The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: As we say goodbye to summer, YOU MUST HEAR THIS: Irish composer Joan Trimble’s “Pastorale” homage to the summery French composer Francis Poulenc | August 26, 2019

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By Jacob Stockinger

One week from today is Labor Day.

So it is time to start saying goodbye to summer and hello to fall — even though the autumnal equinox won’t arrive until Monday, Sept. 23, at 2:50 a.m. CDT.

The Ear’s favorite summertime composer is the French master Francis Poulenc (below), whose accessible and tuneful music possesses in abundance that Gallic sense of lightness and lyricism, of wit and charm, of modern Mozartean classicism and clarity — complete with trills and ornaments — that seems so appropriate to the summer season.

But then recently on Wisconsin Public Radio, The Ear heard for the first time something inspired by Poulenc that he thinks many of you will appreciate, especially during the transition between the seasons.

It is, appropriately, a 2-1/2 minute “Pastorale” for two  pianos – a form Poulenc himself used in his most famous piano concerto — by the underplayed and little known Irish 20th-century composer and pianist Joan Trimble (below). And it has many of the same qualities that distinguish Poulenc.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia entry with more about Trimble:

You can hear her homage to Poulenc in the YouTube video, from a Marco Polo CD distributed by Naxos Records, that is below.

Here’s hoping you enjoy it.

If you have a reaction, positive or negative, please share it.

The Ear wants to hear.


  1. Good choice. Your “YOU MUST HEAR THIS” features are wonderful. Keep them coming.


    Comment by fflambeau — August 26, 2019 @ 9:52 pm

    • Your column also works as a “shout out” to various groups for playing and distributing relatively new yet superb music: in this case WPR (which has done an outstanding job of this over the years).

      I just heard another outstanding piece that could feature in you series by the Latvian composer (what’s in the water those folk are drinking? They are surely producing some great composers out of all proportion to their size). Ēriks Ešenvalds. WPR played his “Stars” but I think that his In Paradisum is even better.

      I would not have known about him without WPR and your column functions the same way. So thanks!


      Comment by fflambeau — August 27, 2019 @ 3:49 am

  2. Love it! Uplifting, and right now, we all need a little lift.


    Comment by slfiore — August 26, 2019 @ 6:35 pm

  3. Delightful and perfect for this wet morning.


    Comment by Ronnie — August 26, 2019 @ 8:31 am

  4. That little piece is like a bubbly champagne cocktail. Love the counterpoint.


    Comment by Ann Boyer — August 26, 2019 @ 6:45 am

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