The title owes to Proust. Imogen Cooper, re-exploring pieces she learnt when a teenager in Paris (she explains this in the booklet), opens this eighty-three-minute recital with Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, establishing that she is very well recorded, with immediacy and dynamism (courtesy of Jonathan Cooper at Potton Hall during February last year) and that she is not afraid to be steely with this music, making much of accents; by contrast, she can be flexible and seductive. (Only a few hours ago, I was listening to John Wilson’s fastidious conducting of this work: http://www.colinscolumn.com/john-wilson-sinfonia-of-london-record-music-by-maurice-ravel-for-chandos/. Further Ravel follows from Cooper, a lovely time-taken account of the three-movement Sonatine, very expressive, especially in the soulful central movement, which the mercurial Finale offsets. Liszt next, a rippling account of ‘Les Jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este’ (from the Third Year of the Années de Pèlerinage) complemented by Ravel’s impressionistic Jeux d’eau, if at times a little too forthright: a combination of the piano’s closeness and Cooper’s clarity. There follows a compelling/idiomatic reading of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.13, which has an earthy quality, with Magyar melodies threaded through, en route to a scintillating conclusion. She also does Fauré’s Thème et Variations (Opus 73) proud, finely balancing harmonic elusiveness and strength of invention. Penultimately is Liszt’s Réminiscences de Lucia de Lammermoor de Donizetti – from the theatre to the salon with no loss of memorable arias or dramatic tension. Finally, as a winding-down encore, is Respighi’s atmospheric ‘Notturno’ from his collection of Pieces catalogued as P44. Throughout, producer Rachel Smith ensures that very few noises-off spoil the one-to-one listening experience. Chandos CHAN 20235.

https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%2020235