Text or shortcode
Text or shortcode

Classical music and more, 24/7

Ravel and de Falla from Alexandre Tharaud

Ravel and de Falla from Alexandre Tharaud
Ravel and de Falla from Alexandre Tharaud
Ravel and de Falla from Alexandre Tharaud

What a fascinating disc this is! Ravel and de Falla’s music is sumptuous; but far more than just that, and Alexandre Tharaud’s release from 2023 offers a major contender in this repertoire. Tharaud and his conductor, Louis Langrée, deliver performances of exquisite care; teh scores emerge as brand new.

The two Ravel Concertos have hallowed discographies, from Martha Argerich o Bavouzet to Zimerman. But there is a freshness and energy (sometimes raw energy!) to Tharaud’s readings that is compelling. Her’s what Alexandre Tharaud has to say:

There is every bit of Ravel in these two concertos. Masterful orchestration, childhood secrets, the influence of jazz, internal machinery, unprecedented violence unleashed in the tenderest abandon. The Nights in the Garden of Spain, by his friend Falla, are a fiery response.

Take the first movement of the G-Major Concerto, as exact as a fine clock and yet absolutely driven. Tharaud’s finger work is perfect (Ravel needs fleet fingers!) and the Orchestre National de France under Louis Langrée is completely with him. All the tricky orchestral moments – the oboe octaves, the high horn solo – are perfectly done:

The slow movement opens with a long piano solo that requires extended legato from the soloist. With the orchestra, it takes on the feel of a slow dance, rising to a natural climax. This is a truly beautiful recording, featuring a gloriously haunting cor anglais solo. The finale chaters brilliantly, the clarinet and trombone as barmy as can be. This is Ravel’s equivalent of Stravinsky’s circus meeting initially, before spiralling off (literally – listen to some of the piano gestures) ino its own intricate world:

A terrific performance: Tharaud’s finger work truly sparkles in that finale, and the final drum thwack certainly makes its point.

The Left-Hand Concerto is a dark counterpoint to he two-handed G-Major. Vocaic glissandos, jittery rhythms and the often low orchestration give this work a very different feel. The scores’ inherent sense of danger is perfectly realised. Here’s the Lento followed by the almost cacophonous second movement (Allegro) out of which comes the most radiant, glowing orchestral outburst:

Tharaud and Langrée honour the strangeness of Ravel’s Left-Hand Concerto and that is their finest achievement.

Beginning life as a set of Nocturnes in 1909, Manuel de Falla’s Noches en los marines de España (Nights in the Gardens of Spain) of 1915 is highly atmospheric. Tharaud and Langrée take an objectivist viewpoint that aligns with their Ravel G-Major. There is excitement here, for sure, in the ten-minute first movement, “En el Generalife”:


There is no doubting the dance-like elements of the “Danza lejana,” the snaky melodic lines almost Arabic in intent at time. There are moments of real tenderness here, too:

The finale, “En los jardines de la Sierra de Córdoba” has some of the helter-skelter qualities of Ravel, but easily melts into unabashed lyricism. This is a lovely performance:

Alexandre Tharaud and Louis Langrée provide a refreshing alternative for these pieces; well worth a go.

You can buy the CD quite cheaply on Amazon here; there is an LP version for over £20 here ,too.

Ravel: Concertos – Falla: Noches en los jardines de España | Stream on IDAGIO
Listen to Ravel: Concertos – Falla: Noches en los jardines de España by Louis Langrée, Alexandre Tharaud, Orchestre National de France, Maurice Ravel, Manuel de Falla. Stream now on IDAGIO
Ravel and de Falla from Alexandre Tharaud

Go to Source article

Previous Article

Tarmo: How I look so young

Next Article

CBSO’s shifting policy on the use of phones

You might be interested in …