Aureole etc.




Nimbus on-line




If it’s the Czech works you’re after, do not hesitate

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Mahler symphony 6 Nott


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 


REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

 


French Music for Two Pianos:
Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
En blanc et noir (1915) [14:55]
Jeux: poème dansé (1913) (transcribed for two pianos by Jean–Efflam Bavouzet) [16:33]
Lindaraja (1901) [5:53]
Maurice RAVEL (1875–1937)
Entre cloches (from Les sites auriculaires) (1895/1897) [2:44]
Rapsodie espagnole (original version for two pianos) (1895/1908) [14:50]
La Valse (1920) (transcribed for two pianos by the composer) [11:08]
Vladimir and Vovka Ashkenazy (two pianos)
rec. 1–4 May 2008, Potton Hall, Suffolk. DDD
DECCA 478 1090 [66:04]
Experience Classicsonline


 

 
I cannot recall Vladimir Ashkenazy being associated with the music of the French Impressionists until now. This teaming with his son Vovka provides an illuminating and exciting vision of these works.
 
The programme kicks off with Debussy and his three pieces under the collective heading of En blanc et noir. The first, ‘Avec emportement’ has the pianists vigorously dancing around each other in startling staccatos and lethargic legatos. The second, ‘Lent-sombre’ is just that - melancholic patterns turning macabre as the Ashkenazys explore their pianos’ bass sonorities. A dogged march marks the quicker middle section. It is easy to imagine, as Debussy intended, this central piece as a protest against the savageries of the Great War. In the concluding sardonic ‘Scherzando’, the two pianos counterpoint grotesque protests verging on the hysterical. The album’s note-writer, Roger Nichols, suggests, ‘Debussy’s awareness of his own declining health’ might have influenced this music.
 
Diaghilev’s ballet, Jeux was produced in 1913. Debussy provided a solo piano score for the dancers to learn from. He promised his publishers a two-piano version but never got round to complying. On this disc we hear the arrangement by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Tellingly it follows the substance and delicacy of Debussy’s orchestral version. The Ashkenazys, aided by occasional eerie cymbal brush-strokes, admirably convey the elusive, sensual, playful - almost cruelly playful at times - nature of the work.
 
Lindaraja was a response to Ravel’s ‘Habanera’, one of two of that composer’s Sites auriculaires. It is played as the third movement of Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole on this CD (see below). Debussy, like Ravel, challenges the basic monotony of the Habanera form and creates imaginative diversity with subtle shifts of dynamic, tempi and inflection.
 
The Ashkenazys capture of Ravel’s individual and intricately-coalescing bell sonorities and rhythms in ‘Entre cloches’ is well-defined, softly enchanting and tantalizingly exciting. That said, in their climax, one wonders if their reading might not have been a little too loud and overwhelming.
 
It might come as a surprise to learn that Ravel’s Rhapsodie espagnole was originally written for two pianos and orchestrated by Ravel when he received complaints about the difficulty of his keyboard writing. As the Ashkenazys prove this version has colour and atmosphere enough. There are silvery, pellucid, sensual tones for the nocturne (‘Prélude à la nuit’). There’s also voluptuousness implicit in both the ‘Malaguena’ and the ‘Habanera’; how resourcefully the monotony of the circling ostinatos in these pieces are circumnavigated. Wildness, with a central wistful melancholy, informs the concluding ‘Feria’.
 
Ravel conversely arranged his orchestral ‘Poème choréographique’ - La Valse, for two pianos. It works very well in that form. The pianists nicely evoke the work’s spectral opening. They then sharply contrast the old-world Viennese glamour and sophistication - all chandelier-lit ballrooms, swirling ball gowns and dashing uniforms - with the contrasting sardonic bitterness and brutality Ravel later imposes on this waltz. As Roger Nichols suggests, it is “… a terrifying, Expressionist howl of anguish. Ravel forcibly denied it was inspired by the state of Vienna after the (Great) War; he did not deny (probably because no one had the temerity to suggest it to him) that it grew out of his experiences as a lorry driver during the war …’
 
Dazzling.
 

Ian Lace

see also review by Bob Briggs (Nov RECORDING OF THE MONTH)
 

 
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.