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The precocious Lise de la Salle has always been an individual pianist, offering interpretations of great insight even at an early age. Here, she reaffi rms her status in Bach with a stunning Italian Concerto, limpid and near-perfect in the Andante, magnificently assertive in the first movement, and bright, outgoing and fluently fleet-fingered in the finale. She then pushes the envelope to offer pieces inspired by or based on Bach. Four short pieces by Thomas Enhco offer breathing spaces, two of which themselves use material by Bach.

Enhco could not ask for a finer interpreter: de la Salle pedals his Chant nocturne to perfection, the effect positively pellucid, while she duets with the composer for Sur la route. Her performance of La question de l’ange exudes Bachian purity. De la Salle’s Liszt is a known quantity, given her previous, 2005, Bach/Liszt Naïve release, and here she is magnificently dark in the Fantasie and Fugue on Bach. Her Roussel is less established: she discovered the Prélude et Fugue Op 46, while researching this album and it is delightful, the Prélude flitting like a fly while the angular Fugue manages to to find its own form of tranquillity. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, her Poulenc (Valse-Improvisation sur le nom de Bach) is perfectly idiomatic, its dancing demeanour superbly caught. The variety of touch de la Salle can bring to bear is heard in the granitic opening to the Bach/Busoni Chaconne.

The intent of this recording is to work with Bach’s ‘timelessness’, and the sheer scope, compressed into a mere 55 minutes, is remarkable. Technically impeccable, beautifully recorded and stimulatingly conceived, the disc is a pure winner.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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