There used to be an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records to the effect that Ravel wrote the least amount of music of any great composer. And if you look at the orchestrations that he made of piano originals, then the amount of music becomes smaller still. Many of his most popular works, including the ubiquitous Pavane for a Dead Princess, the Valses Nobles et Sentimentales, Alborada del Gracioso, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Mother Goose, and Une Barque sur l'Ocean exist in both orchestral an piano versions, but there's still a good bit of original piano music, including the lovely Sonatine and most importantly, Gaspard de la Nuit. Thibaudet has played all of this music since he started teething: he knows it and loves it, and it shows. --David Hurwitz
NR (Not Rated)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to admit that I found some aspects of Mr. Thibaudet's interpretations of these pieces disorienting. However, as I got out the scores, worked on some of them myself, and listened to these recordings repeatedly, I can now say that I understand more about what the performer is after. Not that I always agree with him. Another person on this site discussed the staccato in the accompaniment of the Pavane. Yes, the orchestral recordings have a lush almost wet sound and many pianists go for that same sound. But once you look at the score, you see those staccato notes are there. Personally, I would soften that effect; I think this performance does sound a bit too dry. But I understand his choice and enjoy having had my horizons broadened. Mr. Thibaudet has a very capable facility, lots of technique, and a clear idea of each piece and he delivers it without faltering or compromise. I admire that a lot in a performer. His choices ask us for a reaction and we are free to...
Jean-Yves Thibaudet is the reigning master of the French repertoire for the piano. Not that his talent stops there: a survey of his recordings and performances demonstrate that this is one contemporary master who is equally at home in Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, contemporary works, etc, and he is a fine collaborator with other superb artists. His approach to the keyboard is at once romantic and informed and his technique is dazzling.
The two CD recording does the impossible in demonstrating the Thibaudet can toss of the most lightly fragrant works as well as the formidable challenges of 'Gaspard de la nuit' and the brutally difficult fugue from the elegant 'Le tombeau de Couperin'. Scattered throughout this recital are some rarities such as the 'Sérénade grotesque', the 'Minuet antique', 'Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn', and 'À la manière de. . .' as well as the much loved 'Pavane pour une infante défunte', 'Miroirs' and the 'Valses nobles et...
Is there a living pianist who plays this music better than Thibaudet? I don't think so. This 2 disc set is a treasure to own. Ravel is one of my two or three favorite composers and I have many albums of the piano pieces inc. Rubenstein, DeLaroccha, Simon, Casadesus, etc. Thibaudet wins hands down. (although DeLaroccha on both her albums of the concerti is pretty amazing!)
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