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Hyperion Records

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Near St Tropez (1892) by Hubert de la Rochefoucauld
Galerie L'Ergasterre, Paris / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67341/2
Recording details: August 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ludger Böckenhoff
Engineered by Ludger Böckenhoff
Release date: April 2002
Total duration: 25 minutes 42 seconds

'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)

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  [3'07]
Fugue  [3'27]
Forlane  [5'44]
Rigaudon  [3'15]
Menuet  [6'01]
Toccata  [4'08]

Other recordings available for download
Artur Pizarro (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 music for solo piano, Vol. 2' (CKD315)
Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 CKD315  Download only  
'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
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6011  for the price of 1 — Download only  

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