Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit; Sonatine; Valses nobles et sentimentales; La valse

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COMPOSERS: Ravel
LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Gaspard de la nuit; Sonatine; Valses nobles et sentimentales; La valse
PERFORMER: Boris Berezovsky (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-94539-2 DDD
Ravel’s piano music offers a pianist many hurdles to leap. It demands the ability to play a mind-boggling number of notes, but also calls for an orchestral response to tone colour and the most vivid imagination to bring to life the nightmare visions of Gaspard de la nuit and the apocalyptic vortex of La valse. Boris Berezovsky apparently has no trouble at all in rising to the technical challenges here. This young Russian, Moscow Conservatoire trained and a recent Tchaikovsky Competition winner, has a most phenomenal facility to get around the piano and virtually every filigree note is as clear as crystal.

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At times, his very brilliance seems to threaten fuller emotional expression and there are moments when this could be more intense – ‘Scarbo’ could have more sense of evil, the Sonatine’s final movement a greater feeling of élan. But on the whole his playing is nothing less than superb and now and then there are really inspired ideas: in La valse, the first appearance of the Straussian theme in thirds brims with such sensuality and tenderness that when it ultimately returns to whirl the waltz to its death the contrast comes as quite a shock. Berezovsky is certainly a young artist to watch. Jessica Duchen