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The old rogue would have kissed them all, the men twice over. Poulenc may have created an impression of easygoing hedonism, and he certainly took an unusual angle on sacred music (monks playing football, indeed!) but his music demands precision and care even at its most rapturous, and there is plenty of rapture as well as wit in this intelligently selected programme. Layton gets a lovely, exact sound out of the DNVE, heightened by a superb recording. Predictably, the religious songs are sensual, and the secular ones seem to reach for transcendence. That’s Poulenc, who was all genius.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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