Alice Ader’s first Debussy disc (Erato) won all the awards in the specialist press on its release twenty years ago and is still regarded as an unequalled benchmark. Now this unconventional pianist at last unveils her recording of the complete Ravel piano works. And what better moment could there be than Debussy Year to present these two hours or so of music in dialogue, en Miroirs as it were, with the œuvre of ‘Claude de France’? Ravel, the hot-blooded Swiss watchmaker, the discreet Lisztian, the mediocre pianist who made such extreme demands on his colleagues, the man of so many sublime paradoxes, deserves only the finest interpreters: those who take the time to explore his deepest recesses. Alice Ader, light-years away from the flashy gestures often encountered in this music, takes us to the very heart of one of the most secretive composers of his time.
A pupil of Dukas and a lifelong friend of Ravel, the composer, pianist and critic Gustave Samazeuilh was a central figure in Parisian musical life over many decades. His skill as a pianist can be heard in the majestic colours and intense virtuosity of Le Chant de la mer (The song of the sea). From the Classical discipline of the Suite en sol (Suite in G) to the later Nocturne (the composer’s transcription of his symphonic poem Nuit), and Quatre Esquisses (Four Sketches), Samazeuilh’s voice emerges as one of remarkable originality and superb musical realisation.