Complete Music for Piano Solo + Piano Concertos

Werner Haas
Orchestre National de l’Opera de Monte-Carlo, Alceo Galliera conducting

1993: Philips Classics/Duo 438 353-2

    CD 1

    Piano Concerto in G

  1. 1.  Allegramente
  2. 2.  Adagio assai
  3. 3.  Presto

    Gaspard de la nuit

  4. 1.  Ondine
  5. 2.  Le gibet
  6. 3.  Scarbo
  7. Menuet antique
  8. Menuet sur le nom de Haydn
  9. A la manière de…Borodine
  10. A la manière de…Chabrier
    Paraphrase sur an air de Gounod «Faust» 2e acte»


  11. Noctuelles
  12. Oiseaux tristes
  13. Une barque sur l’océan
  14. Alborada del gracioso
  15. La vallée des cloches

    CD 2

    Piano Concerto in D «for the left hand»

  1. Lento
  2. Allegro
  3. Tempo I

    Le tombeau de Couperin

  4. Prélude
  5. Fugue
  6. Forlane
  7. Rigaudon
  8. Menuet
  9. Toccata
  10. Prélude
  11. Jeux d’eau


  12. Modéré
  13. Mouvement de menuet
  14. Animé
  15. Valses nobles et sentimentales
  16. Pavane pour une infante défunte

There’s so much Ravel richness here that I must leave most of my thoughts unexpressed for awhile as I strive to enunciate a few highlights.

Le tombeau de Couperin is one of my favorite Ravel piano pieces—or, rather, most of it is. As both a listener and a pianist I find “Forlane” both capricious and gorgeous, a beautiful cluster of poses like Flamenco distilled to miniature form, and I absolutely adore it. “Fugue” is what its name says it is, although it’s so elliptical and seemingly unstructured that it doesn’t seem so at first; when you do recognize the pattern(s), whether by ear or by playing it yourself, it’s like looking at a beautiful fabric and recognizing the knit as a logical but daunting one (totally appropriate for a fugue, of course)…but it’s a crystalline strand of deftly woven fragments, not a hunk of macrame as some fugues can be when they get overly impressed with their brilliant pattern-work.

In Miroirs, three of the five pieces grab me. Well, actually, only “Alborada del gracioso” fails to do so. “Noctuelles” seems like a nocturnal-yet-hyperactive companion piece to “Oiseaux tristes,” and it contains a handful of those sequences that make it impossible to describe Ravel’s works without using the word “exquisite.” “Oiseaux tristes” itself is a brilliant melding of the abstract and the literal, with bits of birdsong translated into the language of the piano, all delicately draped like a constellation over a moodily indefinite ground. “La vallée des cloches” is the hidden gem here, however. Because of this piece I’ve discovered I’m a sucker for decent “distant churchbells” compositions/recording, those of Timo Väänänen, Loituma, and the Karelian Folk Music Ensemble being the only ones to truly vie for the top slot against Ravel’s effort.

My piano-playing level is nowhere near “expert,” being more “lapsed prodigy” at best and more like “accomplished amateur” overall, and what I love most to play are pieces that shimmer and resonate with harmonic flair and depth. “La vallée des cloches” is one of the many pieces I love to play just for the rapturous joy of playing and hearing that music.