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A great debut
on 22 January 2012
You'd expect a highly-publicised former 'child prodigy' pianist to take the world by storm with his playing, but Grosvenor's pianism is far too interesting to focus solely on pyrotechnics. Indeed, it could almost be described as stealthy, the way he focuses on clarity and inner lines in Chopin's Scherzos when other pianists are more intent on barnstorming virtuosity. My first reaction was that the Scherzos were played too tamely, but Grosvenor's playing soon won me over. What he has achieved is phenomenal, especially for a young musician: the pieces come across with such freshness that I felt like I was discovering every detail anew, yet there is no hint that Grosvenor was being 'different' or eccentric just for the sake of it.
Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit is characterised by a similar Classical feeling for lightness, grace and clarity - it takes you by stealth rather than by storm. Having grown up with Argerich's demonic recording, I like my Gaspard more volatile, so I'm still not totally used to Grosvenor, whose temperament here is essentially Argerich's polar opposite. If I had one complaint about Grosvenor's debut, it's that it's perhaps a bit too mature or 'sane' - but, given that we're looking at a young pianist making his first big recording, that can't altogether be a bad thing, especially since his playing is consistently fresh and interesting.