February 2012

Rumbustious and playful, Francis Poulenc is deemed a lesser figure among the greats of 20th-century music but it's a mistake to underestimate him. His work is no mere froth; there's a smoky, autumnal sadness to his harmonic writing, a lingering regret beneath the joie de vivre, particularly in the intimacy of his chamber music. The London Conchord Ensemble understand this completely, working their magic in the bittersweet sonatas for piano and cello, violin, flute, oboe and clarinet, and romping through ensemble works large and small, including his Elégie for horn and piano (written in memory of Dennis Brain) and the irrepressibly gorgeous trio for piano, oboe and bassoon.

Paul Driver

The Sunday Times, Sunday, 26 February 2012

It’s as a chamber composer that Poulenc seems likely to remain most present, because (like his fellow sonataist Hindemith) he wrote so much and judged its usefulness so adroitly. Clarinettists, flautists and oboists invariably get round to his sole sonata for their instrument, as do violinists and cellists, but odd college groupings are admirably served: there’s an early Sonata for Horn, Trumpet and Trombone, a fine Sextet for piano and winds, not to mention a usefully perky Sonata for Two Clarinets. No longueurs on these excellent discs: Poulenc’s invention is always sprightly, and the performers are vivified by it; though an outstanding item is the Elégie for Horn and Piano, in memory of Dennis Brain.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Musical Pointers, February 2012

An exemplary collection of Poulenc's chamber music (1922-62) recorded 2001-2011. Francis Poulenc lived from 1899 – 1963; his dates, not given with the discs, are important in connection with his personality and career, which are well summarised in an excellent essay by Daniel Jaffe. The cover photo of the young Poulenc captures his wistful vulnerability. Poulenc was himsef a fine performer of hsi own music; I was privilieged to hear him with his regular partner Pierre Bernac at one of Myra Hess's famous National gallery concerts in wartime... Poulenc's moods are reflected in his music, and range from "insouciant mischief and wit" to darker feelings and depression to be found works dedicated to memories of numerous deceased persons, especially close friends such as a fellow composer P-O Ferroud. That range is expressed in the variety of these pieces which can be enjoyed in the given track order or otherwise by choice. A few a day may be best. Although recorded over a decade, and with different engineers, there is a general consistency and the supportive acoustic of the Champs Hill studio plays a positive part. There are other collections; a French set [EMI CZS7627362] with performers including Alan Civil & Sir Yehudi Menuhin together with eminent French stars (Février, Debost & Bourgue and another pair of discs from Rogé, Portal, Bourgue, Gallois, Cazalet & Wallez [London 421581-2] but I am sure you won't go wrong with this newest collection.

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Clarinetist, Emma Johnson joins the roster of O’Carroll Artist & Project Management

I am delighted to announce that the wonderful British clarinetist, Emma Johnson, will join the roster of O’Carroll Artist & Project Management with immediate effect. As an agent, I am always keen to represent artists who have a diverse range of creative interest and a truly imaginative sense of programme and Emma is a leader in this field.

One of the few clarinettists to have established a busy career as a solo performer which has taken her to major European, American and Asian venues as well as to Africa and Australasia, Emma Johnson is one of the UK’s biggest selling classical artists, having sold well over half a million albums.
Emma has appeared as soloist with many of the world’s leading orchestras in repertoire which includes all the major clarinet works as well as pieces written especially for her by John Dankworth, Will Todd and Michael Berkeley amongst others. She has also collaborated with artists such as Sir Yehudi Menuhin and Dame Cleo Laine and she directs her own group, Emma Johnson and Friends. Her recording of the Brahms Quintet with the Michelangelo Quartet was recently made CD of the month by Music Web International.
Emma works in a diverse range of genres; her jazz trio has been particularly well received by concert audiences and she has also collaborated with composer Jonathan Dove on a retelling of the story of the Pied Piper for children. Her compositions and arrangements have been published by Music Sales and Faber Music.
Emma Johnson’s TV appearances range from a recital for Sky Arts TV, to gala events such as a recent televised Prom celebrating the BBC Young Musicians programme. Emma played the popular hit theme tune for The Victorian Kitchen Garden on BBC TV which won an Ivor Novello Award. Her radio work includes Artist of the Week for BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and for radio stations worldwide as well as guest slots on programmes such as Woman’s Hour and World at One on BBC Radio 4. Her broadcasts about Finzi and Milton were both chosen as picks of the week.

Emma grew up in London and her career was launched when, at the age of 17 she won BBC Young Musician of the Year followed by the Young Concert Artists Auditions in New York. However, she decided to study Music and English at Cambridge University before embarking fulltime on a musical path. A Patron of ClicSargent, the childhood cancer charity (www.clicsargent.org.uk), Emma was the first woman to be made an Honorary Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge and to have her portrait commissioned by the college. She was honoured by the Queen with an M.B.E. in 1996.

Ahead of their residency at the Wigmore Hall, a wonderful review for the Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch’s first release of Beethoven piano trios.

‘Dans le trio pour piano « L’Archiduc » Beethoven s’est sublimé pour son dernier trio, Il est vraiment d’une beauté divine. Et l’interprétation du Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch est d’une grande prouesse, le violoncelle de Raphael Wallfisch s’exprimant toujours avec passion, nous fait voler. Le piano est tenu par Arnon Erez qui joue tout en subtilités, et sa dynamique est parfaite, ses phrasés sont finement joués, bref Raphael sait nous captiver de son jeu cristallin. Le violon de Hagai Shaham conduit parfaitement les différents thèmes de ce trio.
L’espiègle Allegro Moderato nous offre une admirable partie de piano menée de main de maître par Arnon Erez donnant ainsi plus de couleurs aux notes.
Dans le second mouvement le violoncelle est dansant et le violon se fait meneur
Mais le bonheur est de courte durée, dans le troisième mouvement nous tombons dans les profondeurs d’un malaise, une blessure…
Le dernier mouvement est plus léger et plus dansant, le piano y est d’une telle splendeur, le rythme se fait tarentelle. C’est dans un mouvement joyeux que le pianiste achèvera par d’éclatants arpèges le dernier trio de Beethoven.
“Dans le trio pour piano « L’Archiduc » Beethoven s’est sublimé pour son dernier trio, Il est vraiment d’une beauté divin’. Et l’interprétation du Trio Shaham Erez Wallfisch est d’une grande prouesse, le violoncelle de Raphael Wallfisch s’exprimant toujours avec passion, nous fait voler. Le piano est tenu par Arnon Erez qui joue tout en subtilités, et sa dynamique est parfaite, ses phrasés sont finement joués, bref Raphael sait nous captiver de son jeu cristallin. Le violon de Hagai Shaham conduit parfaitement les différents thèmes de ce trio.’
Cet album « Beethoven: Piano Trios Vol. 1 » est un beau moment à passé avec un beau trio de musiciens bourrés de talent.
Emanuel Moor, Classiquehd.fr
https://classiquehd.fr/…/beethoven-piano-trios-vol-1-review/

‘Not-so-little women emerge from the shadows’ Steve Moffat, Limelight Magazine, 20 May 2019

BEACH • SMYTH • CLARA SCHUMANN (TASMIN LITTLE, JOHN LENEHAN)
Not-so-little women emerge from the shadows.

by Steve Moffatt on May 20, 2019

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