Louis Durey, Georges Auric, Germaine Tailleferre, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud and Francis Poulenc were a group of French composers who were friends in Paris around 1920.
They were seen as reacting against the establishment composers, but they weren’t necessarily heading in the same directions in their work, as William Dart points out in this programme.
“By 1920, for better or worse, the group had been given their name by composer and critic Henri Collet, as the Gallic equivalent of Russia’s famous Five or Mighty Handful... From the beginning, Les Six was a tenuous entity.
Summing up its significance in 1968, Aaron Copland saw its main achievement as ending forever the 19th century conception of composers as long-haired geniuses living and starving in garrets.”
Satie: Parade - The New London Orchestra / Corp (Hyperion)
Durey: Carillons - Madeleine Chacun, Françoise Petit (piano) (Arpege)
Milhaud: Three Rag-Caprices, No 1 - Ian Hobson (piano) (Arabesque)
Anon: Je suis porcharde - Yvette Guilbert (sop) (EPM)
Milhaud: Le Boeuf sur le Toit - Champs Elysées Theatre Orch/Milhaud (Erato)
Poulenc: Honoloulou, from Rhapsodie nègre - Anne-Sophie von Otter (mezzo), Bengt Forsberg (piano) (DG)
Poulenc: Valse, from Album des Six - Andrew West (piano) (Hyperion)
Auric: Trio for clarinet, oboe and bassoon - Members of the Pro Arte Wind Quintet, Zurich (Nimbus)
Auric: Theme from Goodbye Again - Ferrante and Teicher (pianos), studio orchestra (Smith & Co)
Honegger: Pitié du moi, O Seigneur, from Le Roi David - Éric Tappy (tenor), Ensemble Instrumental / Dutoit (Erato)
Honegger: 1st movt, Symphony No 4, Deliciae Basilienses - Bournemouth Sinfonietta/Vásáry (Chandos)
Milhaud: 1st movt, Symphony No 4 - ORTF Phil Orch / Milhaud (Erato)
Milhaud: La creation du monde - Orchestra of 19 Soloists / Milhaud (Erato)
Poulenc: La Carpe, from Le bestiaire - Brandon Velarde (bar), Graham Johnson (piano) (Hyperion)
Poulenc: La bonne neige, from Un soir de neige - Groupe Vocal de France / Alldis (EMI)