Hugh Canning
The Sunday Times
June 2017

Both of Ravel’s piano concertos date from the early 1930s, and were premiered in 1932, within 10 days of each other, the G major by Marguerite Long (a favourite of the composer) and the D major for left hand by the one-armed player Paul Wittgenstein, whose improvisatory flourishes he disapproved of heartily. Osborne, who has already recorded Ravel’s complete solo works for Hyperion, is a scrupulous and lucid Ravelian who delights in the lighter textures of the slightly earlier G major concerto, while lending due weight and almost Lisztian technical bravura to the darker D major. The French conductor brings stylistic flair to Ravel’s bluesy melodies, and the orchestra and Osborne revel in the cascading chords and cakewalky rhythmic piquancy of the D major’s central section. Falla’s nostalgic evocation of his homeland has fallen out of favour, but Osborne has a great time with the Spanish dance flavour of the piece, perfectly complementing the concertos of the composer’s slightly older contemporary.