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Track(s) taken from CDA67341/2

Sonatine

composer
begun for a 1904 competition in the Weekly Critical Review; completed and published in 1905

Angela Hewitt (piano)
Recording details: August 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: April 2002
Total duration: 11 minutes 54 seconds

Cover artwork: Near St Tropez (1892) by Hubert de la Rochefoucauld
Galerie L'Ergasterre, Paris / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
Modéré  [4'39]
2
3
Animé  [4'02]

Other recordings available for download

Artur Pizarro (piano)
Steven Osborne (piano)

Reviews

'Angela Hewitt plumbs Ravel's paradoxical qualities to perfection in this superb set. This magnificent survey … a treasure trove! Angela Hewitt joins Gieseking, Rogé, Thibaudet and Lortie among the most distinguished if entirely different Ravel cycles on record, and easily withstands comparison in such exalted company' (Gramophone)

'This newcomer from Hyperion is second to none and will now probably be a first choice for many collectors' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'Hewitt’s is, unlike a number of other versions of Ravel’s œuvre, a highly worthwhile venture, full of stylish, intelligent playing' (International Record Review)

'Ravel trickles fluently through her fingers' (The Times)

'Hewitt reveals textural detail rarely heard in other performances … A thought-provoking set' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Delighful' (The Scotsman)

'unique qualities of tone, style, and conscientious craftsmanship' (Fanfare, USA)

'Hewitt’s control of tone colour is exemplary and the piano sound is warm and rounded … I recommend these discs to those wishing to acquaint themselves with some of Ravel’s lesser-known piano works as well as the more popular favourites' (Pianist)

'This is revelatory playing … Hewitt is never anything other than stimulating, probing, characterful and sensitive to both the individual nuance and broader perspective of each piece' (International Piano)

'she gets beneath the exotic surfaces of these pieces to expose their compelling musical structures' (Music Week)

'With these magnificent pieces, ranging from the well-known Gaspard de la Nuit to real curiosities, Hewitt proves her point: her colour range is vast, her touch compelling' (The Sunday Express)

'The restrained gestures, the delicate melodic ornaments, the harpsichord-like figurations, the subtle dance rhythms, the finely-balanced and beautifully engineered structures: Hewitt’s attention to such exquisite details is perfect' (MusicWeb International)

'Ravishingly beautiful and artistically satisfying … the whole is an offering not to be missed' (Musical Opinion)

'Hewitt’s finest work in this collection easily ranks with the catalog’s top contenders and deserves serious consideration' (ClassicsToday.com)

'ce qu’on observe d’abord en écoutant son intégrale Ravel, c’est son exactitude, sa précision, sa fidélité au texte' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

'Revelatory playing that comprehensively challenges current perceived standards of Ravel keyboard interpretation to set alongside the greatest of the past masters … a landmark set that offers unbound opportunities to learn, discover and delight in' (Piano, Germany)
In 1904, Ravel entered an international competition for the first movement of a Sonatine for piano, sponsored by an Anglo-French magazine, the Weekly Critical Review. But with bankruptcy looming, the competition was cancelled and he was left as the sole entrant. Curiously, Ravel’s movement was longer than the specified 75 bars—usually he stuck to the rules of any game he chose to play. Then he decided to complete the Sonatine, and two other movements were finished by August 1905. At the first Paris performance given by Gabriel Grovlez on 31 March 1906, one critic voiced what was to become a perennial complaint about Ravel’s music, that it was well written and charming, but lacking in emotion. Against this, the opening interval of a descending fourth grew to be a ubiquitous Ravel fingerprint—at the end of his opera L’enfant et les sortilèges it is set to the word ‘maman’, according to many of Ravel’s friends the only person he ever truly loved. The emotion is there, but has to be sought. Only with the finale does sheer technique obtrude, Ravel instructing that it be played ‘without prudence or mercy’.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011

En 1904, Ravel a participé à un concours international consacré au premier mouvement d’une Sonatine pour piano, financé par une revue anglo-française, la Weekly Critical Review. Mais avec la menace de faillite, le concours a été annulé et Ravel s’est retrouvé le seul participant. Curieusement, le mouvement de Ravel était plus long que les soixante-quinze mesures spécifiées—en général, il s’en tenait aux règles de tout jeu auquel il voulait participer. Il a ensuite décidé de compléter cette Sonatine et les deux autres mouvements ont été achevés en août 1905. Lors de la création parisienne donnée par Gabriel Grovlez le 31 mars 1906, un critique a exprimé ce qui allait devenir un grief perpétuel au sujet de la musique de Ravel, qu’elle était bien écrite et charmante, mais qu’elle manquait d’émotion. Pourtant, l’intervalle initial de quarte descendante allait devenir une empreinte omniprésente de Ravel—à la fin de son opéra L’enfant et les sortilèges il met en musique le mot «maman», qui selon un grand nombre d’amis de Ravel était la seule personne qu’il ait jamais vraiment aimée. L’émotion est là, mais il faut la chercher. La technique pure ne transparaît que dans le finale; Ravel demandait qu’il soit joué «sans prudence et sans merci».

extrait des notes rédigées par Roger Nichols © 2011
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Im 1904 nahm Ravel mit dem ersten Satz einer Sonatine für Klavier an einem Wettbewerb teil, der von dem englisch-französischen Journal Weekly Critical Review gesponsort wurde. Doch wurde der Wettbewerb aufgrund drohender Insolvenz abgesagt und Ravel blieb als einziger Teilnehmer zurück. Interessanterweise war Ravels Satz länger als die angegebenen 75 Takte, was ungewöhnlich war, da er sich normalerweise genau an derartige Spielregeln hielt. Er entschloss sich dann dazu, die Sonatine zu vervollständigen und die anderen beiden Sätze wurden im August 1905 fertig. Bei der ersten Pariser Aufführung, die Gabriel Grovlez am 31. März 1906 gab, sprach ein Kritiker aus, was dann immer wieder an Ravels Musik bemängelt werden sollte, nämlich, dass sie wohlkomponiert und charmant sei, es jedoch an Leidenschaft fehle. Dagegen sollte das Anfangsintervall, eine absteigende Quarte, Ravels allgegenwärtiges Markenzeichen werden—am Schluss seiner Oper L’enfant et les sortilèges wird damit das Wort „maman“ vertont; vielen Freunden Ravels zufolge soll das die einzige Person gewesen sein, die er je richtig geliebt habe. Die Leidenschaft ist da, sie muss nur herausgearbeitet werden. Erst im Finale tritt reine Technik in den Vordergrund und Ravel gibt die Anweisung, dass hier „ohne Vorsicht und ohne Gnade“ gespielt werden möge.

aus dem Begleittext von Roger Nichols © 2011
Deutsch: Viola Scheffel

Other albums featuring this work

Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2
CKD315Download only
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
CDA67731/22CDs