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Maurice Ravel Volume Two - Artur Pizarro - Musical Pointers


30 September 2008
Musical Pointers
Peter Grahame Woolf

After receiving for review this completion of Artur Pizarro's Ravel integrale I have caught up with the first volume, recorded at Lisbon in 2006 on a Hamburg Steinway D, and generally well reviewed.

This second disc contains some of my favourites by this fastidious composer, and I venture the thought that it is better recorded, that owing much to Pizarro's choice of a piano from the Bluthner Piano Centre in London, where we recently enjoyed a Beethoven recital by Mikhail Shilaev, a young pianist who we have championed since his success at the Ricci Foundation competition.

There is a quality of attention to detail and focus which grips the attention, especially in the more transparent music here. Ravel has a relatively small oeuvre of solo piano music but each work is distinctively different, which makes him an ideal candidate for complete recording - not so for many more prolific composers who are better represented by careful choices.

The Bluthner is particularly suited to the Sonatine and the Schubert-inspired Waltz sequence, not to speak of the baroque-derived Couperin tribute. My only reservation, in the earlier disc, was La Valse; I have more than once concluded that it is essentially, after all, a virtuoso orchestral work and better left thus.

We don't go in for direct comparisons. I long treasured the classic Perlemuter boxed set LPs, but I feel that this very new recording (Vol.2 was recorded in Bristol, as recently as April 2008) will stand well for Ravel in the first decade of this next century. I look forward to reading the piano pundits, and to our covering the celebration recital which Artur Pizarro will be giving at St John's, Smith Square, from where he had already performed and broadcast the entire Ravel cycle.


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The Complete Works of Ravel Vol. 2The Complete Works of Ravel Vol. 2