Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet Plays Ravel, Debussy & Massenet

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Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is one of a number of younger artists who has shown that there's perhaps unexpected life yet in the French recital and concerto traditions of the 19th century. Here he surrounds a pair of familiar Ravel standards for piano and orchestra with works that qualify as rarities by major composers. Bavouzet makes these into considerable revelations. The neglect of the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra of Debussy, composed in 1889, is a bit hard to understand inasmuch as it is Debussy's only work for this combination. It stands right at the point where Debussy's mature style emerged, seeming at first a work in Fauré's style. But soon it transpires that the piano is not forming contrasts with the orchestra but painting colors in the empty spaces it leaves, using textures and a surprising amount of whole-tone material. Bavouzet's performance is magical. Likewise the Massenet pieces, including the Valse folle (Crazy Waltz) that concludes the proceedings on a somewhat ominous note. The Ravel centerpieces are given brisk, sharp, crisp readings, which are highly effective in the case of the brilliant Piano Concerto in G major, where Bavouzet delivers what is going to be seen as a real crowd-pleaser. The Piano Concerto for the left hand is interesting not only for its unique technical concept, but as an example of the period in which Ravel was exploring the possibilities of American blues and jazz, and in the latter respect it's a bit dry. But superb orchestral support from the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Yan Pascal Tortelier, along with transparent super audio sound, make this an excellent choice for French music devotees.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Fantaisie, for Piano and Orchestra
1 8:03
2 8:10
3 7:52
Concerto in G, for Piano and Orchestra
4 8:12
5 8:54
6 3:57
7 17:46
Deux Impromptus
8 2:56
9 1:58
10 2:05
Deux Pièces pour piano
11 1:36
12 2:44
13 2:39
blue highlight denotes track pick