Ravel: Piano Concertos - Honnegger: Piano Concertino- Françaix: Piano Concertino
Charles Dutoit, Jean-Yves Thibaudet & Orchestre Symphonique De Montreal
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Ok, the Honnegger Concertino is swell, but the real reason you want this album is for the 2 stunning Ravel Concertos, both masterpieces of 20th Century Piano music. For my money, Thibaudet does a credible job on both. The "in G" Concerto has possibly the greatest slow movement in modern Piano Concertos. And, the "for the left hand" concerto is a virtuoso piece, darkly textured.
a stunning disc
Thibaudet is a rare artist in any age and this is a collaboration made in heaven. In terms of imagination this is a disc that blows me away every time I revisit it. Both of the Ravel Concerti are thought out to the most minute detail, yet sound fresh and improvisatory. Tone colors are subtle, balances are sensational and I can't recommend this disc enough to any music lover. Bravo to Jean-Yves, Charles Dutoit and all the folks at Decca for this gem!
Finely Detailed French Music
Thibaudet brings color and a light precision to Ravel's Concerto in G, along with the Honegger and Françaix. Dutoit and his orchestra accompany perfectly. For these three pieces alone I highly recommend this CD. The Concerto for the Left Hand, however, while also expertly played, is lacking. This is due to the fact that it is played in the same manner as the other three lighter works. Indeed, this is all French music, known for its expression through ornamentation and flirtations with jazz. But one of the most interesting things about the Concerto for the Left Hand is the fact that Ravel wrote both piano concertos at the same time, yet they contrast one another in every respect. Given the circumstances surrounding the commissioning of this concerto, its warlike romanticism, bordering on the brink of terror in parts, should have been brought out much more. Thibaudet, and even Dutoit, seem more content to focus on the incredible amount of particulars with which five fingers need ever be concerned. It's impressive for its virtuosity, but it's missing the point of the music, in my opinion. If, however, you would rather focus on this concerto's French character and less on its philosophical implications, I say go for it. This is wonderful playing.
Born: October 7, 1936 in Lausanne, Switzerland
Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s