Monday, March 26, 2012
Chopin - Liszt - Ravel
Executive producer: Ben Pateman
Recording producer: Simon Kiln
Recording engineer: Arne Akselberg
Recorded Lyndhurst Hall, Air Lyndhurst Studios, London, April 23-26, 2011
This is a phenomenal disc.
I have to admit that I was initially skeptical about purchasing this debut album from the 18 year old British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor. I mean, could his performances of all four of the Chopin Scherzos and the Ravel Gaspard de la Nuit compare to some of the most well known performances of these works? (He also performs three Chopin nocturnes, two Chopin pieces transcribed by Liszt, and Liszt's En reve.) I've got recordings of the Chopin performed by Rubinstein and Horowitz (both on vinyl and on CD) among others, and there are many enjoyable Gaspards on the market (I have Argerich live at the Concertgebouw, Steven Osborne's recent Ravel compilation, Thibaudet, Pascal Roge), but somehow, I've found myself coming back to this CD day after day after day. There's something just mesmerizing about Grosvenor's playing ... his touch, his use of dynamics, his virtuosity and clarity in fast passages, his lyricism and phrasing in slower passages ... I can't quite explain it. I love the way he attacks the opening measures of the Scherzo in B minor and find his placement of accents perfect. The Gaspard is superb. I never used to spend a great deal of time listening to the second movement (Le Gibet) but have been looping this track at least 3-4 times now as I write this! I have absolutely no regrets about purchasing this album and look forward to many more enjoyable hours listening to it. Furthermore, I'm eager anticipating this young and highly talented artist's future albums to come!