Rachmaninov, Ravel

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Rachmaninov,Ravel
WORKS: Études-tableaux, Op. 39/1 & 2 & Op. 33/2, 6 & 9; Sonatine; Miroirs
PERFORMER: Lise de la Salle (piano)
Lise de la Salle was all of 14 when she recorded this disc last September. I have heard a number of 14-year-olds who appear capable of playing almost anything, not only with technical assurance but also with a mature artistic sense. This girl is certainly one, at least in the two composers of whom she is especially fond (according to the booklet notes). Recorded quite close, but with a rich sound, she is also a powerful player. Sometimes her energy gets the better of her judgement, so that the notes forming inner filling, or texture, at the start of Ravel’s Sonatine are a bit too intrusive, and the moths in the first piece of Miroirs almost seem to have wings of metal.


We would never expect a composer of this age to be original, but what about a pianist? Let’s put it this way: Lise de la Salle doesn’t do anything revelatory, though Geneviève Joy-Dutilleux declares that ‘as soon as she receives a suggestion it is understood, assimilated, then immediately improved on’. I sense a rather close-up view of many of the pieces here, as if she isn’t yet free to make them her own.


She might do worse than listen to the exquisite recording of Ravel’s Sonatine by Valerie Tryon, who studied with Jacques Février and shows the present-day French the neglected art of ‘jeu perlé’. Tryon is impeccably stylish, too, in Miroirs, though for vivid imagery, I would recommend Eric Himy. Adrian Jack