Ravel * Faure: Faure Ballade, Op 19

By Nicholas, Jeremy | Gramophone, November 2015 | Go to article overview

Ravel * Faure: Faure Ballade, Op 19


Nicholas, Jeremy, Gramophone


Ravel * Faure [G] Faure Ballade, Op 19 Ravel Piano Concertos--in

G; for the Left Hand [a]

Yuja Wang pf

[a] Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra / Lionel Bringuier

DG [F] 479 4954GH (50' * DDD)

Ravel * Schmitt

Ravel Piano Concertos--in G; for the Left Hand

Schmitt J'entends dans le Iointain ...

Vincent Larderet pf

OSE Symphonic Orchestra / Daniel Kawka

Ars Produktion [F] [DVD]ARS38178 (75' * DDD/DSD)

On paper, this first foray into French territory by one of today's star pianists looks promising. The Tonhalle Orchestra was the first European orchestra with whom Yuja Wang appeared, aged 15; she performed regularly with them during the 2014-15 season; added to which she and Bringuier are very much on the same wavelength musically. 'There was,' she says, 'little to discuss during rehearsals.'

A good project on paper does not always translate to a successful recording. In this case, however, it does--with knobs on. Five years ago, when I wrote a Collection piece for these pages on Ravel's G major Concerto, I put Jean Casadesus at the top, closely followed by Anne Queffelec, Michelangeli and Argerich. I'm not sure I wouldn't have awarded the palme d'or to this recording. The outer movements are so deliciously light, like the most perfect souffle, executed with disarming insouciance by pianist and orchestra alike, exemplified by the cheeky clarinet and trombone licks at the start of the third movement. …

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