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Track(s) taken from CDA67341/2

Pavane pour une infante défunte

1899; first performed by Ricardo Viñes on 5 April 1902; orchestrated by Ravel in 1910

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: 7 minutes 4 seconds

Cover artwork: Near St Tropez (1892) by Hubert de la Rochefoucauld
Galerie L'Ergasterre, Paris / Bridgeman Art Library, London

Other recordings available for download

Steven Osborne (piano)
Artur Pizarro (piano)
London Symphony Orchestra, Valery Gergiev (conductor)
London Chamber Orchestra, Christopher Warren-Green (conductor)


'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' (Classics Today)

'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)
Ricardo Viñes premiered the Pavane pour une infante défunte on 5 April 1902, by which time Ravel was coming to general notice as a promising talent. The Pavane is probably the earliest of his pieces that ‘everybody knows’. But its success was always a little galling for Ravel, as he came to recognize its shortcomings and (again) its dependence on Chabrier. He was also irritated by pianists who played it too slowly, prompting him on one occasion to remark that it was the princess that was defunct, not the pavane. On the other hand, ‘one mustn’t turn it into a drama’. The answer perhaps lies in his suggestion that ‘at the same time as making the accompaniment secondary to the tune, you must insist on the latter’s slightly mechanical aspect’. Not for the last time, a Ravel piece turns out to be aesthetically more complex than it seems.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2011

Ricardo Viñes a créé la Pavane pour une infante défunte le 5 avril 1902, époque à laquelle Ravel commençait à être reconnu de tous comme un talent prometteur. La Pavane est probablement la première de ses œuvres que «tout le monde connaît». Mais son succès a toujours été un peu vexant pour Ravel, car il était conscient de ses défauts et (une fois encore) de sa dépendance vis-à-vis de Chabrier. Il s’irritait aussi des pianistes qui la jouaient trop lentement, ce qui l’a incité un jour à déclarer: «J’ai écrit une Pavane pour une Infante défunte … [et] pas une Pavane défunte pour une Infante.» D’autre part, «il ne fallait pas en faire un drame». La réponse réside peut-être dans sa suggestion: «Tout en lui asservissant [au chant] l’accompagnement insistez sur son côté un peu mécanique.» Une fois encore et ce n’est pas la dernière, un morceau de Ravel s’avère être plus complexe sur le plan esthétique qu’il n’y paraît.

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

Ricardo Viñes gab die Premiere der Pavane pour une infante défunte am 5. April 1902, als der Komponist bereits allgemein als vielversprechendes Talent galt. Die Pavane ist wahrscheinlich das früheste seiner Werke, die „jeder kennt“. Doch war ihr Erfolg für Ravel stets etwas irritierend, da ihm dadurch die Mängel des Werks und (wiederum) seine Abhängigkeit von Chabrier nur allzu bewusst wurden. Es ärgerte ihn auch, wenn es zu langsam gespielt wurde—bei einer solchen Gelegenheit bemerkte er, dass die Infantin verstorben sei, nicht die Pavane. Andererseits dürfe man das Werk auch „nicht zu einem Drama machen“. Der Schlüssel liegt vielleicht in seiner Empfehlung, dass „die Begleitung der Melodie untergeordnet, doch gleichzeitig der leicht mechanische Aspekt der Letzteren herausgearbeitet werden sollte“. Nicht zum letzten Mal entpuppt sich ein ravelsches Werk als ästhetisch komplexer, als es zunächst erscheint.

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

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