Suite For Piano, by Francis Poulenc. A suite composed in 1920 in three movements: 1) Presto, 2) Andante, 3) Vif.
In January 1920 the critic Henri Collet named Poulenc and five composing friends ‘Le Groupe des Six’, by analogy with the Russian Five. It was a convenient label for publicity purposes and Jean Cocteau, as their self-appointed spokesman, was quick to capitalise on the possibilities. But each of the Six always insisted that the group was just a collection of friends, with no communal musical aims. As it happened, Poulenc’s Suite For Pianio and Impromptus for piano fit Cocteau’s prescription quite well – they are clear, light-hearted and entertaining. But the Promenades, written in 1921 for Artur Rubinstein, belong to the more serious side of Poulenc which was already struggling to make itself heard. This ten-movement celebration of different modes of transport explores a number of the new musical techniques which were intriguing composers of the 1920s, and the resulting language must have seemed difficult to pianists of the time, although now it merely appears of its period.