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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CKD315
Recording details: April 2008
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Philip Hobbs
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: October 2008
Total duration: 16 minutes 51 seconds

'Maurice Ravel's liquid keyboard music runs like cool, clean water through the expert hands of pianist Artur Pizarro. His refined sensitivity to this gossamer repertoire makes this, his second album of Ravel, a recording to treasure. He handles the first movement of the Sonatine in masterly fashion and displays a profound understanding of the nuances of Valse nobles et sentimentales, coupled here with Pavane pour une infante défunte. A quixotic reading of the always rewarding Le tombeau de Couperin completes a delightful selection' (The Observer)

'Pizarro opens this magical recital with two of Ravel's most heart-warming miniatures, the Prélude and Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn, which between them embrace some of Ravel's most poignant harmonies. This is music that should seduce simply by the sound it makes and Pizarro's supple, affectionate, detailed yet gracefully natural performances get right to the heart of the matter … the greatest challenge here is Le tombeau de Couperin, and here again Pizarro proves equal to the music's coruscating demands, imparting a seductive warmth to the 'Fugue' (always a tricky movement) and a hypnotically light-as-air quality to the 'Prélude' … for those who value above all the intoxicating allure of these treasurable pieces, Pizarro has no rivals' (International Record Review) » More

'Pizarro demonstrates admirable technique and displays some great insight into compositions that I felt I knew inside out. Ravel was a master painter with a really wide palette and this artist seems to have a real gift for offering the listener a rich, colourful and very satisfying experience from his outstanding playing. We are not short of Ravel discs but I would place this (and the first volume) the top of the list. A set of simply superb performances from beginning to end that gets my highest recommendation' (Hi-Fi Plus)

'Pizarro deutet „seinen“ Ravel komplex: Konzentriert und impulsiv, beherrscht und temperamentvoll, klangsinnig und hörend, strukturell und emotional erwärmt. Auch diese Wandlungsfähigkeit macht seine Interpretation so interessant' (Klassik.com, Germany) » More
PERFORMANCE
RECORDING

Valses nobles et sentimentales
composer
1911; first performed by Louis Aubert on 9 May 1911

Assez lent  [2'21]
Modéré  [1'31]
Assez animé  [1'25]
Presque lent  [1'19]
Vif  [0'45]
Moins vif  [2'53]
Epilogue: Lent  [5'19]

Other recordings available for download
Angela Hewitt (piano)
Steven Osborne (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
No clearer example can be found of Ravel’s determination to avoid repeating himself than his Valses nobles et sentimentales, following on the atmospherics (themselves differentiated) of Gaspard and Ma mère l’oye for piano duet. Here the style, as he said, ‘is simpler and clearer, in which the harmony is harder and the lines of the music are made to show up’. The epigraph at the head of the score, ‘the delightful and ever novel pleasure of a pointless occupation’, suggests that the notes provide their own rationale; but the Henri de Régnier novel from which the quotation comes deals with a young man’s amorous adventures, so, as often with Ravel, there is a tension between strict form and unbounded emotion. In coaching the work, he insisted on the cross rhythms being brought out, and Vlado Perlemuter remembered: ‘I had never seen his eyes so bright—he was so determined on being understood.’ After the seven waltzes, the Epilogue recalls various themes, and here for the first and only time the music is enveloped in a nostalgic haze. Louis Aubert gave the first performance on 9 May 1911 in a concert where the composers’ names were withheld until the end and the audience was asked to guess them. Some guessed Ravel, some Satie and Kodály, and some condemned the Valses as unmusical and cacophonous. Certainly they represented a new Ravel.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011


Other albums featuring this work
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67341/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
'Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music' (CDA67731/2)
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music

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