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Ravel: Works for Solo Piano (Complete)
 
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Ravel: Works for Solo Piano (Complete)

1 Nov 2003 | Format: MP3

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11:22
Disc 2
30
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6:45
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6:39
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8:58
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6:13
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2:10
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1:27
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2:04
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1:21
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4:34
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5:25
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3:07
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3:56


Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Nov 2003
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Chandos
  • Copyright: (C) 2003 Chandos
  • Total Length: 2:20:37
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001MV18QG
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,232 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Paul Turner on 3 Jun 2007
Format: Audio CD
This is beautifully executed, well recorded, musically involving piano playing of the highest order and a safe recommendation for anyone looking for all Ravel's piano music. It was recorded in the Snape Maltings, so the acoustic is realistic if just very slightly resonant. For complete sets of Ravel there are also Bavouzet on MDG, Thibaudet on Decca and Artur Pizarro on two Linn discs. Bavouzet plays a 1901 Steinway which can occasionally sound a little shallow in the bass. Thibaudet sounds like a modern studio recording. Pizarro is recorded in an empty theatre and the rather outsize image sounds bangy when the volume peaks.
Among Ravel's solo piano works, the crown must go to Gaspard de la nuit and Miroirs - two of the greatest works in the 20th-century repertoire for solo piano. Lortie's performance of Gaspard is thrilling, and the devilish final movement - Scarbo - has an audible edge in terms of clarity over close rivals like Martha Argerich. Another very fine Gaspard - both as performance and recording - is currently out of the catalogue. This is Berezovsky, whose combination of virtuosity, musicality and detail is remarkable, not least in a very fast Scarbo.
In the first movement - the sublime Ondine - Berezovsky is just a shade too swift, but unlike many pianists he fully realises the climax of the movement, in which notes repeatedly cascade down the keyboard in the right hand while Ondine the water nymph rises from the depths in the left. Lortie, Thibaudet and Michelangeli (BBC Legends) also build the tension here as Ravel intended, and all four provide a consistently wonderful realisation of the rapid scales and figurations that evoke waves and Ondine's seductive but terrifying laughter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By N. Towers on 12 Aug 2011
Format: Audio CD
The sound on this double CD is superb and the playing, to my inexperienced ears, is fantastic. The recordings of 'Gaspard', 'Pavanne', and 'Jeux d'eau', which I also have on an EMI Ravel collection, are better here. Altogether this is a very enjoyable disc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An overlooked set 4 May 2006
By Anthony S. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Lortie's technique is assured and (I say this as a compliment) his approach seems to take Ravel's advice to heart: it suffices to perform the music rather than [over]interpret it. Ranks up there with Simon, Thibaudet, and Casadesus among other sets. Very good recorded sound.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Extraordinary 2 Nov 2009
By Alan Lekan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Now here is some fine playing of Ravel's solo piano music. While I may prefer the temp/feel/rubato of other performers in some pieces, Mr. Lortie delivers a wonderful presentation of Ravel's magical music.

No piece is more well done here than the legendary le Gaspard de la Nuit, one of the pinnicle compositions for solo piano in the 20th century (and most difficult to pull off). Being familiar with versions of Hewitt, Argerich and others, Louis Lortie's reading here brings out such clarity of notes that I literally heard the music as new. While others may being more sheer demonic power (Argerich), Lortie's breathtaking playing here may just well leave you with a new inspiration. In a piece tempting to be overpedelled (the great Martha Argerich for one dare I say can make a blurr of this piece in spite of her scintilizing performance), Lortie's pedeling is really impressive and creates such crystalinity and pureness in the music, wonderfully assisted by some amazing Chandos sound engineering. I am surprised more music experts have not weighed in here on his le Gaspard because the clarity of such a technically demanding piece as this really blew me away.

While le Gaspard is the highlight for me, I do admit I prefer slightly more Angela Hewitt's more feminine and dreamy flowing tempos is some of the other works. She has an innate sense for Ravel's poetry. But Lortie rules the dark night with a fabulous performance of le Gaspard de la Nuit and an overall exceptional complete works set. Compositions - 5 stars; Performance - 4.5 stars; Sound quality - 5 stars. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Stellar, with superior sonics 7 Sep 2011
By garoldovich - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Elsewhere I have raved about Lortie's complete Beethoven cycle Louis Lortie: Complete Beethoven Piano Sonatas. All the strengths of that set are here, and arguably more. Lortie's musical temperament seems ideally suited to Ravel. He finds all the color, fire, and poetry inherent in this music. Ravel's piano works simply cannot thrive without color, and Lortie paints with the full range of the impressionistic palette, never spilling into the drab or ugly hues.

While nothing is weak here, one may find performances of individual works out there that one prefers. But will you ever hear a more stunning "Gaspard de la nuit" than Lortie's? It's all fabulous, but his "Scarbo" will rock you out of your seat! For me, another towering peak among the tall mountains is his "Miroirs." What interpretive imagination! Even when there may be a toss-up with, say, a Simon or Perlemuter, the vote goes to Lortie because of the marvelous recorded sound. While in one or two pieces it is a tad too closely miked for my taste, overall it is stunningly natural. Why are not more digital piano recordings like this?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A modernist's Ravel 15 Feb 2014
By M. Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Louis Lortie's collection of Ravel's music for solo piano is an argument for something that I have often said about classical music recordings: there is no such thing as a BEST recording. One can, of course, find very poor recorded performances of most works but performers of a certain level of accomplishment, technique and knowledge - that is, the virtuosi who have left their traces in the catalogues of major classical labels like Chandos, Deutsche Gramophon, Decca, CBS Masterworks and the like - are capable of producing equally accomplished, brilliant performances.

This is not to say that all of these performances are equal of course, since one of the great pleasures of listening to great music, performed by great musicians, is listening to how each one approaches a performance from a unique interpretive perspective. No less an authority than Ferruccio Busoni once opined that all music is transcription, since the composer transcribes abstract ideas into concrete notation, and the performer transcribes the notation into a performance.

My favourite performance of Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit - often considered one of the most difficult pieces in the piano repertoire - is Martha Argerich's for Deutsche Gramophon. As much as I love her performance, however, I cannot reasonably argue that it is the best. While Argerich's performance is all 20th-century angst through the lens of 19th-century romanticism, Lortie's is very much a performance of the early-20th century. His is a precise Gaspard, honed to razor-sharp. All the terror of Le gibet is there, but it is fear in bright sunlight, and not in shadows. The ondine is fluid and bright, almost pointillist in its clarity. Scarbo is manic, teetering, but never quite falling into chaos. It is a brilliant performance: confident, and authoritative. It is passionate, too, but with a kind of detachment evoking existential despair.

The other pieces on this set are equally bold and, at times, idiosyncratic. Lortie's Tombeau de Couperin is emotionally gutting in its evocation of emptiness and the death of hope in every perfectly-voiced and controlled note. His Valses nobles et sentimentales evokes the popular dance-hall of the Belle Epoque, while also anticipating post-WWI neoclassicism with harpsichord voicing. Again, I prefer Argerich, but this interpretation is certainly equally valid and, in a way, somehow more "French." Lortie finds a fascinating space between the Paris of Montmartre and the Paris of Rameau and Couperin that is very compelling.

The recording itself is pristine and very present. Unlike many recordings of French music of the late-19th and early-20th century, the producer chose not to record too much of the performance space. If I have a complaint, it is that the piano used in this session might be a little too hard and brittle for some of the more evocative pieces. That is a very small complaint and, paired with other performances of this great music - Argerich, Roge, etc. - this set stands very well as an exceptional performance.
Classical and French 29 July 2014
By Ken Braithwaite - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A very classical, clean elegant set of Ravel's piano music. Lortie downplays the harmonic ambiguity in favor of cleaner lines. Terrific recording.
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