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Maurice Ravel Volume Two - Artur Pizarro - SA-CD.net


23 September 2008
SA-CD.net
John Broggio
5 Stars

A triumphant follow-up to the first volume, which had superlative playing but was marred by a poor recording. Fortunately, this recording is of a completely different class (sonically speaking) and Pizarro's playing is of the same exalted standard that graced Volume 1.

In this volume, rather than a Steinway, Pizarro opts to play a very fine Bluthner grand piano in one of the UK's finest chamber music venue's - St. Georges, Brandon Hill (Bristol). The sounds that Pizarro draws from the instrument are close to those of Ravel's favoured choice of instrument: Erard. The tone is firmer though and it is thanks to the limpid playing of Pizarro that all details of Ravel's writing are conveyed with such fine delicacy. There is real magic in the playing too - at no time does one feel that Pizarro considers the miniatures to be make-weights, they are all invested with the dedication and love that is so readily apparent in popular masterpieces such as the Pavane pour une Infante Defunte.

The Sonatine is given a reading that mirrors its neo-Classical heritage whereas the Valses nobles et sentimentales are imbued with exactly those feelings. The soft tone of the Bluthner comes into its own in the Pavane - pure magic from start to finish (something that could equally apply to the whole disc) with a genuinely cantabile sound. Le Tombeau de Couperin concludes Pizarro's survey with the same sense of vigour and grace that characterised the playing of the first volume (although I hope his partnership with Vita Panomariovaite might have the chance to set down the 2 piano works). Again, the neo-Classical style is given a wonderful clarity and poise that yet has a forward momentum all of its own; never forced.

The recording is a world away from the first volume (and mercifully so) - it is wonderful that Pizarro's artistry is displayed in the manner that it deserves.

A delight from beginning to end - I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this to even the most jaded listener.
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The Complete Works of Ravel Vol. 2The Complete Works of Ravel Vol. 2