Ravel: Piano Masterworks (Arts)

Maurice Ravel: 

Sérénade Grotesque 

Jeaux d'eau 



I. Noctuelles
II. Oiseaux tristes
III. Une barque sur l'océan 
IV. Alborada del Gracioso
V. La Vallée des Cloches  

Gaspard de la nuit:

I. Ondine
II. Le Gibet
III. Gaspard de la nuit  

Alessandra Ammara, piano  

SACD Arts 17763-8  

Recorded at Palazzo Chigi, Ariccia, 28-30/11/2012. 

Sound engineer: Piero Schiavoni

Editing: Tommaso Cancellieri 

Piano: Steinway D

Piano tuning: Mauro Buccitti    


In Alessandra Ammara’s single-disc selection (the rest is to follow) her superfine pianism is complemented by an uncanny insight into Ravel’s outwardly teasing and enigmatic surface. She is scintillating and witty in the early Sérénade grotesque, where the composer declares his love of Spain in music of a distinctive rawness and edge. Few more magically evocative performances of the incomparable marinescape ‘Une barque sur l’océan’ (Miroirs) exist on record and, in the same suite, ‘Alborada’ is as bright and sparky as you could wish. Ammara’s ‘Ondine’ is a true ‘shimmer of harmony’ and in ‘Scarbo’ her tempo never obscures the waltz rhythm hovering beneath every whirlwind gesture. Hear her in the macabre chiming effect she achieves at 7'34", the start of an eerie sequence of ascents made hauntingly graphic, and you are clearly in the presence of a Ravelian as acute and individual as she is faithful to the score. I would not want to be without either but, of the two, Ammara is the more fascinating and personally engaging.
Bryce Morrison Gramophone (1.10.2013)

La pianiste italienne pare certaines pièces d'une irrésistible sensualité: ses Jeux d'eau sonnent avec une profondeur de son digne de Perlemuter. Dans la Sonatine, on admire une coupe d'apparence parfaite, des soufflets expressifs désarmants, des pianissimos au bord du silence. Ammara donne à l'ouvre une ampleur trobluante, avec une douleur éteinte. [...] Les planes sonores, formidablement mis en espace, impressionnent, comme la gamme dynamique du piano. [...]. On a connu plus épostouflant, mais pas souvent plus maitrié sur le plan narratif et sonore. 
Alain Lompech, Diapason (1.9.2013) 

There are of course many competitors in Ravel’s piano music to his new release, but few could offer the superb hi-res multichannel sonics of this one, as well as the excellent performances. The 96K/24-bit recording used a set of Shoeps Ambisonic mics as well as a B & K mic. The original recording was made in Italy in November of 2012.
John Sunier, Audiophile Audition (20.01.2014)   

Sbilanciato sulla modernità più di quanto dicano alcuni celebri titoli evocativi (come ad esempio Gaspard de la nuit, Jeux d' eau o Miroirs), il pianismo d' autore, in lettura aguzza nel ritmo e nei contrasti Alessandra Ammara, pianoforte
Angelo Foletto, Repubblica (4.8.2013)   

Piuttosto schiva rispetto alle star del pianoforte, Alessandra Ammara è tuttavia una delle più complete pianiste viventi. Dopo alcuni album dedicati a Schumann, prosegue una sottile ricerca nelle dimensioni dell’intimismo dedicandosi ad alcuni capolavori di Maurice Ravel: dalla massima delicatezza fino agli impeti più febbrili, restituisce la screziatura tipica del pianoforte raveliano, in un profluvio di colori mai effettistici, ma sempre tesi all’evocazione del mistero profondo che anima queste partiture.
Luca Ciammarughi, Milano Finanza (13.7.2013)

The Noble Return of Alessandra Ammara - When seamless pianistic facility is combined with profound musical insight it is called Alessandra Ammara. This present occasion is to celebrate her return to the concert platform following maternity leave and to mark the release of her latest CD (the first in her complete recordings of Ravel’s piano music) (...). I hereby predict that her just launched CD audio recording (ARTS SUPERAUDIO CD 47763-8) will be hailed as a landmark in the history of records of these demanding pieces.
Jack Buckley, Seen and Heard International (13.05.2013)