Ravel: Complete works for solo piano

Reviewed on Mon 02 May, 2016

To this bewitching repertoire Bertrand Chamayou brings a keen poetic instinct, unruffled finesse, pleasing strength of character and a subtly variegated colour palette.

Bertrand Chamayou has been earning golden plaudits over the last few years, and this handsome Ravel set can only enhance his standing as one of the brightest pianistic talents around. To this bewitching repertoire the Frenchman brings a keen poetic instinct, unruffled finesse, pleasing strength of character and a subtly variegated colour palette. Stand-out items include Miroirs (where you can almost feel the spray in 'Une barque sur l'océan'), Valses nobles et sentimentales (the 'haunted ballroom' atmosphere in its closing piece nothing short of spellbinding here), Jeux d'eau (which launches proceedings in magically translucent fashion), Le tombeau de Couperin (an especially perceptive rendering ,this, both commanding and serene) and, last but not least, one of the most compelling versions in recent years of the towering Gaspard de la nuit ('Scarbo' ideally combines controlled keyboard virtuosity and smouldering menace). We also get two rarities: Casella's arresting A la maniere de... Ravel (1914) and Alexander Siloti's exquisite transcription of 'Kaddisch' (the first of the Deux mélodies hebraïques from 1914). A very considerable achievement, in sum, boasting admirably realistic sonics and worthy to stand alongside those sets from such luminaries as Casadesus, Collard, Lortie, Thibaudet, Bavouzet and Alice Ader.
–Andrew Achenbach