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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: 25 minutes 53 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

Le tombeau de Couperin
composer
begun in the summer of 1914; published in 1917; originally envisaged as a Suite française; first performed by Marguerite Long on 11 April 1919

Prélude  [3'17]
Fugue  [3'47]
Forlane  [6'52]
Rigaudon  [3'08]
Menuet  [4'55]
Toccata  [3'54]

Other recordings available for download
Angela Hewitt (piano)
Steven Osborne (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Ravel's last set of piano pieces, the suite Le tombeau de Couperin, acquired memorial significance only after his initial imagining of it as a Suite française: when young friends of his began to die in the trenches, a nostalgic look at eighteenth-century French music in general assumed more personal references. There is therefore very little if anything here that is solemn, let alone lugubrious. After a digitally challenging ‘Prélude’, the ‘Fugue’ (Ravel’s only published example of the form) unfolds with a sense of placid purpose, enlivened by the countersubject’s descending triplet. The ‘Forlane’, written in the summer of 1914, was the first movement to be written, and Ravel prepared for it by transcribing the forlane from Couperin’s fourth Concert royal, keeping the overall structure (ABACADA) but adorning it with some of his most acidic harmonies. After the ‘Rigaudon’, whose implacable outer sections enclose a dreamier central one, the last of his five ‘Menuets’ is a miracle of elegance and poise. The central musette brings with it a hint of the ‘Dies irae’ plainsong and builds into a powerful chromatic climax, before overlapping with insouciant skill beneath the return of the minuet. Ravel described the brilliant final ‘Toccata’ as ‘pure Saint-Saëns’—from him, a compliment to its excellent workmanship. Marguerite Long gave the first performance on 11 April 1919.

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
'Moura Lympany – The HMV Recordings, 1947-1952' (APR6011)
Moura Lympany – The HMV Recordings, 1947-1952
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