The "Poeme De L'Extase" (1908) comes across here like an impressionistic water-piece, with undulating figures forming the "backbone" (no, not the best word for a watery piece, but the best I can do!), in greatly varied orchestral guises, but often with the solo violin and solo flute rising out of aural mix to lovely effect, At times it sounds like a blend of early Schoenberg, with some gestures towards dissonance, and Tchaikovsky, but as it builds to what seem to me its climaxes (at approximately 9:00, 14:45, and 20:00 minutes), these moves (which never altogether lose the basic undulant character) are introduced by solo trumpet figures, with heavier brass to follow, until, in the final one, there seems to be some tubular bells in the mix, and a touch of Mussorgsky's "Pictures" comes to mind. The whole thing hangs together very well, and it's played with great refinement here. Is it too languorous? Maybe . . . there was a moment or two when I felt Boulez was going to cut loose with Stravinskian energy, but it never quite came. Still, a very nice performance.
The Piano Concerto comes across as the earlier piece that it is (c.1896)-- it is richly orchestrated, but a good deal of the piano writing is of a Chopinesque delicacy. The music moves by quite short motifs rather than extended melodic themes, and the piano and orchestra are collaborators rather than combatants. Ugorski's playing is lucid and beautiful throughout, and the highlight of the piece is the lovely middle movement, where the orchestra does most of the thematic work and opens and closes on a lovely melodic passage, while the piano winds its way around the orchestral material. The first and third movements are as well played, but less memorable in the impression they leave, and in this recording, I felt at times that the orchestra needed to be more present in the aural picture, not to the piano's diminution but precisely because their parts seem so intimately related. Overall -- as with the "Poeme De L'Extase" -- the effect was of tenderness, an effect perhaps more appropriate to the spirit of this piece than the "Poeme."
"Promethee" is a woolier piece than the others, requiring the full Romantic orchestra as well as a pianist (Ugorski again) and a wordless Chorus. As with the concerto, I felt that that the orchestral presence could have been better -- it all comes at one from a distance, not so great that the textures can't be savored, but still . . . I didn't find the piece itself particularly compelling, though the playing by all concerned seemed fine. Unlike the "Poeme," it came across as a series of "special effects" though one does realise that that there is shape to it, but not finally a highly interesting one -- to my ears at least.