The City of London Sinfonia is having a mini-festival devoted to Poulenc in April with four themed events, Poulenc the Poet, Poulenc and Paris, Poulenc: Religion and Sexuality and Poulenc: Paradise and Purgatory. The events run from 4 to 11 April and take in venues as diverse as St Giles Cripplegate, Village Underground in Shoreditch and Southwark Cathedral with concerts and a pre-concert debate.
Poulenc the Poet (4 April) encompasses his chamber music, along with that of his fellow member of Les Six, Darius Milhaud, with the City of London Sinfonia's principal conductor Michael Collins conducting as well as performing on both clarinet and piano. Poulenc and Paris (10 April) is one of CLS's CLoSer events at the Village Underground in Shoreditch; concerts are 80 minutes long with no interval and the bar is open throughout. Stephen Layton conducts, with baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Antoine Francoise, performing Poulenc's Le Bal Masque, Rhapsodie Negre and Le Bestiare along with Satie's Trois Gymnopedies. The idea is to re-create a 1920s style Parisian café, with music inspired by jazz, music hall and the cabaret scene of the so-called "Crazy Years", exploring the lighter, more humorous side to Poulenc's music.
In Southwark Cathedral, Poulenc: Paradise and Purgatory (11 April) includes some of his darker, more serious music from his later years; the Organ Concerto and Gloria with the Holst Singers and Stephen Layton conducting. Also included is Les animaux modeles and Ravel's Pavane. The concert is preceded by a discussion between Revd Richard Coles and novelist Anne Atkins who consider the effect and limitations both religion and sexuality have on artists and their work.
Further information from the City of London Sinfonia website, public booking opens on 14 January at the Spitalfields Music website.
Elsewhere on this blog: