6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Rhapsody in Blue (Audio CD)
Many reviews, whether online or elsewhere in the media, liken the Grosvenor touch to great pianists of the past, the reason for which seems to be that he has developed a personal style, rather than merely conform to the stereotypical convention of today, where personality is misconstrued with idiosyncracy. For that much, I take my hat off to this man, yet there is no sense of idiosyncracy in anything on this CD.
The Saint-Saens and Gershwin Rhapsody come off best and are fit to take their place alongside any performance or recording, past or present. Each is played with flair and imagination. There is also excellent support from the orchestra and conductor. My 'four-star' rating arises from the Ravel which is a slight disappointment, especially in the slow movement. The outer movements contain plenty of panache and interesting turns of phrase, but the adagio assai would benefit from a little less 'thinking' and a touch more 'inspiration'. Just occasionally, it sounds self-conscious and gives the allusion of slowing down. The concentration is apt to drift as a consequence, but it is possible play this music at a slower tempo, and avoid this. I am reminded how much I enjoy Alicia de Larrocha, Jean-Pilippe Collard, Martha Argerich and Cecile Ousset in this movement/concerto.
That said, I must emphasise that this point does not diminish my esteem for the disc as a whole or the pianist. I do, however, hope I shall hear Mr. Grosvenor play this work after he has lived another twenty years. This ultra-reflective music is not typical 'jeune-homme' music and it is important to remember that the afore-mentioned pianists, although exceedingly great, were at least thirty years Benjamin Grosvenor's senior when their recordings were made.
In a nutshell, there is much to enjoy and admire here. My only caveat is that if the slow movement of the Ravel Concerto in G is the most vital track in your personal search criteria, as it is mine, this reading will provide ALMOST all your requirements.
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Initial post: 16 Oct 2012, 02:04:58 BST
C. Razzell says:
I found the adagio assai of the Ravel as spell-binding and shockingly tranquil as ever it needed to be. I certainly didn't have time to lose concentration before the dissonant second theme and the final presto brought me back from reverie.
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