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Bay Area Reporter
'Not only does French Connection contain several brilliant song cycles, expertly performed, but it also introduces us to an artistic milieu that dominated Western Europe for over 30 years. Highly recommended.'
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Fanfare
'Everything about this release points to an urgent recommendation.'
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'...this new recording is one of the best we have [of Berkeley's Five Poems].'
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'The music is full of life and colour...'
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Gramophone
'Ainsley is superb in finding and conveying the particular qualities that lend both Berkeley and Poulenc their musical identities...all delivered here beguilingly.'
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John Mark Ainsley - French Connections - Financial Times


15 January 2016
Financial Times
Richard Fairman
4 Stars

The centrepiece is a tribute from one composer to another.

In four intimate portraits Jake Heggie's Friendly Persuasionspictures some of the people who were closest to Poulenc, including harpsichordist Wanda Landowska and poet Paul Eluard.

John Mark Ainsley and accompanist Malcolm Martineau gave the premiere of this bittersweet short cycle in 2008. Alongside they present persuasive performances of Poulenc's own Tel jour, telle nuit and Lennox Berkeley's French-accented Five Poems of W H Auden.

Britten's Holy Sonnets of John Donne go further, lacerating, consoling, intense.


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