COMPOSERS: Chopin,Debussy,Faure,Poulenc and Ravel
WORKS: Works for solo piano by Chopin, Debussy, Fauré, Poulenc and Ravel
PERFORMER: Pascal Rogé (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 4057
The blurb tells us that Pascal Rogé ‘is today’s greatest ambassador and stylist in French piano music’. I hope and believe this is not the case. Technically he is secure. But rhythmically no phrase is safe from his advances.
Every note that can conceivably be interpreted as ‘important’ either has an agogic pause before it or else is dragged out to an unseemly length. It’s like reading Jane Austen with someone digging you in the ribs every ten seconds and saying ‘Geddit?’.
As a general rule, I believe record reviewers should listen to at least the vast majority of the notes they’re paid to scrutinise. But I have to confess that in this instance my ears and heart failed me after sampling half a dozen tracks (and by the way the advertisement of Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales on the back of the disc does not make clear that Rogé has chosen a group of just three of them, making a nonsense of the composer’s careful structure).
And the recording is overbright. Now for some rest and recuperation with Lipatti’s Chopin Waltzes… Roger Nichols