Ref: CHAN 10925
BEETHOVEN: Sonatas Vol.3 Op.54, 57 Appassionata, 78, 79, 81a Les Adieux, 90, 101, 106 Hammerklavier, 109, 111
GRAMOPHONE Recording of the Month Dec 2017 http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/beethoven-piano-sonatas-nos-22-32-bavouzet
Ref: Chandos 10929
MozartPiano Concerto KV 453
Piano Concerto KV 456
Divertimento KV 137
Gàbor Takàcs-Nagy conducting
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL, November 2016 by Marc Rochester http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2016/Nov/Mozart_PCs_CHAN10929.htm
FINANCIAL TIMES Oct 14 2016 by Richard FairmanMusic
Mozart: Piano Concertos K453 and K456
The solo playing sparkles in highquality performances with the
Manchester Camerata under Gábor Takács-Nagy
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (Chandos)
In a performer’s note Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
says he finds himself poised “on a razor’s edge”.
How much should the pianist do to recapture the sense of novelty that Mozart’s piano concertos would have had at their premieres?
On the face of it these performances with the Manchester Camerata under Gábor Takács- Nagy are plain high-quality.
The solo playing sparkles, the orchestra is alive with detail, everything a delight. But there is a twist: Bavouzet adds the option of
his own, anachronistic cadenzas. Listeners can choose between those or Mozart’s originals. It is a win-win situation.
Gabriel PIERNÉ Volume 2 BBC Philharmonic Orchestra Juanjo MENA conducting Paysages franciscains Op.43 Les cathédrales Scherzo caprice Op.25 Poème symphonique Op.37 Fantaisie ballet Op.6 Nocturne Op.40 No.2 Etude de concert Op.13
THE GUARDIAN by Andrew Clements
Ref: CHAN 10863
DEBUSSY Jeux - STRAVINSKY Le Sacre du Printemps - BARTOK Two Pictures , with François Frédéric Guy
THE SUNDAY TIMES June 7, 2015
Album of the Week
TELERAMA June 10, 2015 by G Macassar
"enregistrement d'une ferveur si communicative"
Ref: CHSA 5147
Stravinsky Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments Capriccio Movements Pétrouchka with São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, Yan Pascal TORTELIER conducting
THE GUARDIAN January 18, 2015 by Fiona Maddocks
"Energy and precision from Bavouzet ..It’s hard to imagine better."
JANACEK Orchestral Works Vol. 1. Sinfonietta, CAPRICCIO. Suite from The Cunning Little Vixen with Bergen Symphonic Orchestra Edward GARDNER conducting
CLASSICALSOURCE September 2014, by Colin Anderson
"Advanced and modern Capriccio certainly is but also with a story-telling side that is vividly played-up here, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and his busy left-hand, all that he requires, painting pictures while his Bergen colleagues become theatrical personages."
Ref: Chandos CHAN10808
HAYDN Piano Concertos F major * D major * G major with Manchester Camerata, Gàbor TAKÀCS NAGY conductingGramophone EDITOR'S CHOICE September 2014
Financial Times ***** September 5 2014
GRAMOPHONE September 2014, by David Threasher
"Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has proved himself one of today’s leading Haydn interpreters – amply so on five volumes of sonatas (and counting), each enthusiastically reviewed...The slow movement of the same work he transforms into a solfeggio that unfolds seemingly in a single breath, effortlessly matching the opening violin solo in its vocal expressivity and rising to an almost Argerich-like freedom"
FINANCIAL TIMES 5 September, by Richard Fairman
"Jean-Efflam Bavouzet adds witty ornamentation, throws in out-of-period cadenzas, and plays with irresistible exuberance.It is a disc that is hard to play without breaking into a smile."
CLASSICALSOURCE September 2014, by Colin Anderson Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has been working his way through Haydn Sonatas for Chandos and now joins an orchestra for these three Concertos. This may not be Haydn at his greatest (as is to be found in the numerous Symphonies, String Quartets, Piano Trios and those Sonatas), but each of the nine movements here is enjoyable and reflects Haydn’s remarkable ability to write music that is consistently fresh, inventive and thoroughly captivating.
Never more so than here, for the Manchester Camerata and Gábor Takács-Nagy (the founder of the Takács Quartet) offer stylish, detailed and dynamic support to Bavouzet, and he is the absolute master of the solo parts, playing with relish, imagination, a range of touch and volume, and with devotion and affection, pointing up with crispness and shapeliness Haydn’s urbanity and his delicious surprises; and it’s Bavouzet who contributes the cadenzas, each a winner.
The slow movements are full of beguiling expression, not least that in the F major Concerto, a song without words, opening with a beautiful violin solo from Giovanni Guzzo, and the finales fizz along with irrepressible brio, especially the familiar, joyfully scampering ‘Rondo all’Ungherese’ that closes the D major example with such memorable tunefulness and élan. The opening movements tend to be unhurried and welcoming and full of good things.
These are marvellous performances of very agreeable music and the sound quality is ideally balanced between soloist and ensemble and also between warmth and clarity.
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10802
Prokofiev Complete Piano Concertos with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Gianandrea NOSEDA conductingGRAMOPHONE Recording of the Month March 2014
GRAMOPHONE Concerto Award of the Year 2014
“Following Jean-Efflam Bavouzet and Gianandrea Noseda’s superlative Bartók Concerto cycle here are their attention-grabbing interpretations of
Prokofiev’s characterful five of that genre. With Bavouzet’s lively temperament allied with Noseda’s fierce attention to detail, no listener will come to these performances without hearing something new in these works…”
Daniel Jaffé – BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE – March 2014
"Superb Prokofiev piano concerto cycle... Bavouzet is on magnificent form"
Rob Cowan - GRAMOPHONE - March 2014
"Bavouzet pitches into Prokofiev’s truculent writing with all the vigorous conviction he can muster.. One senses that Bavouzet needs to get this score out of his system and he plays as if his life depends on it. Bavouzet’s particularly impressive and thrilling playing of the third movement Toccata meets a very satisfying rendition of the introspective and highly lyrical Larghetto..In short this is an indispensable set for Prokofiev admirers and all enthusiasts of 20th century music."
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL - Michael Cookson- - April 2014
Ref: CHAN 10798
Beethoven: Sonatas Vol.2 Op22, Op26, Op27, Op28, Op31, Op49, Op53 ¨Waldstein¨, Andante FavoriGramophone EDITOR'S CHOICE February 2014
FINANCIAL TIMES - January 10 2014 by Andrew Clark
The “Moonlight” radiates mystery and momentum, the “Tempest” has fabulous intensity (and a graceful touch), while the “Waldstein” is treated to a performance of unmitigated rapture. Roll on Volume Three."
Ref: CHAN 10763
Haydn: Piano Sonatas Vol.5
CHOC de Classica - June 2013
FINANCIAL TIMES April 5, 2013
"Bavouzet reveals expressive charm and craftsman-like ingenuity in his latest disc
Received opinion has it that, even for keyboard aficionados, Haydn’s piano sonatas are an acquired taste. You would never know it from Bavouzet’s survey, now at roughly halfway mark.
These are landmark recordings, thanks to the French pianist’s stylistic command and sheer delight in the music. The latest disc is dominated by the jolly Sonata No 15 in E, the tripping ornamental motifs of which tumble out with a mixture of nonchalance and elegance. The quietly consoling Andante of the Sonata No 37 in E is scarcely less impressive, and even if the three shortish sonatas in two movements Opus 37 offer scant opportunity for virtuoso display, Bavouzet reveals the music’s expressive charm and craftsman-like ingenuity."
By Andrew Clark
"Bavouzet ose ici un ton tendre et personnel... semble avpir découvert un Haydn rarement entendu: le commentateur immensément sensible des choses humaines qui s'exprime dans ces sonates pour piano"
Ref: CHAN 10743(5)
DEBUSSY Complete Piano Works
SINFINI November 2012 by Tim Parry
"His blend of cool emotional engagement and sensuality of touch is ideally suited to this music"
The fifth and concluding album brings together the ballets Khamma, Jeux and La Boîte à joujoux, all far better known in their orchestral guise, but here performed in Debussy’s initial versions for solo piano. This album was an Editor’s Choice in the magazines Gramophone and Classic FM and nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2010, in the instrumental category.
Ref: CHAN 10736
Haydn: Piano Sonatas Vol.4BBC Music Magazine - November 2012
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE - November 2012
GRAND AND DAZZLING HAYDN
"Bayan Nothcott enjoys Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's stunning sonata recital.
Was Haydn being gently ironic when he titled his Variation sin F Minor Un piccolo Divertimento? This is actually one of the moste serious and revealing works in his keyboard output - he even took the trouble to extend and intensify its dramatic coda before publication. In addition to the familiar final version, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet also offers us the opportunity to hear the work with Haydn's unpublished original coda. Either way, this is among the finest accounts on disc: searchingly nuanced from moment to moment yet never losing its grip on the work's tragic progress.
Bavouzet's reading of the three selected Sonatas in this latest instalment of his ongoing series are all equally illuminating in different ways. He's wonderfully dry and droll in the opening movement of the early Sonata No.30 (Hob.XVI: 19), and dazzling in the quick changes of its rondo-variaton finale. He brings an almost Chopinesque resonance to the lilting Siciliana-like Adagio of the Sonata No.38 (Hob.XVI: 23) and crisp grandeur to the discursive opening of the more popular-style Sonata No. 40 (Hob.XVI: 25) written for Count Nikolaus Esterhazy.
The decorations Bavouzet adds from time to time always sound spontaneous and are often varied in repeats. He inserts the cadenza by Zoltan Kocsis at the pause near the end of the Andante of the Sonata No.30, offering interesting comments on Haydn's themes."
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW - September 2012
"Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is nothing if not a versatile pianist. For Chandos, with which he has an exclusive contract, he has made many forays into the music of his native country; unsurprisingly, his recordings of Debussy in particular have been hailed as sympathetic and idiomatic, while losing nothing by being notably clear-sighted and well-focused. His 'turn' to Haydn - this is the fourth volume in a series that remains a work in progress, and a project for the long term: previous issues were reviewed in March 2010 and April and November 2011 - demonstrates identical virtues when applied to Haydn's vastly different idiom. Here, then, are three more Haydn sonatas along with a famous set of variations, done on modern piano with notable attention to clarity and texture: Bavouzet's articulation and scupulous pedalling feel always in style, never anachronistic.
Nor does he allow himself over-much freedom with the texts: he may just add an occasional mordent or turn in a repeated section (and he is generous with repeats, obediently playing second halves when prescribed), but resists any temptation to Robert Levin-like elaboration. A six-four chord near the end of the Andante of the D major Sonata prompts the inclusion of a cadenza by another pianist with a deep love of Haydn, Zoltan Kocsis, a moment that certainly hints at the existence of other pianistic idioms, but it is very brief: blink, and you might well miss it. There is one more textual curiosity. The last track of all is an alternative version of the end of the late great set of Variations in F minor: looking at the MS some years ago, Bavouzet found that Haydn had first thought to preface the conclusion with a very short cadenza, subsequently crossing it out. He wrote it out for himself, and includes it here.
However, it is certainly worth acquisition not only for Bavouzet's positive assets as outlined above, to which can be added a generous dose of wit and sparkle but also, of course, for the marvellous music it contains.The F minor Variations may well be familiar as one of Haydn's greatest keyboards works, with their huge and sombre coda finally dissolving pianissimo. The composer's designation of them as Un piccolo divertimento must have preceded the actual work of composition! What ingenuity and originality and teasing of player and listener alike there is in the sonatas that Bavouzet has carefully placed alongside each other. The D major - another Divertimento! - is the longest of them, conceivably intended to woo the public in concert rather than being the kind of connoisseurs' piece like the other two: so the opening movement with its repeated notes seems almost light-hearted: I'm tempted to call it gay. The finale is a kind of two-part invention, in perpetual motion."
By Piers Burton-Page
FINANCIAL TIMES - September 7, 2012
"More Bavouzet – and more delights, as the French pianist continues his admirable survey of the 50-plus Haydn piano sonatas. Quite apart from his stylistic command and sheer delight in the music, Bavouzet’s mixing and matching of different periods in the composer’s awe-inspiring pianistic development ensures there is never a dull moment. This disc features one of the few early sonatas to be authenticated, the substantial No 30 from the early 1770s, and a pair of much more directly appealing sonatas, roughly contemporaneous, from the first group Haydn wrote expressly for publication – Nos 38 and 40. Best of all is the celebrated Variations in F minor from 1793."
By Andrew Clark
THE GUARDIAN - September 16, 2012
"This continuing series is turning into a real classic: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has an infectious sense of the witty fun that underlies so many of Haydn's inventions, and the finale of the D major Sonata No 30 fairly fizzes with joy. But the real discovery here is a new version of the wonderful, touching Variations in F minor. Bavouzet has transcribed a version of the piece's great climax which Haydn deleted in his manuscript; but with cunning programming you can hear both this and the later, greater version. Like Bach's first, short cadenza to the fifth Brandenburg, Haydn's first thought is well worth hearing."
By Nicholas Kenyon
Ref: CHAN 10720(3)
Beethoven: Sonatas Vol.1 Op2, Op7, Op10, Op13 "Pathétique", Op14John's CD of the week Classic FM April, 11th 2012
FINANCIAL TIMES - May 25th 2012
"This is one of the biggest discoveries I have come across in years." Andrew Clark
The music is consistently engaging in its imaginative scope, stylistic freedom and technical fearlessness
This is one of the biggest discoveries I have come across in years. I say “discoveries” guardedly, because Beethoven’s 32 sonatas are as much a staple of the record catalogue as they are of the concert repertoire: there is huge competition. But as anyone who has heard Bavouzet’s previous Chandos CDs (Haydn and Ravel) will know, he makes you listen to music as if you are discovering it Eureka!-style: yes, that’s what the composer must have meant. Bavouzet’s Beethoven – here embracing the first 10 sonatas, including the “Grande Sonate” and “Pathétique”, all written before 1800 – is consistently engaging in its imaginative scope, stylistic freedom and technical fearlessness.
Rather than confining the three Op.2 sonatas to a classical straitjacket, he acknowledges the undercurrents of Beethovenian temperament, investing the Adagio of the A major sonata with defiant solemnity and the Scherzo with infectious wit – all the while achieving a quality of articulation that is exhilarating. Thereafter Bavouzet traces the music’s rising emotional temperature and exploding creative range with artless skill until, by the three Op.10 sonatas, we sense the composer’s psyche oscillating perilously between ecstasy and fragility, every extreme tempered by formal rigour: Bavouzet is at his very best where Beethoven asks most of his interpreter, notably in the titanic slow movement of the third sonata.
As for the “Pathétique”, the Frenchman is on fire from first note to last. The only question now is: after such an outstanding start to his complete cycle, how can Bavouzet maintain this sense of discovery – and how long must we wait for the next instalment?
By Andrew Clark
NZHERALD - July 7th 2012
"Verdict: memorable Beethoven with Gallic elegance, fire and fervour." William Dart
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet looks positively coy on the cover of his new Beethoven set and lightness and humour abound throughout the three discs. The French pianist made his name with Ravel and Haydn, and the older composer comes to mind when the opening theme of the first Sonata shoots elegantly upwards.
The following slow movement is Haydnesque, yet its lovingly tended phrases, swathed in rubato, suggest a Romantic Age beckoning.
Revelations are many. On the same disc, the witty Finale of a C major Sonata pits gleaming passagework against lean, almost sketch-like episodes. How beautifully Bavouzet gauges the massive chords that introduce the Pathetique Sonata and what a drama-filled narrative he makes of its first movement.
A slightly later C minor Sonata (Op 10 no 1) can seem prosaic in the wrong hands; here it has fire and fervour. A few tracks on, a playful F major Presto sounds as if the composer is trying to contain a cheeky fugue in a pressure-cooker. At the other end of the spectrum, a D minor Largo e mesto is imbued with a sense of deep tragedy, laid out note by anguished note.
As a bonus, Bavouzet offers two movements from Opus 10 no 1 that fell on the cutting-room floor, one a fascinating glimpse of some extra working-out that the composer intended for its Rondo. Bavouzet is in his prime and further Beethoven volumes are eagerly awaited.
By William Dart
INTERNATIONAL PIANO - September/October 2012
"Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is without doubt one of today's most intelligent and questing pianists". Colin Clarke
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is without doubt one of today's most intelligent and questing pianists. From Massenet to Ohana, from Stockhausen to Haydn, he seems to excel in all he touches. The freshness of his Haydn means that his affinity with early Beethoven should come as no surprise. Yet the mixing of Beethoven and French pianists has not always been a happy one; indeed, with the honourable exceptions of Walter Gieseking and Yves Nat, it is difficult to think of significant names (apologies to Pommier and Pludermacher), never mind trace a lineage.
Bavouzet's F minor (Op 2 No 1) is most decidedly post-Haydn. He includes both repeats in the first movement. Traits that can be traced throughout this set become evident: carefully delineated textures, an awareness of caprice (Beethoven's wit, not Haydn's), and a thread of unquenchable energy unfettered by any technical concerns. Like some other pianists (Pollini springs to mind), Bavouzet sees these Op 2 sonatas as major statements rather than early works, something made clear by the depth of the slow movements. There is fire in his belly, too - he clearly finds the velocity of the F minor's finale irresistible (again, he includes the second half repeat). Dynamism wins over playfulness in Op 2 No 2. Once more, it is the slow movement that impresses the most, with its superb evocation of a pizzicato bass and its deliberately harsh sonorities, superbly caught by the Chandos recording team.
The stunning articulation that characterised Bavouzet's Haydn recordings is carried over to his Beethoven, and Op 2 No 3 is the best showcase for this. He is keen to show the emotional scope of the piece, with the first movement containing musing mystery, and he is heard at his most sonically imposing in the slow movement (with its organ-like bass octaves).
Beethoven's trajectory towards the 'Pathétique' continues with Bavouzet's incendiary Op 7 and its rapt, prophetic Largo con gran espressione. It is a pity we don't hear that trajectory in a linear listening; instead, we go from Op 7 straight to an impetuous, ferocious 'Pathétique' (Bavouzet attempts to render the sforzandos of the Grave via the pedal - many don't). The Allegro fizzes, and the return to the Grave is a true dramatic coup. The second disc ends with the two Op 14 sonatas, presented with such care that there is little doubt they should be included in the canon (not all pianists choose to include them).
The three Op 10 sonatas provide a challenge, one Bavouzet rises to fearlessly. The first movement of the C minor is given surely the most jet-propelled reading in the catalogue, its first movement clipped and brusque to contrast with the exploratory Adagio molto. Bavouzet demonstrates the same superb control in the F major, enabling him to reveal the multifaceted Op 10 No 3 in all its variety. The two addenda add significant interest: a discarded Presto with Trio from Op 10 No 1, and the original finale with longer development (reconstructed by William Drabkin, who also provides fine booklet notes for this release). This is a significant, fascinating issue.
By Colin Clarke
"With good reason, Chandos is standing by its man Jean Efflam Bavouzet, the French pianist who has built up a wide-ranging discography, including Ravel, Debussy and Haydn. Despite the label’s existing Beethoven cycle with Louis Lortie, Chandos has produced its first Bavouzet volume of this music, which goes chronologically up to 1800.
I’d expected Bavouzet would reference to his ongoing hugely impressive Haydn series, but he plays up the differences of Beethoven’s style with exhilarating incisiveness. The Opus 2 set of three works may all be dedicated to Haydn (“Joseph Haydn gewidmet”), but, from the rocket-like opening of the First (in F minor), Bavouzet leaves you in no doubt that this is music with its sights firmly fixed on the nineteenth-century, reinforced by his use of a particularly vivid Steinway (he played a Yamaha for the Haydn).
Overall, Bavouzet’s phenomenally animated and articulated technique deals with all the details of Beethoven’s instructions with ease – phrasing, accents, dynamics and rhythm are impeccable, given further expression by Bavouzet’s intuitive feel for shades of colour, weight and rubato. Nothing is present for mannered effect, and his attention to the sonatas’ minutiae as well as their bigger picture gives these performances terrific immediacy.
The Opus 2 set makes its mark brilliantly – the Prestissimo finale of the First is driven by Bavouzet’s tirelessly rippling left-hand; the C major (No.3) is a particular delight with its elegantly crafted graceful rondo; and the slow movements define the performances’ scope and spirit.
If possible, Bavouzet is even better in the hugely demanding Opus 7, a grand sonata both in length and virtuosity, and he is completely up for the high-octane mood of the first movement and the otherworldly grace of the Largo. He finds a very different modus operandi in the ‘Pathétique’ – given with a fullness of tone and vision that honours Beethoven’s special relationship with the key of C minor.
The Opus 10 set is, by any standards, superb, edged-on by Bavouzet’s fierce musicianship and an ear constantly tuned into the surging momentum of their narrative. The music sounds newly minted – and Bavouzet’s interaction with the slow movement of No.3 (in D minor) is a masterpiece of refinement and fantasy.
The two smaller-scale Opus 14 sonatas are elegantly and affectionately played – you hardly ever hear them in a recital – and there are bonus tracks in the original third movement for Opus 10/1 (initially conceived in four) and the first version of the finale, as reconstructed by Beethoven scholar William Drabkin, who supplies an excellent, pithy booklet note. It’s right to break the strict sequence by placing the Opus 10 set together on one disc with the two grande sonates, Opuses 7 and 13, competing with each other in size and expression.
Bavouzet’s playing shines a light on the prodigious confidence and brilliance of these early (1793-98) works, all composed when Beethoven was in his early-twenties. It will be fascinating to hear what Bavouzet does with the middle-period ‘Waldstein’ and ‘Appassionata’ as well as the far-seeing late sonatas."
By Peter Reed
Ref: Chandos CHAN2010694
Falla: ¨Nights in the Garden of Spain¨ and other stage worksCD of the Month BBC Music Magazine March 2012
CD of the Week The TIMES February, 5th 2012
RESMUSICA - February 20th 2012
"L'essence de De Falla avec Jean-Efflam Bavouzet et Mena : une des plus belles lectures disponibles et surtout l’une des plus personnelles du catalogue" Pierre-Jean Tribot
Arrivé aux manettes du BBC Philharmonic, le chef d’orchestre espagnol Juanjo Mena reste fidèle à Chandos, le label historique de l’orchestre. À en juger par le titre donné à ce disque : «La Música de España », on peut supposer que ce premier volume sera la base d’une belle série consacrée aux compositeurs ibères. La finalisation d’un tel projet serait une merveilleuse idée tant les qualités du BBC Philharmonic de Manchester et le fini éditorial Chandos sont des atouts indéniables dans le marché actuel du disque.
En attendant, Juanjo Mena signe un disque épatant et très personnel dédié De Falla. Dans El Sombrero de tres picos, il fuit toute vision d’une Espagne de carte postale ou de virtuose gratuit de l‘orchestre pour imposer De Falla tel qu’il est. On pointe donc un magnifique travail sur les timbres et la lisibilité des pupitres, en ligne droite de l’amour du compositeur pour Debussy, Dukas et Ravel, mais avec ses particularités : brio de la science orchestrale et violence éruptive. Les contrastes sont ainsi très marqués dans une lecture plus symphonique que chorégraphique mais qui travaille, jusqu’aux moindres détails, le matériau orchestral. La césure des thèmes et des climats n’est pas sans dérouter dans cette lecture anti-démagogique mais soignée et réfléchie comme jamais. On tient ici la grande référence moderne de la partition après les lectures indémodables d’Ansermet (Decca), d’Ozawa (DGG) et Boulez (Sony).
Changement d’ambiance avec les teintes des Noches en los jardines de España où le chef est rejoint par Jean-Efflam Bavouzet. Ensemble, ils gravent une version presque définitive de ce chef d’œuvre. Juanjo Mena et son pianiste arrivent à cerner toutes les références stylistiques de De Falla tout en mettant en avant la modernité de l’écriture orchestrale. Debussy, Ravel mais aussi Liszt sont cités mais dans une optique un peu sèche, tel un impressionniste plus suggestif que sensoriel. Grand connaisseur et intégraliste de l’œuvre de Debussy (Chandos) et Ravel (MDG), Jean-Efflam Bavouzet sait replacer cette œuvre dans ses références historiques. Son toucher, un peu sec évoquant l’art de Jacques Février, Robert Casadesus ou Jean Doyen, très français, coloriste mais pas trop, évocateur mais pas narratif, soigne l’agogique et la philologie de cette partition. Les dosages, parfois infinitésimaux et le soin apporté aux dynamiques, complétés par une entente chef/orchestre exceptionnelle dans le partage d’une lecture aux ambitions communes, font de cette version une des plus belles lectures disponibles et surtout l’une des plus personnelles du catalogue avec celle du regretté Rafael Orozco et d’Edmon Colomer (Auvidis). Les classicistes ou les coloristes seront quant à eux fidèles aux disques d’Argerich/Baremboïm (Erato), Larrocha/De Burgos (Decca) ou des consensuels Colom/Pons (Harmonia/Mundi).
Ce disque se clôt par une lecture vitaminée des Homenajes à Debussy et Dukas qui montre, dans ces saynètes instrumentales, à quel point le chef Juanjo Mena est impactant à la tête d’un orchestre stylistiquement d’une flexibilité sans faille.
By Pierre-Jean Tribot
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10689
Haydn: Piano Sonatas Vol.3Best Instrumental of the Month - BBC Music Magazine
Editor's Choice - Classic FM Magazine
Critic's Choice - Gramophone
Artistic Quality 10 Sound Quality 10
“If you’ve been collecting this series you won’t need any recommendation from me, if you haven’t been, you ought to start. Once again Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s Haydn sweeps the field... Another great release in a standard-setting series.”
David Hurwitz – ClassicsToday.com – 24 October 2011
“...Without letting personality obtrude, his [Bavouzet] approach is nevertheless uniquely personal. The subtlety, humour and grace of his playing is undergirded by a keenly perceptive intellectual grasp and unfailing musicality. No doubt these performances will afford pleasure and insight for many years to come.”
Patrick Rucker – International Record Review – November 2011
“...This is sublime playing ... throughout, Bavouzet strikes an ideal balance between reticence and projection of personality. As he extends his project, sending irregular ‘postcards’ reflecting his passion for this ‘sublime music’, he pulls away from fin but selective interpreters ... staking a claim as Haydn’s greatest contemporary keyboard exponent.”
Andy Hamilton – International Piano – November/December 2011
“A recording worth rushing to the shops for. Bavouzet plays these inventive masterpieces with real love.” *****
Charlotte Gardner – Classic FM magazine – November 2011
Performance ***** Recording *****
“This third disc in Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s ongoing exploration of Haydn’s Keyboard Sonatas is the best yet...”
Bayan Northcott – BBC Music magazine – November 2011
"...Bavouzet shows exquisite taste, always making us aware that behind Haydn’s classical lines lies a hugely inventive personality."
Andrew Clark - The Financial Times - 3 September 2011
Play Audio Sample
Ref: Chandos CHAN668
Haydn: Piano Sonatas Vol.2Supersonic - Pizzicato
“…This was an hour of pleasure. It’s the second in a Haydn series. I am going to find the first one and keep an eye out for the others. So should you.”
Stephen D Chakwin Jr – American Record Guide – September/October 2011
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10633
Pierné: ConcertoEditor's Choice - Gramophone
“…Mena rounds things out with one piece you’ll surely know, the March of the Little Lead Soldiers from a suite of piano pieces. This is actually the first piece on the program – a delectable aperitif. The sumptuous sounds taken down in New Broadcasting HOUse, Manchester will fill your from from floor to rafters.”
Haller – American Record Guide – May/June 2011
Artistic Quality 10 Sound Quality 10
"These performances are stunning ... Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is an unbeatable soloist, and the orchestral playing under Mena is irreproachable ... plus terrific sonics and the result is simply irresistable. You’ll love this music."
John Hurwitz - ClassicsToday.com - May 2011
“…Although this music is all about ear-pleasing charm, it comes across as far from lightweight when played with such flair and character. Juanjo Mena’s handling of pace and mood, though never obtrusive, is beautifully skilled.” ****
Malcolm Hayes – Classic FM Magazine May 2011
“Very good recording, detailed and truthful sound.” ***
Michel Fleury - Classica (France) – March 2011
Guy Engels - Pizzicato - March 2011
“Orchestral charm and craftsmanship revealed in a fine Philharmonic recital” “…For all those who delight in a wholly French grace and magic, this disc is a winner, and it is superbly recorded.”
Gramophone - March 2011
"...Aiding the performers, the BBC Phil and Juanjo Mena a partnership to watch it seems, co-producers Brian Pidgeon and Mike George, together with Steven Rinker’s dynamic and gorgeous sound, have come up with a 2011 Winner long before such Awards have been nominated, let alone chosen. There’s enough Pierné, including some more piano-and-orchestra pieces, for a second volume. Hopefully."
theclassicalsource.com - 01 January 2011
Performance **** Recording ****
“This attractive disc would make an ideal introduction to the charms of Pierne’s music.”
BC Music Magazine - February 2011
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10610
Bartòk concertosOrchestral recording of the month and
Shortlist BBC Music Magazine Awards 2010
Editor's choice and
Shortlist Gramophone Awards 2010
Album of the week - The Independent
International Piano 'Choice'
Pianist's Choice - Pianist
Bartók: Piano Concertos – Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, BBC Philharmonic, Gianandrea NOSEDA
“...These performances seemed immediately communicative; immediately right. Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic admirably second the sensitivity and strength of the soloist...”
Ronald E Grames – Fanfare March/April 2011
‘Over the years, Bartók’s Piano Concertos have been exceptionally well served on disc… Jean-Efflam Bavouzet can be added to this august list of interpreters, for these exciting and dynamic performances certainly match such rivals in terms of their visceral impact and musical insight… As always, Chandos cushions these fine performances in opulent sound but the piano is placed within the orchestra, enabling us to hear Bartók’s intricate contrapuntal lines with the greatest clarity.’
Erik Levi, BBC Music, October 2010
‘If we are accustomed to hearing Jean-Efflam Bavouzet on discs of Debussy, Ravel, and Haydn, here he makes a radical move from those intimate, refined worlds to the raw dynamism of Bartók’s three piano concertos. In league with the finely honed BBC Philharmonic, these are performances vibrant in colour, vital in rhythm and detail and viscerally exciting in impact.’
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph, 28 August
“...the Chandos release keeps me riveted as I listen: the music unfolds gracefully and coherently, and the sparkling sonics allow me to savor Bartok’s orchestration in wonderful detail.”
Haskins – American Record Guide – July/August 2011
“The intimate, chamber music give-and-take makes Bavouzets disc such a clear winner!”
Marius Dawn The Pianist – April/May 2011
Interpretation ***** Sound ***** Repertoire ******
Carsten Dürer - Piano News (Germany ) – February 2011
**** - Excellent
Classica - November 2010
“International Piano Choice”
“…Right from the beginning of the First, the crystal clarity of Chandos’s recording is in evidence. The piano is placed with its percussion comrades, emphasising the vitality of the writing...”
"...Recent Proms performances have underlined what a superb ensemble the BBC Philharmonic is under Noseda. The polish of its execution is remarkable. Superb.”
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Ref: Chandos CHSA5084
Ravel; Debussy; MassenetGramophone Awards 2011 - Category Concerto
BBC Awards 2012 - Category Orchestral
Diapason d'Or - Diapason
HIFI Year book 2011
“…It’s exceptional to have a soloist and conductor so in tune with each other in both Ravel concertos. This is a great partnership, a stunning disc and an early contender for those end-of-year awards.” *****
Classic FM Magazine - Janurary 2011
"...Wonderful playing and excellent orchestral accompaniments."
theartsdesk.com - 20 November 2010
“…Bavouzet is at his eloquent best in the slower movements.” Bavouzet plays all the music exquisitely. Never lacking power , his pianism is also elegant and feather light. The orchestra handles the concerti superbly and Tortelier conducts with style and authority.”
JM Limelight - February 2011
“…Debussy’s little known Fantaisie for piano and orchestra is well worth hearing in Bavouzet’s thoughtful, idiomatic reading, and he uncovers a handful of piano solos by Massenet, the pick of which is an engaging Toccata. But the CD’s raison d’etre is the Ravel. Bavouzet’s G major concerto is the best since Michelangeli’s 50 years ago: it has style, verve, poetry and balance…” ****
The Financial Times - 15-16 January 2011
Performance ***** Recording ****
“…This is a disc of pure pleasure…”
BBC Music Magazine - January 2011
“An all-too rare outing for Debussy’s luxuriant Fantasie makes this a must.” “…The combination of all three works on a single CD creates a satisfying programme, especially when played with such finesse and limpid colouring as by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, with Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC SO matching hime in taste and eloquence.”
Gramophone - December 2010
“The ebullient French pianist Bavouzet scales the heights in this splendid and generous CD with the BBC Symphony Orchestra …” *****
The Times - 13 November 2010
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10586
Haydn: Piano Sonatas Vol.1CHOC de l'Année 2010 - CLASSICA
CD of the Week - Sunday Times
CD of the Week - The Independant
International Piano 'Choice'
“Unadulterated bliss.” SUNDAY TIMES
¨We badly need a great Haydn sonata cycle on a modern instrument, and on evidence here Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s promises to be just the ticket.¨
Interpretation ****** Sound ***** Repertoire *****
Piano News - Germany - July/August 2010
Musica - May 2010
International Piano Choice
“Every second of this CD is a delight, with Bavouzet’s artistry carrying anything that might sound routine.”
International Piano Magazine - May/June 2010
Artistic Quality – 10 Sound Quality – 10
“We badly need a great Haydn sonata cycle on a modern instrument, and on evidence here Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s promises to be just the ticket. It’s fabulous, as wonderful in its own way as was his Debussy cycle for this same label. His approach couldn’t be more intelligent …”
“Interpretively, this is as good as it gets.” “The sonics are totally at one with the performances: brilliantly vivid, but never hard. I can’t wait for Volume 2.”
David Huwitz ClassicToday.com
“Bavouzet turns from Debussy to Haydn with vivid results.” “Clarity and control from Bavouzet.”
“… the first disc in what I hope will be a long and comprehensive series.”
David Threasher Gramophone - May 2010
“The French pianist renowned for Debussy has now turned his attention to Haydn, and the results are effervescent and dazzling.”
Nicholas Kenyon The Observer - 4 April 2010
CD of the Week
“Unadulterated bliss.” *****
Hugh Canning The Sunday Times - 28 March 2010
“The first volume of a projected collection of the complete sonatas, this delightful disc contains four pieces across a 15-year period when the fortepiano was supplanting the harpsichord. Unlike Mozart’s sonatas, they still have a Baroque feel which Bavouzet doesn’t seek to play down, and he conveys Haydn’s impish spirit with the utmost clarity.” ****
Paul Gent The Telegraph - 26 March 2010
"...this first disc [Haydn series] suggests that however extensive his survey turns out to be, the results should be well worth hearing."
"...Though he exploits all the tonal possibilities of the modern concert grand, Bavouzet also makes full use of the latest ideas on performance practice...It’s the best kind of historically alert piano playing." ****
Andrew Clements The Guardian - 26 March 2010
“…This first release is a long-term series offers four sonatas, dispatched with scintillating brightness and many ornamental trills. Bavouzet’s fingers are so spiky and sprightly that you might yearn for some flowing legato. It’s impossible not too be impressed, though, by the grand carnival of the relatively lengthy No 31 in A flat.”
Geoff Brown The Times - 13 March 2010
Performance **** Recording ****
Bayan Northcott BBC Music Magazine - April 2010
“…Bavouzet seems completely in his element throughout this fine disc, the recorded sound is close but natural, and the booklet notes by Marc Vigal are as elegant and insightful as the playing. I look forward to the next volume in this series.”
Charles Timbrell International Record Review - March 2010
“…Altogether, this beautifully recorded disc promises well for another classic Bavouzet set to compliment his prize-winning Debussy recordings.” *****
Jeremy Nicholas Classic FM Magazine - April 2010
Album of the Week’
“…Bavouzet shines brilliantly in Haydn’s first ‘great concert sonata’, but he is just as good with the intimate moments: roll on the rest CD in this complete cycle.”
Michael Church The Independent - 27 February 2010
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10545
Debussy: Complete Piano Works Vol.5Best Instrumental Recording - ICMA Award 2010
Editor's Choice - Gramophone
Shortlist Awards 2010 - Gramophone
Editor.s Choice - Classic FM Magazine
Supersonic - Pizzicato
“…I am convinced by his [Bavouzet] performances that this is all legitimate piano music by one of the 20th Century’s great masters, heretofore almost unkown, and now presented with Chandos’s top production values and recording techniques. There is not another pianist more suitable or capable of bringing this music to light.”
American Record Guide - March/April 2010
de Classica - March 2010
“This splendid appendage to Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s much-praised Debussy series is in man ways the most revelatory of all. In bringing together these three contemporaneous ballets, in the detailed versions for solo piano that Debussy wrote as short scores before orchestration, Bavouzet casts fresh light on a little-known area of this composer’s output.” “…The recorded sound is excellent, as with all these volumes. Enthusiastically, if superfluously, recommended.”
International Piano Magazine - March/April 2010
“…this is a marvellous disc and the climax in so many ways of Bavouzet’s complete Debussy cycle. “
MusicWeb International - 10 February 2010
“The fifth volume of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s survey of the complete piano music of Claude Debussy is at least as fine as the previous four, and perhaps even more interesting. Throughout this series, Bavouzet has shown himself to be not only a stupendous virtuoso -- nothing in the Études or the Préludes is technically beyond him -- but also an exemplary Debussy pianist. He knows how to blend, balance, shade, and shadow so that the music always sounds like it is by Debussy and no other composer. In this volume, Bavouzet takes on three works rarely programmed or recorded in any form and plays them in their nearly unknown piano versions: the ballets Khamma, Jeux, and La boîte à joujoux. Though the piano versions were intended only as aids for dance rehearsal and not as a substitute for the full scores, they prove wholly persuasive in these performances. Bavouzet tosses off the most challenging passages as easily as if they were five-finger exercises, but more importantly, he makes compelling cases for these rare pieces, revealing each as a fully worthy work, something at which many conductors have failed. Though no fan of the composer should be without the orchestral versions of these scores, this disc should be of interest to anyone who loves Debussy. Chandos’ digital sound is warm, deep, detailed, and colorful.”
AllMusic.com - February 2010
“…This is an unusual and valuable capper to one of the two or three greatest Debussy piano cycles on disc – not to be missed.”
Artistic Quality - 10 Sound Quality 10
ClassicsToday.com - 27 November 2009
“These three works are piano versions of ballet music intended for full orchestra; Debussy never finished orchestrating Khamma and its completion was left to Charles Koechlin. But with performances on solo piano of such vivid colours, such superbly voiced textures and such flair nuance and richness of atmosphere, who needs orchestras anyway? It’s magnificent playing.”
*** Editor’s Choice ***
Classic FM MAgazine - December 09
“A marvellous conclusion to Bavouzet’s absolutely essential Debussy series” “Altogether, a remarkable achievement, and the disc is every bit as essential – perhaps more so for the rarity of the repertoire – as previous instalments”
**** Editor’s Choice ****
Gramophone - November 2009
Performance **** Recording ****
BBC Music Magazine - December 2009
“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet concludes his stellar traversal of Debussy’s complete piano works with the composer’s rarely heard ‘short scores’ of his three late ballets.
Debussy devotees will already own the orchestral versions of these works, but I highly recommend Bavouzet’s accounts. He approaches the pieces on their own terms, seems to know the orchestral versions intimately and realizes every bar of the music imaginatively and effortlessly. Other versions might be competitive, but they are few and far between. What Bavouzet provides is a perfect conclusion to his complete five-disc Debussy, a remarkable achievement that I have followed from the beginning and now consider the best of all presently available. The recorded sound is exceptional and the booklet notes by Roger Nichols are, as always, concise and informed."
International Record Review - December 2009
“His [Bavouzet]accounts of all three pieces are graphic and meticulous.”
Sunday Times - 22 November 2009
“Bavouzet’s survey of Debussy’s piano music seemed to have come to a natural end with his outstanding disc of the two books of Images and the complete Studies, released by Chandos a year ago. But this collection of three scores that are far better known in their orchestral versions … is an unexpected bonus. In all three works, Bavouzet’s exceptional control, variation of touch and keyboard colour regularly provide new insights.”
The Guardian - 20 November 2009
Ref: Chandos CHAN 10497
Debussy: Complete Piano Works Vol.4Best Instrumental Recording - Gramophone Award 2009
Editor's Choice - Gramophone
Best Instrumental Recording of Standart Repertoire - Internatioal Piano Magazine
Bavouzet is a fascinating Debussy player, not only because of his immensely refined ear for sonority but also his rhythmic flexibility allied to a strong sense of musical architecture… The piano sound is clear and warm and this is an ideal match for Bavouzet’s lucid approach to the music. The transparency of textures is one reason his performance of the Images is so effective, revealing much of the inner life of this music, but there is never any sense of dryness. Not only is there an impressive range of colour but the pianist also shows a willingness to use the dynamic range of the piano to the full and there is quite a bit of rubato too. However, this never feels like someone pulling the music around for the sake of it. Quite the reverse – Bavouzet’s rhythmic give and take enhances the expressiveness of the music.
International Record Review
This is meaty and powerful Debussy without the cheap perfume or the soggy handshake. The Etudes are especially convincing...Trust me, both the Images and Etudes easily conquer any other modern recording.
I can guarantee readers that this attractively engineered release will reveal more and more details to savour with each rehearing. If you haven’t ordered it yet, what are you waiting for?
Gramophone CD of the Month
Bavouzet’s recording contains many beauties: a clear and shining tone, elegantly limpid turns of phrases and all the virtuoso glitter you could wish for.
Classic FM Magazine
Anyone who doubts Bavouzet’s abilities should sample the playful romp though the third of the Images, the quasi-Etude ‘Mouvement’, or his beautifully atmospheric ‘et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut’
BBC Music Magazine
This is the fourth and final disc in Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s Debussy series for Chandos, and perhaps the most impressive… Bavouzet’s performances manage to reconcile perfectly those echoes of the earlier sensuous writing with the newly invented, harder-edged sonorities. He is just as convincing in the two sets on Images as well, whether perfectly gilding the swoops and swirls of Poissons d’Or, or evoking the stately monumentality of Hommage à Rameau.
Ref: Chandos CHAN10467
Debussy: Complete Piano Works Vol.3Best Instrumental Recording - BBC Music Magazine Award 2009
CHOC de l'Année 2008 - Le Monde de la Musique
10 BEST CD of 2008 - ClassicsToday.com
...rarely in my experience has a pianist so faultlessly or precisely achieved his aims...Gramophone
… this penultimate volume featuring a masterly account of Suite Bergamasque and one of the finest Children’s Corners ever recorded
He has also reached his third offering and this delightful disc places Debussy’s two most modest cycles within a broadly chronological sequence of pieces spanning the composer’s career. As such it would make an excellent introduction both to the essentials of Debussy’s piano writing and the extraordinary evolution in style. Bavouzet is an engaging guide on this journey.
BBC Music Magazine
Regardless of style or pianistic requirements, Bavouzet is equally in charge of all dimensions of Debussy’s music. His acute sense of proportion covers both the rhythmic and dynamic spheres; in the Arabesque No. 1, for example, his subtle rubato shapes the flow of the piece most affectionately without ever becoming mannered. He adopts a different approach for the early danse bohémienne and Mazurka, delivering both with crisp vitality and winsome charm.
International Record Review
Popular Debussy rubs shoulders with the unfamiliar in refined, intimate and richly rewarding readings.
Classic FM Magazine
This third volume confirms Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s winning affinity for Debussy’s music.
Once more he turns the conventional notions of ‘impressionism’ topsy-turvy, cleansing Debussy of years of dust and accretion and recreating him in every bar in a sparkling and pristine light. Fiercely energised yet superfine, his performances are not for those woth comfortable drawing-room notions of Debussy, and rarely in my experience has a pianist so faultlessly or precisely achieved his aims.
One would expect a work like Clair de Lune to be just about perfect in the hands of such a skilled and sensitive pianist, but for him to give the same attention to the other three less familiar movements of the Suite Bergamasque places this performance among the best one could ever hope for. The same holds true for Children’s Corner, most definitely on a par with my favourite old Michelangeli recording
American Record Guide
Ref: Chandos CHAN10443
Debussy: Complete Piano Works Vol.2Diapason d'Or 2008 - Diapason
Editor's choice and Awards 2009 shortlisted - Gramophone
Instrumental CD of the Month - Classic FM Magazine
Awards shortlisted MIDEM 2009
...a dream-world, revelling in the music’s multi-layered sonic terracing with a captivating range of keyboard touch and micro-pedalling…. Playing that takes us through new realms of experience....
Bavouzet plays even such neglected gems as the Ballad and Valse romantique as though he were suspended in a dream-world, revelling in the music’s multi-layered sonic terracing with a captivating range of keyboard touch and micro-pedalling…. Playing that takes us through new realms of experience.
I had the highest praise for Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s first volume of Debussy, and the present disc is fully the equal of that one in terms of colour, refinement of touch, spontaneity and technical finish… Bavouzet has written that his Debussy playing has been influenced by that of Gieseking, Michelangeli and Richter. You may hear something of each of these pianists in his playing but more then that you will hear his own distinctive and special voice.
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
This second volume of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s Debussy cycle reveals the intelligence of his programming. A trio of three-movement works is at its heart, but the disc opens and closes with two further triptychs, pseudo-cycles of contemporaneous pieces usually heard in isolation. Bavouzet’s strengths are also to the fore, with glowing colours in the opening Ballade and Valse romantique followed by sparkling elegance in the Danse.
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
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Ref: Chandos CHAN 10421
Debussy: Complete Piano Works Vol.1CHOC de l'Année 2007 - Monde de la Musique
Pianist's Choice - Piano Magazine
Sunday Times CD of the week 29/7/07
"... If asked to encapsulate Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s highly anticipated Debussy Préludes in two words or less, I’d say ‘con amore’" GRAMOPHONE
"There is an emotional directness about Bavouzet’s Debussy that is reminiscent of the great Samson Francois, tempered by a palette of glowing autumnal colours more in line with Gordon Fergus-Thompson’s outstanding series for ASV. Blessed with outstanding Ralph Couzens sound, this bodes well for future releases." CLASSIC FM MAGAZINE
"The French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has already won plaudits for his Ravel on disc [not on Chandos] and here he launches a new complete cycle of Debussy’s piano works with an exceptionally fine recording of the two books of Préludes (plus a recently discovered Baudelaire-inspired envoi written for his coalman).There is a clarity about much of Bavouzet’s playing that both illuminates Debussy’s often complex textures and delineates the composer’s typical splashes of melody. But there is no shortage of hazy atmosphere when required and his Des par sur la niege is shot through with aching melancholy. At the same time his rhythmic acuteness gives pieces like La Sérénade interompue and La Puerto del vino a crisp momentum of their own, while the more Lisztian pieces – Ce qu’a vu vent d’ouest and Feux d’artifice, for example – are played with panache. With such absorbing playing and excellent sound, this disc augurs well for the rest of the cycle."
"This generous first instalment of a projected complete cycle not only squeezes both books of Preludes onto a single disc, but also includes the recently discovered ‘Les soire illumines par l’ardeur du charbon’ as a welcome pendant. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has a wonderfully light touch, imbuing ‘Les collines d’Ancapri’ with a skittish exuberance, or creating delicate wisps of mist in ‘Brouillards’ evoking Debussy’s advice to forget that the piano has hammers."
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"If asked to encapsulate Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s highly anticipated Debussy Préludes in two words or less, I’d say ‘con amore’. Given the stunning excellence of his Ravel and Liszt releases [not on Chandos], it’s no surprise that Bavouzet commands all the shading, nuance and timbral sensitivity one expects in Debussy, together with virtuoso flair and characterful spontaneity that adds welcome backbone to the composer’s ‘hammerless’ aesthetic… Chandos provides excellent sound and scholarly, informative notes by Roger Nichols."
"He must be one of the least-known contemporary French pianists in this country, but here he announces himself as a peerless Debussyite in the oft-recorded Préludes (Books 1 and 2) and, as an encore a piece discovered as recently as 2001… Bavouzet’s commend of touch, colour and rhythmic vitality are all that one could ask for in the Préludes, and he has a native feeling for the evocative atmosphere of these widely contrasting yet strangely unified pieces… This is essential Debussy, immaculately realised."
"Absorbing playing from a French pianist with something new to say about these much-recorded piano masterpieces, and an interpretative range that calls upon clarity, haziness and Lisztian panache as appropiate."
TELEGRAPH 'CDS OF THE YEAR'
"He brings a rare combination of colourism, textural definition and rhythmic alacrity to Debussy’s 24 Préludes, conveying the character of each of them with a disarming ease that serves the music in an ideal way. He finds a perfect balance between thoughtfulness and spontaneity, is in command of a wide variety of touches and dynamics and is faithful both to the letter and intent of the musical text. Unlike some pianists he can make the difference between tenuto and portato audible without exaggeration and he seems mercifully uninterested in self-concious trickery with the middle pedal… In short, this is one of the finest accounts of the 24 Préludes that I know, surpassing in many ways the classic accounts by Gieseking, Paul Jacobs and more recently Jean-Yves Thibaudet."
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
"What makes Bavouzet stand out is not only his fresh approach to tempo, but also his Classical way of drawing attention to the structural form of each prelude. His ‘Minstrels’ are humorous and light-footed, his blowing wind from the west tumultuous and the final firework catapults him to the stars."
"Bavouzet is not yet as widely known as some, yet the quality of this disc suggests the discovery of a major talent in the Impressionist repertoire. Indeed, there is a conviction and authority to his playing that genuinely merits comparison with Gieseking and Michelangeli and that impresses with its natural ‘rightness’ – a quality of integrity and humanity and the strong feeling that the music is the outcome of spontaneous improvisation."
Ref: MDG 604 1350-2
"Hats off! A genius Liszt player!...A very special disc, not to be missed" Jed Distler
"A superb recital, excellently recorded and delivered by a pianist of real stature" Colin Clark
Bavouzet plays these interpretatively difficult works with a huge amount of assurance. Late Liszt is notoriously tricky – not for the notes themselves, but for what lies beneath them. Bavouzet takes a selection of works from the late period, mixing in some of the more nocturnal earlier ones as well as weaving in some Tristan, a stroke that makes the Wagner-Liszt connection explicit. Night, death and love-in-death interact to make for a memorable listening experience. How refreshing it is to have a disc that forces one to think, to reflect and, above all, to make an effort in the listening process. For all of this, Bavouzt is to be congratulated.
His pianism is fine, too. His Harmonic Classic disc of solo works by Schumann is a fine one (Opp. 14-16). Now here on Dabringhaus he brings his fine technique and intellect to Liszt. The title, 'Hymn to the night', is taken from the second work in the programme. Bavouzet explores Liszt's various reactions to the concept of night, from Cradle Song to insomnia (Schlaflos), from Funeral March to the nocturne, En rêve.
The recital begins with the short Invocation. Yet within its three minutes it contains a huge amount of power, and Bavouzet is Bolet-like in his depth of tone. Based on the eternal voice of the soul, Bavouzet's depth of interpretative response sets the tone for the rest of the disc. We hear both of the S173a Hymns, but separated by six other works. The Hymne à la nuit depicts the close of day shorouded in the Divine. Bavouzet exhibits a wonderful pianissimo and great delicacy (a joy to hear chordal work so together). The Wiegenlied's hyper-delicacy represents one aspect of sleep – Schlaflos, of course, another, with its characteristic late-Lisztian single lines so full of meaing and its disturbing, restless harmonies.
In complete contrast comes the extended Grosses Konzertsolo. This work also exists in a two piano version as Concerto pathéique (interestingly, Mark and Michal Hambourg's 1934 version of this has recently become available on CD on APR7040, an intensely involving experience). Bavouzet creates an exciting experience, enjoying the double-octaves and later suggesting recitative with his left hand lines. Most impressive though are the fantasy he displays in the slower section and the way he refuses to break his tone even in the most vehement fortissimo.
The brief but sugnificant Bagatelle without tonality separates this from another extended item, La notte.
In the Bagatelle, Bavouzet somehow projects the waltz element, the diabolical element and the essence of late Liszt in less than three minutes. La notte, a work that derives from Il penseroso (inspired by Michelangelo's sculpture) is Lisztian darkness exemplified. Bavouzet paces the slower sections perfectly, bringing an impressive tread to the bass ostinato soon before the work's conclusion. The Trauervorspiel und Trauermarsch represents a deconstructed march (and includes some very telling single lines around five minutes in); the rustlings (almost watery!) of the Hymne du matin provide telling contrast.
The Tristan Prelude and Transfiguration is interesting in juxtaposing Kocsis and Liszt's responses to Wagner's orchestral score. Kocsis had a hard job – the long lines are going to be difficult to sustain on a piano, yet Bavouzet's carefully-chosen tempo and his full-on concentration enable the spirit of the original to shine through. It is true that Kocsis' transcription does not rise to Liszt's heights in the Transfiguration and it is here that Bavouzet is at his best, rising naturally to a full-blown (but not over-blown) climax.
Finalle, En rêve, an exercise in pianistic stasis. This is a real jewel of a piece, and suffice it to say that Bavouzet treats it with the reverence it deserves.
A superb recital, excellently recorded and delivered by a pianist of real stature.
Colin Clarke MUSICWEB
Hats off! A genius Liszt player! Not only does Jean-Efflam Bavouzet possess a perfect technique, but he also commands the huge, varied sonority and narrative power needed to make Liszt'sP complex idiom come brilliantly alive. All the great dead Liszt players knew how to balance tremolos, arpeggios, and similar background devices against melodic components so that the textures would sing out with variety and color, emerge in proper perspective, and never, ever bog down. They also knew to serve Liszt's "stagy" lyrical inspirations wholeheartedly and generously. Bavouzet knows these secrets, and has totally internalized them. That's why the Invocation's bass rumbles and rattling tremolos sound uplifting rather than bombastic (the same goes for the ending of the gorgeously paced Wagner/Liszt Liebestod), or why En réve's lyric simplicity sounds contained and dignified rather than mawkish.
The Grosses Konzertsolo, a prototype for Liszt's two-piano Concerto Pathétique, receives a blazing, utterly inspired reading where fire and poetry lock horns and never let up. It puts all other recorded performances of this piece in the shade (not that there've been that many, I admit). Similarly, the rarely heard La Notte boasts such high levels of pianistic finish and stylish elegance that you'll never need to hear the piece in its orchestral version again--that is, if you've heard it, ever! As for being an orchestra, and a sexy one at that, look no further than Bavouzet's remarkable playing of Wagner's Prelude to Tristan und Isolde in Zoltan Kocsis' transcription.
Conversely, the bleak, anti-virtuosic sound world of late Liszt also sparks Bavouzet's imagination. For example, he judges the odd chromatic twists and turns of Schlaflos in a more fluid fashion than Paul Lewis' fine recording on Harmonia Mundi. Although the excellent annotations do not mention the instrument, the sound of the piano itself leads me to suspect that Bavouzet employs the same vintage 1901 Steinway he used in his MDG Ravel cycle. It relates to a modern American Steinway much as a hand-carved oakwood table does to a factory-made Formica copy. The harp-like, disembodied quality of soft, rippling passages suggests the "piano without hammers" of Debussy's ideal. No doubt Liszt would have liked it too, and possibly would have enjoyed Bavouzet's meaningful, committed and loving interpretations even more. A very special disc, not to be missed. [2/3/2006]
--Jed Distler CLASSICTODAY
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Ref: MDG 604 1190-2
Ravel: Complete Solo WorksDiapason d'Or - Diapason
CHOC - Le Monde de la Musique
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Debussy: Etudes Pony Canyon
Ohana: 12 Etudes d' Interprétation Harmonic Records
Maurice Ohana is a fascinating figure in 20th century French music. I first came across his work about 12 years ago. I was gripped by the orchestral work ‘Le livre de Prodiges’ of 1979 (Erato 2292-45503-2). The angel of inspiration that touched Olivier Messiaen also touched Ohana. However there is another aspect to his work not often present in that orchestral work but which is certainly found in others. This is his love of and fascination for African music. This led to his use of quarter-tones and of percussion instruments..
These interests are found also in the next work I investigated ‘Avoaha’ (1991) for vocal ensemble and percussion (Opus 111 Ops 30-109) with its texts in African and, just recently, ‘Office des Oracles’ of 1974 (Opus 111 Ops 30-246). This partially takes its inspiration from Afro-Cuban ceremonial; again scored for voices and percussion.
With his emphasis on percussion it should seem to be no big surprise that the last two of these piano studies has an equal role for a percussionist who plays a variety of instruments, including tam-tams, Chinese cymbals, bongos and a bell-tree!
It’s interesting, briefly, to consider two other recent sets of piano studies. Those of Ligeti are, I believe, still work in progress. The recording by Pierre-Laurent Aimard on Sony (SK 62308) is very fine indeed. Ligeti puts the studies into two groups: the first is a group of six (1985) the second, a group of eight (1988-93), are still developing. Ligeti draws on a wide variety of techniques and styles. He also is interested in African rhythms as in ‘Automne a Varsovie’ (set 1 no 6). Ligeti is also drawn to Conlon Nancarrow’s Studies for player piano (1960s), which are fiercely difficult with their use of polyrhythms (RCA 09026 61180-2).
Maurice Ohana is not interested in compositional techniques for their own sake. His fascination, like that of many French composers of the last century, is with sonority. So these are studies almost entirely in sonority. Sometimes these are engendered by rhythmic displays but more often by a sheer joy of sound for its own sake, just like Debussy, even Boulez, and certainly Messiaen before him. Perhaps the Messiaen of the Preludes (1929) comes to mind and the Debussy of his remarkable Studies (1915). Although influences are easy to spot at the end of it lies a very individual voice, which surfaces regularly and yet quietly and modestly, through a haze of colour.
So to give you three brief examples; No 2 ‘Mouvements paralleles’ begins with the hands playing a melody in minor 9ths five octaves apart, before changing into a brief, fast Toccata. Book 2 no. 1 in memory of Bartók has a pure "diatonic opening melody which eventually" becomes "stuffed with dense chords". The performer is asked "to ‘colour’ the sound so that a marimba is conjured up".
Book 2 no 3 ‘Contrepoints libres’ is notated on superimposed staves and is barless. It develops with trills, superimposed clusters and fast runs but began with delicate coruscating lines in counterpoint with a static bass. So many nuances, so many new piano sounds - it’s difficult not to go on.
It seems to me that Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is an ideal interpreter of this music. His biography is given in the booklet but significantly he was friend of the composer’s and has played Stockhausen. He knows the music intimately, which is vital.
Speaking of the booklet notes by Harry Halbreich, I found them extensive and useful but my wife, a non-musician found them too technical. Each study is discussed in some detail and a careful reading proves that each piece has its own sound-world and character. The recording made at this favourite venue of various French labels, is in every way quite excellent.
Schumann: Op14, Op15, Op16
Ref: Accord – 202742
Stockhausen: Refrain - Zyklus - KontakteRefrain - Zyklus - Kontakte
with Florent JODELET (percussion)
and Gérard FRÉMY (piano)
Haydn: Sonatas and FantaisieChoc Monde de la Musique
Selected among the 150 best recordings by Le Monde
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