Compared - Erard / Steinway
Maurice Ravel

Compared - Erard / Steinway

Paolo Giacometti

CCS 31612 - 0723385316121

Information GreatBrittain Germany

This recording raised the same question as all previous ones: should I use an authentic or a modern piano? At home I have a Steinway, on which I learnt to play, and it is a wonderful instrument. When I was about twenty I was fortunate enough to get to know authentic instruments: romantic grand pianos by Érard and Pleyel and older ones by Graf, Streicher etc. This was a new world of timbres and expressive potential. Naturally, I took the inspiration and revelations provided by these instruments to the
modern grand piano. A stimulating crossfertilisation of expressive and interpretative possibilities was the result. In this way it became
increasingly natural for me to play the same repertoire on both old and new instruments. In my desire to share this fascinating crossfertilisation with others, I found the answer to the above question: a double CD with the same works on authentic and new instruments. This is particularly interesting in the case of Ravel, since the two types of instrument not only existed in his lifetime, but were actually used by him. The ‘new’ instrument used for the recording is a Steinway. ‘New’ is in inverted commas because the Steinway grand has hardly changed since the late nineteenth century. The authentic instrument on this CD is an Érard – one of the
most celebrated makers of the nineteenth century, and immortalised by Liszt. Ravel frequently gave his recitals on a Steinway, while
at home he used an Érard when composing. The different tonal worlds of the two instruments result primarily from the parallel stringing and largely wooden frame of the Érard, and the cross-stringing and steel frame (to accommodate the higher tension of the strings and case) of the Steinway. The sound of the Érard is thus more stringy and dies away differently, while the various registers are more
individual. The Steinway glories in the resonance of the strings and case, and the mélange of the notes. Since relationships between the immense richness of colour and timbre in Ravel’s music are therefore different, this is naturally of influence on the interpretative choices made by the performer. The pedalling, dynamic transitions, balance between the parts, harmonic colours, build-up of tension, tempos – all these must be approached differently depending on the instrument used. This is clearest of all in relation to tempos: none of the recorded pieces have the same length on the two CDs. For a musician and pianist this is an inevitable, inspiring, instructive, and in particular a delightful experience in the process of developing one’s interpretation. I sincerely hope that you will enjoy precisely this aspect of the project as much as I do.
Paolo Giacometti

Tracklisting
  • 1
    Sonatine
    I. Modére (Érard)
    04:08
  • 1
    Sonatine
    I. Modére (Steinway)
    04:02
  • 2
    Sonatine
    II. Mouvement de menuet (Érard)
    03:20
  • 2
    Sonatine
    II. Mouvement de menuet (Steinway)
    03:15
  • 3
    Sonatine
    III. Animé (Érard)
    04:19
  • 3
    Sonatine
    III. Animé (Steinway)
    04:12
  • 4
    Gaspard de la nuit
    Ondine (Érard)
    07:01
  • 4
    Gaspard de la nuit
    Ondine (Steinway)
    07:00
  • 5
    Gaspard de la nuit
    Le gibet (Érard)
    06:13
  • 5
    Gaspard de la nuit
    Le gibet (Steinway)
    06:09
  • 6
    Gaspard de la nuit
    Scarbo (Érard)
    09:47
  • 6
    Gaspard de la nuit
    Scarbo (Steinway)
    09:36
  • 7
    Menuet antique (Érard)
    07:10
  • 7
    Menuet antique (Steinway)
    06:56
  • 8
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    I. Prélude (Érard)
    02:56
  • 8
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    I. Prélude (Steinway)
    02:59
  • 9
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    II. Fugue (Érard)
    03:51
  • 9
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    II. Fugue (Steinway)
    03:48
  • 10
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    III. Forlane (Érard)
    07:00
  • 10
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    III. Forlane (Steinway)
    06:41
  • 11
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    IV. Rigaudon (Érard)
    03:16
  • 11
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    IV. Rigaudon (Steinway)
    03:08
  • 12
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    V. Menuet (Érard)
    05:01
  • 12
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    V. Menuet (Steinway)
    04:46
  • 13
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    VI. Toccata (Érard)
    03:52
  • 13
    Le tombeau de Couperin
    VI. Toccata (Steinway)
    03:49