CHOPIN • LISZT • RAVEL
Release date: July 11th 2011
Cat No: 478 3206
Following the signing of Benjamin Grosvenor to Decca Classics the label is proud to present Grosvenor’s debut Decca recording, a recital of Chopin, Liszt and Ravel. The 18-year-old British pianist, who has been described by Jessica Duchen in The Independent as ‘one in a million – several million’ and ‘a keyboard visionary who knows no bounds’ (Süddeutsche Zeitung), releases a piano recital disc which comprises Chopin’s Four Scherzi and a selection of Nocturnes, Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and a selection of shorter pieces by Liszt.
Upon signing the exclusive contract just a few months ago, Grosvenor became the first British pianist to sign to Decca Classics in nearly 60 years, and also the youngest ever British artist to sign to the iconic London-based label. Also the first British musician to sign since Decca Classics recently stated its intention to bring homegrown classical talent back to the forefront of its roster, he became the first British pianist to sign with Decca Classics since Clifford Curzon, Moura Lympany and Peter Katin first graced the label in the 1940s and 50s.
The new album has been released to coincide with Grosvenor’s performance of the Liszt Piano Concerto No. 2 at the First Night of the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. Grosvenor will once again break a record with this performance, becoming the youngest First Night soloist the celebrated festival has ever seen.
Grosvenor first rose to prominence when he won the piano section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year 2004 at the age of 11, the youngest ever finalist in the competition. Shortly after, he made his debuts at the Royal Albert Hall, London and Carnegie Hall, New York and he has continued to develop an international presence in Europe, Asia and the USA working with some of the world’s finest orchestras and esteemed conductors including Alexander Lazarev and Vladimir Ashkenazy.
Benjamin is currently in his third year of studies with Christopher Elton at the Royal Academy of Music in London and is a participant in the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme.
“…as well as being young, he’s also a player of uncommon maturity and finesse. As a taster, try the first section, Ondine, from Ravel’s testing Gaspard de la Nuit. Have you ever heard a more aqueous evocation of Ravel’s water nymph? Grosvenor’s Steinway instrument seems permanently underwater, swimming through the softest of rippling textures… Grosvenor, you can tell, is a Romantic pianist, almost from another age. He doesn’t deconstruct, or stand at a distance. He jumps inside the music’s soul.”
Geoff Brown, The Times (8 July 2011)
“His debut programme for the label ingeniously moves from Chopin to Ravel’s “Gaspard De La Nuit” by way of Liszt’s “En Reve”, a pleasing arc further finessed by the way he alternates Chopin scherzos and nocturnes, respectively showcasing Grosvenor’s boundless dexterity and his precocious sensitivity… the most impressive aspect being not his obvious command of technique, but an intellectual and emotional understanding of the music way beyond his tender years.”
Andy Gill, The Independent (8 July 2011)
“The first thing you notice is the limpid surface of Grosvenor’s playing, the warm tonal gleam that he conjures up from the keys. It is a beautiful sound, and beneath it there are seams of passion, discretion and emotional affinity with the music… there is little to quibble with in this recital, which shows intelligence coupled with a command of keyboard colour and musical characterisation that are remarkable.”
Geoffrey Norris, The Telegraph (14 July 2011)
“This recital disc shows his ability to twin youthful exuberance with impeccable technique and magisterial musical intelligence. Chopin’s four scherzos, here interwoven with three nocturnes, demand a grasp of structure, especially the wild No 1 in B minor, which more experienced pianists struggle to convey. Grosvenor’s balance of oratory and ornament, gesture and poetry – evident, too, in Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit – are moving as well as impressive. He’s a phenomenon: modest, poised and natural, as well as brimming with talent.”
The Observer (17 July 2011)