Refreshing dose of Ravel (by a highly-esteemed, world-renowned pianist you probably may not have heard of yet)

20th Century, Classical Music, Classical Piano Music, Female Pianists, French Composers, Piano Concertos

Ravel Piano Concerto in G major: Presto performed by Cecile Licad

Ravel G major Piano Concerto is a short prominent piece in the piano repertoire. An almost staple diet for every amateur and pro pianist, it’s not surprising to hear it in a thousand more readings. Most are exciting, some are outlandish, but it rarely comes as simple and as instinctive as the one posted. Not much quirks or shades -just the substance. You need a red or a white, you get just it. And when you get tired listening to all other unique, excellent performances, whose top-rank musical ideas blow away, this one is the to-go-for. It feels the same when you relish a five-star hotel suite, but at the end of that brief sublime encounter, all you want is to be at home. Unfortunately, we’re only given the third leg of this concerto performance by pianist Cecile Licad – yet enough refreshing dose of Ravel. Refreshing enough we’d be left pining for the piquant first movement and the divine middle movement by the artist.

Cecile Licad is a Curtis-trained, Leventritt gold-medalist classical pianist who in 1985 was awarded the Grand Prix du Disque Frédéric Chopin in Warsaw, Poland for her Chopin Second Concerto recording with André Previn and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Interestingly she also made a recording of Rachmaninoff Second Concerto in 1982, when she was 21 years old, with Claudio Abbado and Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the CBS Masterworks Records, now Sony Classical Records, just as Yuja Wang – one of today’s young leading pianists – who is another Curtis-trained, with the same conductor and Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the Deutsche Grammophon. She was 22.

For anyone who liked the performance, I’ll scour for more of her great, no-nonsense takings on music. She also has a recording of Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, Le tombeau de Couperin, and Sonatina which startlingly the Gramophone magazine said of her a miscast for Ravel, when in otherwise the Classic CD not only gave it two thumbs up, but also awarded it as their Classic CD Choice.

One of my upcoming posts will be about that album. I will exercise my best to let whoever is interested hear some of them and be the judge himself especially if her Ravel has refreshened his sense of possibilities Ravel could be played. Let me know; hurl out a comment down and stay tuned.

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