Maurice Ravel: Sérénade grotesque – Menuet antique – Pavane pour une infante défunte – Jeux d’eau – Sonatine – Miroirs – Gaspard de la nuit – Menuet sur le nom d'Haydn – Valses nobles et sentimentales – Prélude – A la manière de...Borodine – A la manière de...Chabrier – Le Tombeau de Couperin – Menuet in C-Sharp major – La Valse
Alfredo Casella: A la manière de...Ravel
Arthur Honegger: Hommage à Ravel
Kendall Briggs: Hommage à Ravel
Marcus Aydintan: Encore avec Ravel
Anton Plate: Erinnerung an Maurice Ravel
Benedict Mason: Galoches in d’août
Hinrich Alpers (piano)
Recorded at the Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta (March 2015) – 152’
2 CDs Honens 20150
German pianist Hinrich Alpers was a laureate of the Honens International Piano Competition in 2006. One way the organization endeavours to further the careers of its laureates is by way of recordings; this is Alpers’ second release on the Honens label.
The title of the CD set is Complete Piano Works of Ravel but the word “solo” ought to precede “piano”. There are other minor works that have cropped up on other recordings, but what is presented here is the canon, in chronological order, from the Sérénade grotesque, composed when Ravel was 18 (1893), to the epic La Valse, completed in 1920. (Ravel lived until 1937, but his final years saw few compositions, although both piano concertos date from that era.) A definite rarity is the Menuet in C-sharp minor, just a minute long, that was written on the back of a student’s exercise sheet.
There are many complete - and very fine - surveys of these works available - Louis Lortie comes to mind, as does Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (another Honens winner). Alpers captures the essence very nicely throughout, although I find that Le Tombeau de Couperin is rather earthbound. However he rises the challenge of major works like Miroirs and Valses nobles et sentimentales - not to mention the epochal La Valse.
The Ravel works don’t quite fill two CDs, so Alpers has added six Ravelian treats. Two were composed during Ravel’s lifetime: Alfredo Casella’s A la manière de...Ravel dates from 1913, just two years after Valses nobles et sentimentales, to which it relates; and Arthur Honegger’s Hommage à Ravel, dating from the World War I era, contemporary with Le Tombeau de Couperin.
Hinrich Alpers asked four colleagues - Kendall Briggs (USA), Benedict Mason (UK), and Germans Anton Plate and Marcus Aydintan - to compose something Ravelian to include in the recording, resulting in four miniatures, all partaking of the spirit of Ravel’s works and his distinctive harmonies.
As with other Honens releases, the recording beautifully captures the piano’s sound.