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Ravel Piano Concerti Sermet/Krivine C


Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

Considered by Pierre Boulez “France’s best symphonic ensemble”, the Orchestre National de Lyon unfortunately has also the worst concert venue, the over-resonant Maurice Ravel Auditorium. Excellent as it is, the present recording can’t completely prevent these lively performances from suffering from the grayish, cavernous echo of the hall. This is about the only reservation concerning this otherwise very fine CD. In the G major concerto, Krivine conducts with a mix of refinement and energy, while giving his musicians, notably the winds, enough freedom to come out with some really hot solos. The Turkish pianist Huseyin Sermet plays with sparkling authority and lots of temperament. Technically stunning, he’s also an extremely poetic musician, and knows how to make a phrase bounce, as in the jazzy extravaganza of the finale. Sermet and Krivine may not be as clinically precise as Zimerman and Boulez, as explosive and smoky as Argerich and Abbado (1st version), or as patrician as Michelangeli and Gracis, but they manage to create a convincing balance between these different options, their sheer physical impact being perhaps closer to Argerich and Abbado’s famous collaboration. The competition is just as strenuous in the Left Hand Concerto. Here Sermet’s powerful presence compensates for Krivine’s slightly mechanical conducting. In the cadenzas, the pianist recreates Ravel’s illusionist writing with absolute command and effortless technique. The Kawai Concert Grand which he uses sounds surprisingly good, if a bit light-weight. A performance at the top, then, that matches Fleisher’s powerful account, and François’ digitally less striking but darker interpretation. Under Krivine’s baton, Le Tombeau de Couperin makes a perfect complement, displaying all its grace, delicacy, and verve.

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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: G major: Argerich (DG), Michelangeli (EMI), Left Hand: François (EMI), Fleisher (Sony)

MAURICE RAVEL - Concerto in G major; Concerto for the Left Hand; Le Tombeau de Couperin

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