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.
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 02:14:08
van den Hul
Meitner DSD AD converter
B&W 803 diamond series
Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Rens Heijnis custom made
|Original Recording Format
Deventer, Eindhoven Holland
|Recording Type & Bit Rate
|February 4, 2014
BBC Music Magazine
(…) As for Giacometti’s interpretations, the harder the pieces, the better he is. (…)
Welke van de twee? Dat is het centrale vraagstuk van het fraaie Ravelalbum van pianist Paolo Giacomett. (…) Op beide instrumenten speelt Giacometti Ravel elegant, vloeiend en transparant. (…)
The program is an interesting one (…) This comparison effort made me want to hear the same piano music recorded in hi-res on several modern concert grands, including Bodendorfer and Fazoli. (…) I am looking forward to the second volume by Giacometti.
Fascinerend hoe Giacometti Ravels Sonatine, Gaspard de la Nuit, Menuet antique en Le tombeau de Couperin aan een vergelijking onderwerpt.
een interessante dubbel-cd. (…) Welke interpretatie is het mooist? Dat is moeilijk kiezen, want Giacometti laat van deze muziek overtuigende interpretaties horen.
Beide opnames zijn mooi, alleen al vanwege het heldere, bevlogen, haast eerbiedige en uitgebalanceerde spel van Paolo Giacometti.
elk instrument vraagt om een andere benadering (…) het gaat hier om twee magistrale uitvoeringen door Paolo Giacometti (…)
For my ideal Giacometti performance of La Tombeau de Couperin, I choose for the Érard for the Prélude’s more pronounced contrasts between the hands and the Toccata’s more forceful repeated notes. On the other hand, the Steinway Forlane movement seems more fluid and less sectionalized next to its Érard counterpart. In all, an absorbing and often inspired release.
The Absolute Sound
The Steinway’s sound is crisper and burlier, the Érard’s more singing and lyrical. (…) Fascinating.
Dat de Érard en de Steinway meer verschillen dan overeenkomsten vertonen krijgt in deze vertolkingen nog een extra dimensie dankzij het geciseleerde, fijnzinnige (sonatine!) maar menigmaal ook overdonderende (Gaspard!) spel van Giacometti. (…) Wie, zoals Giacometti, ook nog stilistisch verbeeldingsvol en met een feilloze techniek deze stukken interpreteert, creëert uitsluitend klankjuwelen die de toehoorder meeslepen in hun ongekende pracht. Dit zijn verkenningen van de hoogste muzikale orde die bovendien prachtig zijn vastgelegd.
The new cd is unusual and interesting, the first one of its kind.
American Record Guide
The recording quality is superb, bringing out the sounds of these different pianos to their best advantage (…) An engaging project.
International Record Review
Giacometti’s fingerwork and articulation are very precise (…) ‘Toccata’ of Ravel’s Le Tombeau is by far the most difficult and virtuosic of the three, and Giacometti meets its pianistic demands with secure exuberance. (…) an interesting and valuable release.
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