Notes and Editorial Reviews
In November 2011 I heard Bertrand Chamayou for the first time during the Lucerne Piano Festival, where his recital in the Lukaskirche featured an ample selection from Liszt's Années de Pèlerinage. I was frankly bowled over by the young French pianist's staggering technique, commanding artistry, wide color palette, and controlled concentration. These qualities consistently inform his Naïve recording of the complete cycle, which may well become a version of reference alongside Muza Rubackyté's out-of-print Lyrinx edition.
As is so often the case with great musicians, ear-catching details can be traced to the score itself. In the three Petrarch Sonetti, for
example, Chamayou goes out of his way to clarify Liszt's phrase groupings and articulations, while the slightly sec textural quality he conveys in the Pastorale's second theme stems from Liszt's seldom-observed "un poco marcato" directive. He dispatches the octaves in Orage, the Dante Sonata, and Vallée d'Obermann with zero effort, volatile sweep, and shapely musicality.
Book Three's starker, slower pieces benefit from faster tempos and more transparent voicings, in contrast to Rubackyté's weightier (though no less convincing) vantage point. If his repeated notes in the Tarantella do not quite match Marc-André Hamelin's near-inhuman speed and evenness, Chamayou's intelligent dynamic scaling and shimmering translucence positively ravish in Les jeux d'eau de la Villa d'Este. Naïve's superb, realistic engineering makes me forgive the rather pretentious booklet annotations. An outstanding release in every way.
– Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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