NEW YORK, NY – On May 5, 2017, Orchid Classics will release Ravel [ORC100061], featuring the critically-acclaimed Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear performing works by the beloved French master. In his first recording for the British label, the recording includes: Sonatine, Gaspard de la nuit, Miroirs, Pavane pour une infante defunte, and Jeux d’eau.
Proclaimed "a phenomenon" by the Los Angeles Times and "one of the best pianists of his generation" by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Stewart Goodyear is a multi-Juno Award nominee, and an accomplished concerto soloist, chamber musician, recitalist and composer. His recordings have received high praise over the years including three Juno nominations for “Best Classical Solo Recording” for his recording of the Complete Beethoven Sonatas on the Marquis Classics label; “Best Classical Album for Soloist and Large Ensemble Accompaniment” for Rachmaninov Concertos Nos. 2 and 3 on Steinway & Sons, and most recently for his arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, also on the Steinway & Sons label.
About the new album, which was recorded in Paris, Goodyear writes, “Ravel was a long time coming. I first heard Bolero and wore out that album. Then, I was just inspired to listen to every single piece that Ravel wrote … every piece that he wrote for piano, it felt adventurous it felt revolutionary. I was seduced, inspired, sometimes frightened, but I couldn’t let go of Ravel and I had to do this album.”
All of the works featured on Ravel were written within just ten years of the composer’s early career (1899–1909). The earliest two works bookend the disc – Jeux d’eau and Pavane pour une infante defunte—were composed while Ravel was studying composition at the Conservatoire de Paris under Gabriel Fauré.
Between these two works, Stewart presents three more of Ravel’s early pieces, the first of which is Sonatine. Ravel composed the first movement of Sonatine, entitled Modéré, for a competition run by the Weekly Critical Review magazine. The rules called for for a ‘sonatina’ no longer than 75 bars. At a later date, Ravel completed the work with two additional movements; Mouvement de menuet and Animé.
Each movement of Miroirs was dedicated to a different member of “Les Apaches”, an avant-garde group of Parisian artists of which Ravel was a member. Miroirs further expands upon the harmonic language he initially explored in Jeux d’eau. This bold use of harmony paved the way for Ravel’s later compositions.
Gaspard de la nuit marks the pinnacle of complexity in this album and is widely regarded as one of the most challenging in the piano repertoire. Based on a collection of poems by Aloysius Bertrand, Gaspard de la nuit adopts an advanced and technically challenging language to recount three eerie-grotesque scenes — a suitable preparation for the simplicity of the closing Pavane.
TO VIEW A VIDEO ABOUT THE NEW ALBUM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abMJxnL-VHA
Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)
1. Jeux d’eau 4.59
2. I – Modéré 4.10
3. II – Mouvement de menuet 2.58
4. III – Animé 3.35
5. I – Noctuelles 4.28
6. II – Oiseaux tristes 3.50
7. III – Une barque sur l'océan 6.55
8. IV – Alborada del gracioso 6.18
9. V – La vallée des cloches 5.24
Gaspard de la nuit
10. I – Ondine 5.48
11. II – Le Gibet 5.06
12. III – Scarbo 9.01
13. Pavane pour une infant defunte 5.52
Total Time: 68.32
Known for his creative programming, Goodyear has performed the complete Beethoven Sonatas in highly-acclaimed day-long events in cities including Toronto, Princeton, Davis (California), and Dallas. On March 28, 2017, he makes his Beethoven “Sonatathon” debut at the The Savannah Music Festival. He also has presented programs originally performed by the great Canadian pianist Glenn Gould at venues including the iconic Ladies’ Morning Music Club in Montreal and the Burlington Arts Centre in Ontario. Last season he presented Gould’s American debut program at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. of which critic Anne Midgette wrote in The Washington Post, “On Sunday afternoon, Stewart Goodyear re-created Gould’s program as part of the Phillips’s 75th-anniversary season, in an exhilarating hour and a quarter of music that he made entirely his own.”
MORE ABOUT STEWART GOODYEAR:
Stewart Goodyear has performed with major orchestras of the world, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Bournemouth Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, MDR Symphony Orchestra (Leipzig), Montreal Symphony, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony , Atlanta Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and NHK Symphony Orchestra.
The pianist began his training at The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, where he received his bachelor's degree from Curtis Institute of Music, and completed his master's at The Juilliard School. Known as an improviser and composer, he has been commissioned by orchestras and chamber music organizations, and performs his own solo works. This year, Mr. Goodyear premiered his suite for piano and orchestra, Callaloo, with Kristjan Jarvi and MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig, and in July of this year, the Clarosa Quartet will premiere his Piano Quartet commissioned by the Kingston Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Goodyear performed all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in one day at Koerner Hall, McCarter Theatre, the Mondavi Center, and the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas.
Mr. Goodyear's discography includes Beethoven's Complete Piano Sonatas and Diabelli Variations for the Marquis Classics label, Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto and Grieg's Piano Concerto, and Rachmaninov's Piano Concertos No. 2 and 3, both recorded with the Czech National Symphony under Stanislav Bogunia and Hans Matthias Forster respectively, and released to critical acclaim on the Steinway & Sons label. Also for Steinway & Sons is Mr. Goodyear's recording of his own transcription of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker (Complete Ballet), which was released October 2015 and was chosen by The New York Times as one of the best classical music recordings of 2015. www.stewartgoodyearpiano.com