Clément Lefebvre – Ravel (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/48kHz | Time – 01:05:28 minutes | 509 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Evidence
Maurice Ravel, a versatile and eclectic composer, took his inspiration from many sources, but especially and most constantly throughout his life, from music of the Eighteenth Century: that of French Baroque.
His Menuet antique, Pavane pour une infante défunte, Valses nobles et sentimentales (title chosen in homage to Franz Schubert) and Tombeau de Couperin are fine illustrations of that interest and inspiration, and they are the works presented on this new recording by Clément Lefebvre. After a first CD devoted to Rameau and Couperin, that makes perfect sense.
If Maurice Ravel appears to us as the composer who brought French music into the modern era, it would be wrong to forget his deep attachment to the repertoire of the 17th and 18th centuries. Soberly entitled Ravel, this new album is here to remind our ears of the various influences that guided the work of the composer of Boléro. One will thus be able to hear several subtle and elegant interpretations of the minuet, the seventeenth-century form par excellence. From the second movement of the Sonatina, to the Tombeau de Couperin, including the more explicitly titled Menuet sur le nom de Haydn and Menuet antique, Clément Lefebvre delivers a sincere and luminous interpretation, articulating Ravelian harmonic innovations with more outdated rhythmic forms. The pianist particularly excels in the Menuet sur le nom de Haydn, from which he draws the best of the dissonances with a softer, sweeter temperament.
It is this same character that animates the Pavane pour infante défunte, although it addresses the piece with more languor and restraint. In a way it borrows from the period of the Nocturnes of the early 19th century, we find the tropisms dear to Ravel: his pronounced taste for colorimetric variations, the stretching of textures and ambitus. Once again, Clément Lefebvre offers an impeccable version of this work, providing a panoptical vision of the different sound layers.
The atmosphere changes with Le Tombeau de Couperin, both a tribute to the Baroque composer and a funereal eulogy to Ravel’s close friends who died at the front during the Great War. Ravel here takes the opposite view to an elegy and composes this suite in a way that allows each dance evokes a vague sadness, which the performer expresses with perfect accuracy, even in the more light-hearted sections IV and VI.
Winner of the Long-Thibaud-Crespin Competition in 2019, Clément Lefebvre puts his signature to a refined and elegant album. Ravel’s music seems to be created just for him: beside the luminosity and the richness of the clashes which characterise the composer’s work, the young pianist brings to his compositions a breath, a salutary respiration, and thus offers for our hearing a music which takes its own time. – Pierre Lamy
1. Sonatine, M. 40: I. Modéré (04:27)
2. Sonatine, M. 40: II. Mouvement de menuet (03:15)
3. Sonatine, M. 40: III. Animé (03:52)
4. Menuet sur le nom de Haydn, M. 58 (01:50)
5. Valses nobles et sentimentales, M. 61 (15:31)
6. Menuet antique, M. 7 (05:46)
7. Pavane pour une infante défunte, M. 19 (05:35)
8. Le Tombeau de Couperin, M. 68: I. Prélude (03:13)
9. Le Tombeau de Couperin, M. 68: II. Fugue (03:33)
10. Le Tombeau de Couperin, M. 68: III. Forlane (06:00)
11. Le Tombeau de Couperin, M. 68: IV. Rigaudon (03:25)
12. Le Tombeau de Couperin, M. 68: V. Menuet (04:57)
13. Le Tombeau de Couperin, M. 68: VI. Toccata (04:04)