This album of French piano rarities features seldom-heard and recently discovered works by composers who had an influence on Pierre Boulez, as well as the premiere recording of Boulez’s Prélude, Toccata et Scherzo. This large-scale early work looks back on virtuosic Romantic music, while at the same time exploring the new compositional styles that Boulez would subsequently embrace.
Among the rarities is a posthumously discovered piano study by Debussy, a reconstructed birdsong work by Messiaen, and a tiny masterpiece by Ravel found in a notebook.
Ralph van Raat has been fascinated by classical music of the 20th century since the age of 14. Although his repertoire ranges from Bach to Boulez, his primaryRead more focus has always been on composers dating from Debussy, Bartók and Ives to present-day masters. Van Raat helps audiences identify with modern day composers by adhering to a classical approach: he firmly believes that a strong sense of classical structure as well as a refinement of tone is essential in conveying the logic and poetry of any music. This has not gone unrecognized: he is the recipient of a substantial number of national and international awards, many composers have written solo works for him, and he has performed over 50 piano concertos with orchestras worldwide.
In addition to other solo piano writing from Boulez, van Raat’s new album shows his lustrous way of playing lesser-heard gems by Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen. Given this repertoire, the album’s title, “French Piano Rarities,” makes plenty of sense. Yet it doesn’t do justice to the worldliness that informs this pianist’s process, no matter which tradition he is exploring.
Well played noiseJuly 8, 2020By Jonathan S. (Anchorage, AK)See All My Reviews"5 Stars for the artistic ability of Mr van Raat, if takes real talent to interpret non-melodic non-rythmic music. I can't imagine these pieces played any better. Technical quality of the discs is of the highest quality. All that said, 3 Stars because there is a reason these are rarities, it's just so much noise. If you like a talented precocious child experimenting at the piano for an hour, then this album is for you. The only redeeming piece is the Minuet in C sharp by Ravel and at 58 seconds too short to pay for the balance of the disc."Report Abuse