Following on from his landmark series of lesser-known English piano music for the Somm label, Mark Bebbington continues his survey of the world of Francis Poulenc with another release for Resonus Classics. As with the first volume the 49-year-old British virtuoso is backed by an in-form Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Jan Latham-Koenig, and here he is also joined by baritone Roderick Williams. 

Poulenc

There are four works, including two – Aubade and La Bal Masqué – that were composed three years apart for aristocratic art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles, champions of the Surrealist movement. Both of these sparkling works have a cinematic feel – Luis Buñuel and Jean Cocteau were in their circle – and there are moments in both which would have delighted filmmakers as diverse as Jacques Tati and Jean Renoir. 

Aubade was originally performed in 1929 as a choreographed concerto, and this is vibrant music for an unusual instrumentation – there are no violins, emphasising Poulenc’s love of wind instruments,...