Ravel: Piano Concerto, Bizet: Symphony - Weyand, Abel

Ravel: Piano Concerto, Bizet: Symphony - Weyand, Abel

Ars Produktion  ARS 38 323

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Ravel: Piano Concerto, Pavane pour une infante défunte
Bizet: Symphony

Uta Weyand (piano)
Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie
Yves Abel (conductor)

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Comments (3)

Comment by hiredfox - July 9, 2021 (1 of 3)

Astonisingly, it has taken twenty years for a dedicated SACD of Georges Bizet dramatic and at times achingly beautiful Symphony in C to be recorded and the Nordwestdeutsch Philharmonie led by Yves Abel do not disappoint. Yves Abel is better known for his work in leading opera houses, so it is not surprising that he has chosen to record Bizet's neglected operatic style symphony.

Abel leads a dynamic, jaunty and toe-tapping reading of the Symphony that will captivate many who perhaps are unfamiliar with the work. The recording quality as usual with this label is exemplary. If ever there was a "must have " recording this is it. I have no hesitation in recommending this whole-heartedly to collectors.

It doesn't end there as ARS have coupled the Symphony with Ravel's moving Piano Concerto in G and Pavane pour un Infante defunte in an all French repertoire. This disc in effect gives the listener a full concert experience on one disc which was very pleasing for this listener.

Sadly I have a number of quite serious reservations about Weyand's interpretation of the G Concerto. Especially in the exposition her pacing is sometimes quite erratic, at one point the whole performance almost falls apart where a prolonged pause ruins the flow of the music. The problem for her is that there have been so many performances of outstanding quality committed to disc over the years such as Martha Argerich's famous DG recording with the Berlin Philharmonic that the bar has been set at a vey high level and Weyand in tackling this work falls a long way short of what we should come to expect of any new entrant. Harsh perhaps and others may not agree with me at all, after all we all hear things differently.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - July 14, 2021 (2 of 3)

Thanks, John, for helping me out. I was going to review this one but your comments will do. Although Bizet’s symphony, except for the beautiful second movement, is not one of my favourite’s I do share your thoughts about Abel’s reading and the crisp playing of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie.

As a matter of fact, conductors do matter. I have another recording with the same orchestra with a different conductor. It doesn’t sound nor is the music played the same, and at times things are even a bit untidy.

As regards Ravel, I’m less sceptical, but there is another thing prospective buyers should be aware of - and which you as a confirmed stereo listener, could not have noticed – the surround is overwhelming to the point that sitting in my preferred position, the piano is separated from the orchestral soundstage as probably the conductor hears it.

Some like it that way, but, as I have indicated on several occasions, I prefer to sit in the hall rather than on stage. A chacun son goût!.

Comment by hiredfox - July 15, 2021 (3 of 3)

Hi Adrian, good to have your thoughts. I'm sure your review would have been a lot more thorough than my brief comment but we seem to agree that this an excellent recording of the Bizet Symphony and very worthy of a place on every collector's shelf. John