RavelGershwin

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COMPOSERS: RavelGershwin
LABELS: Oehms
ALBUM TITLE: Ravel & Gershwin Piano Concertos
WORKS: Piano Concertos
PERFORMER: Pascal Roge
Vienna RSO, Bertrand de Billy
CATALOGUE NO: OC 601
Pascal RogZ was one of many frontrank

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artists left high and dry by

major-label contractual meltdown,

so it is good to see him resurfacing

with the German independent label

Oehms. He recorded the Ravel

Concerto with Charles Dutoit for

Decca in the early 1980s, but this is

a far finer performance. The outer

movements of this piece can sound

flashy and superficial, but not here.

RogZ’s opening movement takes

full advantage of the more reflective

passages, probing delicately Ravel’s

subtle recesses of feeling with gently

lapping rubato. His finale, while

superbly virtuosic, finds sharp

differentiations of touch and tone in

the gathering excitement. The slow

movement isn’t, thank goodness,

too slow (Ravel’s ‘assai’ qualification

to the basic Adagio is crucial), and

has particularly sensitive interplay

between RogZ and the wind soloists.

This is a highly intelligent, richly

enjoyable interpretation: I can’t

recall another I have enjoyed more.

RogZ is again lightning-fast in his

attunement to the Gershwin idiom,

flashing off syncopated passages in

the opening movement, rattling

forth volleys of brilliant repeated

notes in the finale. The razor-sharp

contribution of Bertrand de Billy

and the Vienna Radio Symphony

Orchestra also commands

attention, and overall this

performance is at least the equal of

Previn’s classic EMI version. The

CD sound is good, the SACD layer

revealing a precision and tactility

of impact which significantly

enhances listener involvement.

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Terry Blain