Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit; Jeux d'eau; Miroirs; Pavane pur une infante défunte; Sonatine

Reviewed on Thu 28 Sep, 2017

Stewart Goodyear's primary virtues are accuracy and clarity, revealing all the inner mechanics of Ravel’s unique textures. Though often generous with the pedal, he maintains that clarity throughout this generously filled programme.

Stewart Goodyear offers an attractive selection of Ravel’s most popular piano works, from the delicate Neoclassicism of the Sonatine to the more involved and turbulent Miroirs and Gaspard de la Nuit. His primary virtues are accuracy and clarity, revealing all the inner mechanics of Ravel’s unique textures. Though often generous with the pedal, Goodyear maintains that clarity throughout this generously filled programme. That precision sometimes tends towards the clinical, although Goodyear also occasionally frees up the rhythms – the repeated notes of ‘Alborada del gracioso’, for example, have a satisfyingly lumpy texture. But, in general, the more reserved expression of the Sonatine better suits Goodyear’s approach. A few slips in ‘Scarbo’ hint at a struggle with the immense technical difficulties of Gaspard, and the work really needs more bravado. Still, competent and engaging accounts throughout, and the programme is rounded off with a beautifully regal Pavane pour une infante défunte.
–Gavin Dixon