Poulenc Figure Humaine Review

Released 2007.  

BBC Review

...lovers of Poulenc or fans of great choral music will be celebrating this cd.

John Armstrong 2002

Poulenc's choral music is unusually taxing for even the finest choirs; the slab-like chords, the strange key changes and awkward intervals are all components of Poulenc's startlingly beautiful textures...yet they bring difficulties for record buyers as well. Some of the most accurate, most perfectly tuned performances available to date have been from the crack British professional choirs, like The Sixteen. Passionate, always musical, often moving... yet somehow just not French enough! There's always a significant difference when you hear French sung by a choir from across the Channel - an added pungency, authentic colouring - but if you pick a French choir for Poulenc you have to accept shaky tuning, less precision, a generally more uncomfortable ride.

Until now. Ladies and gentlemen, here it is: the happy medium - and in no way does that mean it's a compromise. The Accentus Choir sound as though they've been modelled on the best of British, but they're French with a capital 'rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr', the accent's authentic, and you can feel the depth of their understanding of these texts by Eluard and Apollinaire. Poulenc's choral masterpiece Figure Humaine is a hymn to freedom from occupied France, and it's rarely had anything like this power on record. The lonely chill of Un Soir de Neige is a perfect foil, and lovers of Poulenc or fans of great choral music will be celebrating this cd.

Andrew McGregor - presenter of CD Review on Radio 3

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