REGISTER NOW AND GET
• 5 FREE tracks! • 101 tracks for $9.99
ClassicsOnline Home » RAVEL, M.: Piano Works (Complete) (Ader)
Astonishingly deep - and far from the crowd
Not at all well known outside France, Alice Ader is today deservedly ranked among the finest interpreters of French piano music, and her Debussy recordings in particular have met with considerable acclaim. With the passing of Vlado Perlemuter in 2002 the last of what could be called the "Ravel pupils" – that is to say pianists who knew Ravel personally and played his music to him – left us, and the field is now open to the interpretational views of the younger generations... views that tend to differ rather considerably from those of the composer, for better or worse.
Alice Ader first came to my attention with her recording of the Franck Piano Quintet, which for the first time made me fully enjoy this wonderful, but forbidding, chamber work. Her approach to these most inspired piano pieces of the 20th century (along with those by Debussy) is one of depth and contemplation more than the clarity and simplicity Ravel always advocated. This, however, generally works very well for me, with the possible exception of the Valses, which tend to be rather more sentimental than noble. Only Pogorelich, to my knowledge, have ever done them slower, and his version is dangerously close to getting fatally stuck in the mud. In works like the Sonatine, Le Tombeau de Couperin, and Miroirs, though, Ader really penetrates to the very bottom of the music, and pieces like Oiseaux tristes, La valée des cloches, and the Forlane (from Le Tombeau) have rarely - if ever - been played more convincingly. To my pleasant surprise the more showy tracks (Jeux d’eau, Ondine and Scarbo) are most impressively done as well, with all the wit they require - and only a smidgen less sparkle. All in all I would say that this set ranks among the very top ones in my collection alongside those by Rogé, Lortie and Pludermacher, and, perhaps because it is so very different, it complements them in so many unexpected ways.
The recording is both full and detailed, almost giving one the impression of being seated right next to the piano. This may infuriate some, but personally I never understood why producers today prefer to record piano music as if one as a listener was seated in the 27th row to the far right – with a Sumo wrestler in front of one. I know they like to call it realism – but since I don’t have to pay extra for the CD to be in the front row, why not give me the chance to hear all of the nuances of the music for once, as the composer took the trouble to write them in the first place. So, full marks from me to the recording crew; Ravel lovers with closeness issues... Beware!more....
Last Albums Viewed
RAVEL, M.: Piano Works (Complete) (Ader)