The term sinfonietta is generally used to describe a work that is smaller in scale or lighter in approach than a standard symphony. It only came into common usage during the first half of the 20th century, which is when the three works included on this disc were in fact composed. &&&
Worth noting is also that Sergei Prokofiev and Benjamin Britten wrote their respective sinfoniettas while they were still in their teens – early attempts at multi-movement works for ensemble. Prokofiev revised his Sinfonietta twice, with the 1929 version recorded here, and went on to become one of the great symphonists of his time. Britten chose a different path, with operas forming the most important part of his legacy. Perhaps symptomatically, his Sinfonietta – his Op. 1 – was initially composed for wind quintet and string quintet, a scoring which he later expanded into the version heard on the present recording.
Like Britten, Francis Poulenc was not naturally inclined towards large-scale orchestral works, and his Sinfonietta is indeed his only symphonic piece. The most recent of the works on the disc, it is in a neo-classical vein with sparkling dance rhythms as well as lyrical moments. The three works are here performed by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra conducted by Dima Slobodeniouk, a team which has released several highly acclaimed discs on BIS.