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Superbly produced on all fronts (including a great booklet essay titled ‘Twixt Chic and Shock’ – it works even better in German), this innovative celebration of the Montparnasse-based composers collectively known as Les Six is the clear pick of this month’s crop. Every member of the group is here, allowing us to appreciate Louis Durey, Germaine Tailleferre and Georges Auric.

Corinna Simon has the perfect measure of this music, not least in its core element – humour. She presents all seven of Honegger’s Pièces brèves (1919/20), music of exquisite enigma, but the greatest revelation is Book I of Milhaud’s Le printemps. This meditation on the pregnant sense of anticipation at the arrival of spring contains barely a shred of harsh polytonalism. The heady air of Tailleferre’s Impromptu is gloriously evoked.

Pretty much beyond criticism, this is an essential disc for anyone interested in the music of Les Six.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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