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CHAN 5084
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CHAN 5084

Debussy/ Ravel/Massenet: Piano and Orchestral Works

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2010

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2010


BBC Symphony Orchestra

Yan Pascal Tortelier

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet



Watford Colosseum

Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk


Brian Pidgeon

(Debussy, Ravel)

Rachel Smith



Jonathan Cooper

(Assistant: Massenet)

Ralph Couzens

(Debussy, Ravel)

Jonathan Cooper


Record Label



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 76:01
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  for Piano and Orchestra  
  À René Chansarel  
1 I Andante ma non troppo - Allegro giusto - Fièrement - Modéré - 7:58
2 II Lent (très expressif) - Animez (très peu) - Più mosso poco a poco - 8:01
3 III Allegro molto - Très rythmé - Le double moins vite - A tempo I - 7:46
 Yan Pascal Tortelier



Concerto in G

  in G - en sol  
  for Piano and Orchestra  
  À Marguerite Long  
  Alison Teale cor anglais  
4 I Allegramente - Meno vivo - Tempo I - Meno vivo - 8:07
5 II Adagio assai 8:55
6 III Presto 3:52
 Yan Pascal Tortelier

Concerto for the Left Hand

  for Piano and Orchestra  
  À Paul Wittgenstein  
  Lento - Piano solo a piacere - [ ] - Più lento - Andante -  
 Yan Pascal Tortelier



Deux Impromptus

  À mon ami Louis Dièmer  
8 I Eau dormante. Lent et calme 2:54
9 II Eau courante. Vite 1:55


  À Madame Roger-Miclos  
  Prestissimo - Lent  

Deux Pieces pour piano

11 I Papillons noirs. Allegro agitato molto 1:34
12 II Papillons blancs. Allegro (alerte) 2:41

Valse folle

  À mon ami Raoul Pugno  
  Prestissimo - En animant follement, de plus en plus, et toujours crescendo  

The exclusive Chandos artist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is a master of this repertoire. This is his second concerto recording for the label, after his survey of the complete piano concertos by Bartók (CHAN 10610) which was released in September to high acclaim and voted ‘Orchestral Choice of the Month’ by the magazine BBC Music. Bavouzet’s complete recording of the piano music by Debussy also scooped awards from BBC Music and Gramophone, which wrote: ‘This could well be the finest and most challenging of all Debussy piano cycles.’

On this new release, Bavouzet is accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Yan Pascal Tortelier, a conductor steeped in the French tradition and utterly at home in this repertoire. The result is a totally idiomatic performance of these French masterpieces for piano and orchestra.

Ravel’s light and brilliant Piano Concerto in G major is the intriguing result of a merging of classical models with the idioms and harmonies found in the popular jazz music of his day. At the time of composing this concerto, Ravel had just returned from his travels in the USA and the work is heavily influenced by the jazz music that he encountered there. However, in the second movement Mozart takes precedence, the piano’s theme closely modelled on the slow movement of his Clarinet Quintet; and Saint-Saëns’s sparkling semi-quavers fill the finale. The first performance of this work, given by Marguerite Long in Paris, was a great success, as was the European tour that followed. Another central piece is Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand. The work was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, a concert pianist who had lost his right arm during the First World War. Although at first Wittgenstein did not take to its jazz-influenced rhythms and harmonies, he grew to like the piece. Speaking of the Concerto, Ravel said that he had been determined to make it sound ‘no thinner’ than one for both hands and noted that in the middle of the piece ‘innumerable rhythmic patterns are introduced which become increasingly compact’ and that ‘this pulsation increases in intensity and frequency’ before the various elements ‘contend with one another until they are brusquely interrupted by a brutal conclusion’.

Also featured on this disc is Debussy’s Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra. Debussy was a highly self-critical composer and disowned or withdrew several of his early works; this piece was one of them. It was composed in 1889 – 90, and its premiere was scheduled, under Vincent d’Indy, almost as soon as the score was completed, but withdrawn by Debussy just as it was being put into rehearsal. The first performance did not take place until after Debussy’s death in 1918. Although the Fantaisie is the lone piano concerto by a composer regarded as one of the greatest among those who wrote for the piano, it remains one of Debussy’s least frequently performed works even now. The work shows the influences of Fauré and Franck, and the piano does not figure as a solo instrument in the conventional concerto sense
but rather as an equal partner with the orchestra, although the conventional three movements are still present.

Completing the disc in a unique manner are six pieces for solo piano by Massenet. Most famous for his operas and suites for orchestra, Massenet wrote a quantity of very charming piano pieces, of which Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has selected some of the best. The music is typical of its composer – highly tuneful, richly textured, and utterly compelling – and conjures an atmosphere which only a Frenchman could achieve.

"This is simply one of the finest records of French piano in the catalogue."

The Pengiun Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

                     Winner of the Concerto Section of the Gramophone Awards 2011

"...Wonderful playing and excellent orchestral accompaniments."

Graham Rickson - 20 November 2010

“…Bavouzet is at his eloquent best in the slower movements.” Bavouzet plays all the music exquisitely. Never lacking power , his pianism is also elegant and feather light. The orchestra handles the concerti superbly and Tortelier conducts with style and authority.”


Limelight - February 2011

“…Debussy’s little known Fantaisie for piano and orchestra is well worth hearing in Bavouzet’s thoughtful, idiomatic reading, and he uncovers a handful of piano solos by Massenet, the pick of which is an engaging Toccata. But the CD’s  raison d’etre is the Ravel. Bavouzet’s G major concerto is the best since Michelangeli’s 50 years ago: it has style, verve, poetry and balance…” ****

Andrew Clark

The Financial Times - 15-16 January 2011

                        “Editor’s Choice”
“…It’s exceptional to have a soloist and conductor so in tune with each other in both Ravel concertos. This is a great partnership, a stunning disc and an early contender for those end-of-year awards.”              *****

Jeremy Nicholas

Classic FM Magazine - Janurary 2011

                          Performance *****       Recording ****

“…This is a disc of pure pleasure…”

Christopher Dingle

BBC Music Magazine - January 2011

                     “Gramophone Recommends”

“An all-too rare outing for Debussy’s luxuriant Fantasie makes this a must.”  “…The combination of all three works on a single CD creates a satisfying programme, especially when played with such finesse and limpid colouring as by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, with Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC SO matching hime in taste and eloquence.”

Geoffrey Norris

Gramophone - December 2010

“The ebullient French pianist Bavouzet scales the heights in this splendid and generous CD with the BBC Symphony Orchestra …” *****

Geoff Brown


The Times - 13 November 2010

It was my first HiRes Audio download and I'm surprised with the simple process and with the quality of the sound. I'm playing it using my recent Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 and I am delighted with the wonderful performance and sound quality. By now it was a 5 star purchase.
A Gil

E Tugwell

Its everything the critics promised! A splendid performance and a well engineered disc. I wasn't so keen on the Debussy, so I was going to give it 4 stars, but the rest is worth six!
S Lane