David Korevaar, piano – MSR Classics MS 1125 72:40 (Distrib. Albany)
Recorded in 2000 at the Recital Hall of the Purchase College
Conservatory of Music, these seminal piano works of Ravel display David
Korevaar’s considerable facility in French neo-classicism, a medium for
which he has been honored by the Robert Casadesus Competition of 1989.
Like his teacher and mentor, Earl Wild, Mr. Korevaar favors the Baldwin
SD-10, a bright instrument whose virtues were first gleaned on disc by
David Bar-Illan some years ago. Korevaar is able to manage a sec tonal
palette for the neo-classic Le Tombeau de Couperin, whose Forlane
evinces that same tinge of melancholy we hear in Mother Goose. Pert
music-box sensibility for the last page of the Rigaudon – very
effective. The staccatos and passing grace notes in the wistful Menuet
are rounded and crisp. The bell-tones of the last page echo just as
effectively in La vallee des cloches, Ravel’s homage to the bell-towers
of Paris and the villages of the Jura Mountains in Switzerland.
The liquid speed which Korevaar elicits makes the opening movement of
Gaspard de la Nuit, Ondine, whose “watery silken robes” melt when the
mortal narrator rejects her offer to share her palace. So, too, the
kaleidoscopic colors of Noctuelles, their liquid flutter, have sensuous
shades of pedal and nuance. Water again dominates the piano’s color
elements in Une barque sur l’ocean, where arpeggios and repeated notes
mix in a vague habanera. For the aerial effects of Oiseaux tristes,
Korevaar evokes a palpable stillness around his pearly, haunted
arpeggios and runs. No one has ever surpassed Dinu Lipatti’s
steel-wristed rendition of Alborada del gracioso, but Korevaar’s
version packs some loving transitions and terraced dynamics. That
Korevaar can effect a slick dimuendo while speeding up attests to a
master’s hand. My daughter walked into my listening area while Korevaar
was providing light, limpid, plastic touches to Ravel’s Toccata from
the Couperin Suite. “Gee, Dad, that’s awfully nice music,” she
proffered. That’s enough of a recommendation, so far as I am concerned.
Excellent, tender piano sound, engineered by Gregory K. Squires.