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Track(s) taken from CDA67341/2

Miroirs

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

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: 29 minutes 45 seconds

Cover artwork: Near St Tropez (1892) by Hubert de la Rochefoucauld
Galerie L'Ergasterre, Paris / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1
Noctuelles  [5'00]
2
Oiseaux tristes  [4'21]
3
4
5

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 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

Dans les cinq pièces intitulées Miroirs, composées en 1905, la technique de composition de Ravel est toujours là, mais de manière moins manifeste. Les appogiatures rapides dans «Noctuelles» et les brusques poussées de crescendo peignent un tableau de papillons de nuit voletant dans l’obscurité, alors que les oiseaux des «Oiseaux tristes» émettent leur appel court-long «dans la torpeur d’une forêt très sombre aux heures les plus chaudes de l’été». Avec «Une barque sur l’océan», on émerge dans la lumière du jour. Voici une pièce aquatique qui échappe aux contraintes des Jeux d’eau, ou au moins en donne l’impression, portée par une montée d’arpèges du début à la fin. Ravel a expliqué que le caractère du clown (gracioso) dans l’«Alborada del gracioso» était plein d’humour, mais avec quelque chose de tendu—moins bien intentionné que le Figaro de Beaumarchais—et il ne fait aucun doute que le son plus sec et le mécanisme plus léger des pianos Erard qu’affectionnait tant Ravel devaient accentuer la netteté des accords de «guitare» arpégés et des notes répétées. «La vallée des cloches» est la seule de ces cinq pièces à refléter une réalité particulière, le son des cloches de midi à Paris. Ravel a demandé que chaque cloche ait son propre timbre «dans cette nuance pianissimo dont il avait le secret pour la faire sans mollesse». Lorsque Viñes a créé ce recueil le 6 janvier 1906, l’«Alborada» a été bissée.

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

In den fünf Stücken mit dem Titel Miroirs, die 1905 entstanden, ist Ravels Kompositionstechnik noch spürbar, wenn auch weniger offenkundig. Die schnellen Appoggiaturen in „Noctuelles“ und die plötzlichen Crescendi stellen Nachtfalter dar, die in der Dunkelheit umherflattern, während die Vögel in „Oiseaux tristes“ „in der Benommenheit eines sehr düsteren Waldes in den heißesten Sommerstunden“ ihren kurz-lang-Ruf äußern. Mit „Une barque sur l’océan“ gelangen wir ans Tageslicht. Hierbei handelt es sich um ein Wasserstück, das nicht denselben Einschränkungen unterliegt wie die Jeux d’eau, oder zumindest ist dies nicht offensichtlich, da es von Anfang bis Ende auf einer Welle von Arpeggien reitet. Ravel erklärte, dass die Figur des Clowns (gracioso) in „Alborada del gracioso“ humoristisch, jedoch nicht ganz harmlos sei—weniger wohlgesinnt als Beaumarchais’ Figaro—und der trockenere Ton und leichtere Anschlag der Erard-Flügel, die Ravel besonders schätzte, akzentuierten sicherlich die Schärfe der arpeggierten „Gitarren-Akkorde“ und Tonrepetitionen. „La vallée des cloches“ ist das einzige der fünf Stücke, in dem eine bestimmte Realität widergespiegelt wird—es handelt sich hierbei um die Mittagsglocken in Paris. Ravel verlangte, dass jede Glocke ihr eigenes Timbre haben sollte, „mit jenem Pianissimo, das er derartig beherrschte, dass es ohne jede Weichheit erklang“. Als Viñes den Zyklus am 6. Januar 1906 zum ersten Mal aufführte, spielte er „Alborada“ als Zugabe.

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

Other albums featuring this work

Ravel: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 1
Studio Master: CKD290Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Ravel: The Complete Solo Piano Music
CDA67731/22CDs
Stephen Hough's French Album
CDA67890
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