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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CKD290
Recording details: September 2006
Teatro São Luíz, Lisbon, Portugal
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: February 2007
Total duration: 12 minutes 28 seconds

'Volume one of Pizarro's complete cycle of Ravel's piano music includes two major works, Miroirs and Gaspard de la nuit, and the astonishing piano transcription of La Valse. Pizarro matches the grandeur of Ravel's inventions note-for-note. With the opening movement of Miroirs, Pizarro delicately pedals Ravel's looking-glass textures, while the folksy 'Alborada del gracioso' from the same cycle is snappy enough to make anyone shout 'olé'. Volume two? Bring it on' (Classic FM)

'The Portuguese-American pianist hit the heights when he won the Leeds Competition back in 1990 at the age of 22. Established as a virtuoso, he has constantly expanded his range and musicianship ever since, with recent successes including live accounts of Ravel in London and Lisbon. Virtuosity is certainly needed for a Ravel selection that mixes the Gothic horrors of Gaspard de la Nuit with the shadowed atmospherics of Miroirs. As well as a super-refined approach to sonority, Pizarro has every note where he wants it, plus the power to whip the increasingly opulent decadence of La valse up to a shatteringly self-destructive climax' (The Independent on Sunday) » More

'Ravel was a meticulous craftsman, the fastidious creator of some of the most exquisitely ‘perfect' music ever written. He thrived on the discipline imposed by setting himself a unique task with every score, so much so that at times you can almost sense him thinking out loud, bringing to mind Stravinsky's affectionate description of him as ‘the most perfect of Swiss clockmakers'. Pizarro, I'm glad to say, chooses to bathe Ravel's luminous textures in an affectionately warm glow, shaping Ravel's exquisite lines with an unashamed affection and textural luminescence to have the listener falling in love with these priceless gems all over again. The infamous ‘Alborada del gracioso' (from Miroirs) lacks nothing in virtuoso dash, yet what impresses most is Pizarro's ability to conjure up a tangible atmosphere of sultry decadence. No less impressive is the haunting malevolence of ‘Le gibet' (Gaspard de la nuit) … Ravel's piano music has rarely been so magically captured on disc as here by engineers Philip Hobbs and Julia Thomas' (International Piano) » More

'Artur Pizarro [stellt] sich als intimer Kenner der französischen Klavier-Schule vor. Er verfügt über eine sehr feine Technik, bewältigt die erheblichen Herausforderungen mit guter Geläufigkeit und schafft es, Ravels kompositorische Ideen ohne Schatten umzusetzen. In herrlich leichten Läufen, perlenden Tonketten präsentiert er seinen zarten Zugriff und legt die delikate Faktur der Musik offen. Trotz aufblitzender Brillanz hat Pizarro genug Geduld, um auch verhaltene Sätze intensiv zu gestalten. Dazu verhilft ihm auch ein sehr kontrollierter Anschlag, der feinste dynamische Differenzierungen erlaubt. Insgesamt präsentiert Arturo Pizarro einen vielversprechenden ersten Teil des Klavierwerks Maurice Ravels: Als intensiver Interpret findet er zur notwendigen Mischung aus Eleganz, Brillanz, Kraft und Zurückhaltung, mischt genug Zweifel und ironisch gebrochene Leichtigkeit in „seinen“ Ravel – man wird den Fortgang des Projekts mit Interesse verfolgen können' (Klassik.com, Germany) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

La valse
composer
piano solo version of the ballet La valse, completed in 1920; probably intended as a rehearsal aid

Other recordings available for download
Steven Osborne (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Why Ravel stopped composing for the piano, no one knows. Maybe the store of new ideas and techniques simply ran dry. Filling the void more than adequately is the piano solo version of his ballet La valse, completed in 1920. As with Daphnis and Chloé, this piano score was originally intended merely for the rehearsal pianist. But whereas the piano version of Daphnis really forfeits too much of the ballet’s lush orchestral sound, in that of La valse the piano’s essentially percussive nature adds to the score’s rhythmic drive, as the waltz’s seductive strains are wrenched apart and finally smashed. The result is a tour de force, worthy of Liszt at his most Mephistophelian.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011


Other albums featuring this work
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67731/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music

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