The piano is a Pleyel, the “Grand patron” manufactured in 1892, a sound in Ravel’s ears, with its bright dryish timbre well-suited to the G-major Concerto, so too the instruments of the period sported by Les Siècles, for a rendition that connects to the early-1930s and is far more than an exercise in history: it’s a perky and (for us now) differently-coloured performance that is as enjoyable as it is instructive, although the slow movement would benefit from a little more flow (as Cédric Tiberghien manages later in Pavane pour une infante défunte); even so the distinctive woodwinds and warm strings are alluring. The contemporaneous Left-hand Concerto is exceptional – a true masterwork as well – ominous and emotionally explosive, darkly jazzy with fairy-tale escapes. This account is as detailed and as dynamic as could be wished for, although the very end is rushed, and it’s a bit of a tutti blur between 5:32 and 5:43, but what a tremendous bass this piano has, and how precise Tiberghien’s five digits are – plenty of fervour and he’s equally sensitive and searching in the cadenza following orchestral cataclysm. Pianist and Pleyel offer much, too, to partner Stéphane Degout, his light baritone sympathetic (if edgily recorded at fortissimo) to Ravel’s mélodies: the Don Quichotte, hébraïques, and Mallarmé cycles, plus the singular Sainte. The booklet for Harmonia Mundi HMM 902612 includes texts and translations.
Harmonia Mundi releases Ravel’s Piano Concertos and a selection of Songs – Cédric Tiberghien, Stéphane Degout, and Les Siècles conducted by François-Xavier Roth.
Jul 16, 2022 | Recording Reviews | 0 comments