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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: 29 minutes 23 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

Miroirs
composer
1905; first performed by Ricardo Viñes on 6 January 1906

Other recordings available for download
Angela Hewitt (piano)
Steven Osborne (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
In the five pieces entitled Miroirs, written in 1905, Ravel’s compositional technique is clearly at work, but less patently than in the earlier works. The fast appoggiaturas in ‘Noctuelles’ and the sudden spurts of crescendo paint a picture of night moths flitting in the darkness, while the birds of ‘Oiseaux tristes’ utter their short–long call ‘in a very dark forest during the hottest hours of summer’. With ‘Une barque sur l’océan’ we emerge into the daylight. Here is a water piece that escapes the constraints of Jeux d’eau, or at least gives the impression of doing so, riding on a surge of arpeggios from start to finish. Ravel explained that the character of the clown (gracioso) in ‘Alborada del gracioso’ was humorous, but with an edge to him—less well meaning than Beaumarchais’s Figaro—and no doubt the drier tone and lighter action of the Erard pianos Ravel favoured would have accentuated the sharpness of the arpeggiated ‘guitar’ chords and repeated notes. ‘La vallée des cloches’ is the only one of the five pieces that reflects a particular reality, the sound of midday bells in Paris. Ravel demanded that each bell should have its own timbre, ‘within a pianissimo which he could, in some mysterious way, produce without it sounding feeble’. When Viñes gave the first performance of the set on 6 January 1906, ‘Alborada’ was encored.

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
'Stephen Hough's French Album' (CDA67890)
Stephen Hough's French Album

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