Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Maurice Ravel, Jean-Philippe Collard|
Ravel: Complete Works for Solo Piano
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Collard Plays Ravel
Robin Friedman | Washington, D.C. United States | 06/16/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Maurice Ravel's (1875 -- 1937)compositions for solo piano are not extensive, but almost all his works have become part of the standard repertoire. Ravel's piano music fits comfortably on a two-CD compilation. There are many available recordings, but I found this budget-priced reissue by Jean-Philippe Collard is an excellent way to get to know Ravel's piano music. Collard (b. 1948) is a French pianist who is known for his interpretations of French music, especially Saint-Saens and Faure. This CD of Ravel was initially released in 1978 and rereleased in 2005. A review of this CD on answers.com upon its reissue aptly stated that "the playing of Jean-Philippe Collard has a lot to recommend it, particularly in the way it is so naturally expressive. ...Collard's use of dynamics and pedal to color the mood and character of each piece never sounds forced or artificial, nor does he ever sacrifice momentum or expression."
Ravel's piano music is often compared to that of Debussy, but it has its own character. Ravel's piano works are almost always descriptive and programmatic. It has an elegance and a distinct rigor. Ravel drew inspiration from many composers, including his French predecessors Faure and Chabrier and the French baroque clavecinists. Much of his music is notoriously difficult to play. Ravel's harmonies are distinctive and the music often shimmers.
Collard plays this music expressively indeed, capturing the many glissandos, arpeggions, soft moving passages, and intricate pedalling that characterize Ravel's scores. The CD begins with Ravel's youthful short piece, "Serenade grotesque" (1895) and proceeds through "Le Tombeau de Couperin" (1917).
Collard does especially well with Ravel's collection of eight waltzes, "Valses nobles et sentimentales" which owes its inspiration to Schubert's short waltzes but with harmonies that are Ravel's own. This collection begins with a vigorous opening waltz, but the remainder of the collection is largely delicate and restrained. The final waltz called "Epilogue" recapitulates some or the earlier musical material.
My favorite work on this CD was "La Tombeau de Couperin" which Ravel composed as a tribute to his beloved French clavecinists, who frequently wrote "Tombeaux" as elegies. Ravel's work includes three classical dance movements, marked "forlane", "Rigaudon" and "Menuet", a fugue, a prelude, and a famously difficult concluding tocatta. In this music, Ravel celebrates nostalgically the elegance and lightness of a world that is no more -- both the world of the French baroque and the world of six of his friends who died in WW I.
Ravel's "Miroirs" is a harbinger of Twentieth Century music. This piece includes five deeply idiosyncratic and elusive movements describing a flight of night moths, sad birds in a forest, a ship sailing on the ocean and a valley of softly tolling bells. The famous fourth movement, "Alborado de gracioso" is of a different character as Ravel portrays energetically a jester. The movement is in the form of a Spanish dance.
Gaspard de la nuit is another programmatic work, virtuosic and often performed. Ravel set three poems by Aloysius Bertrand which portray a water sprite, a criminal hanging from the gallows -- with a piano part that captures the swing -- and, in a virtuosic movement, the antics of a dwarf named Scarbo.
The short three movement "sonatine" consists of three interrelated movements with Ravel's distinctive harmonies, and a light, elegant texture. This work is Ravel at his most classical.
Those listeners who love Ravel will have their own choice performers of his music. For those listeners without much detailed exposure to this composer, Collard's recording is an excellent place to start.
Mark | CANADA | 07/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I think M. Collar is doing a really good job in this complete set of Ravel piano solo music (missing "La valse") The sound is very good for my taste ; clear and pearly. Very clean in the technically difficulties as well. I can feel his music very well. These are sensitive interpretations. I love them. I recommend this disc highly. Usually, I find out that pianists have too much the same sound for Debussy and Ravel. But here, we cannot mixed up! This is real Ravel sound."