A solitaire in French is a single mounted jewel, a concept that seems less than apt for the rather hefty works recorded here by British pianist Kathryn Stott. But this fine recital holds together in another way: Ravel, who so often provides the temporal endpoint for traditional piano recitals, is here, to a greater or lesser extent, the launching point for the other three composers featured. Stott's reading of the neoclassical Le Tombeau de Couperin is beautifully precise and balanced, catching the economy of this Baroque-style suite to the hilt. That economy carries over into the later works, even the rarely performed Piano Sonata of Henri Dutilleux, a work that deftly fuses Ravel's sense of classical forms with a largely dissonant language. The opening Prelude and Fugue of Jehan Alain, actually two separate works that are reasonably enough combined here, is another seldom-played piece that makes an arresting curtain-raiser, and the final "Le baiser de l'Enfant Jésus" of Messiaen, part of the giant Vingt regards sur l'Enfant Jésus, is the splendid climax of the whole, its spiritual, dreamlike ascent at the end superbly controlled.
There are artists who have the gift of magnifying a work that was thought more or less successful. That is the case here of the young quartet Hermes which we owe a splendid recording of three quartets by Robert Schumann. If the Third has always seemed the most successful, the first two seemed littered writing weaknesses. Nothing like here with the Hermes who offer us a worried Schumann, enthusiastic, romantic, giving this triptych cohesion rarely heard such a level. France has truly become the last twenty years a large string quartet nation, thanks to the combined actions of Pro Quartet and the beautiful teaching of Ysaяe Quartet. A new record provides further evidence. Hermes Quartet is a young training to monitor closely.
A full 25 favorites from this institution of a singer-songwriter, whose songs have been borrowed by Clapton, Santana, Skynyrd and so many others. You get Cocaine; After Midnight; Lies; Call Me the Breeze; Sensitive Kind; Magnolia; Crazy Mama; Cajun Moon, and more!
Kathryn Stott is a British classical pianist who performs as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Her specialities include the English and French classical repertoire, contemporary classical music and the tango. She teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Chetham's School of Music, and has organised several music festivals and concert series.
Kathryn Stott: The Complete Solo Recordings presents the celebrated British pianist’s entire solo recording output on Conifer Records, newly remastered and collected together in this 9 CD box set. Features works by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Debussy, and more.