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Part of APR’s series on the French Piano School, this twofer dedicated to Jean Doyen (1907-1982) focuses on a pianist who perfectly encapsulates the Paris Conservatoire’s ethics of legerdemain and textural transparency. Chopin’s Variations on ‘Là ci darem’ demonstrates both of these in a sparkling performance.

The set contains all four of Chopin’s Ballades (1941, in superb transfers that brilliantly convey nuance of tone). The G minor is ardent and impetuous; the A-flat impeccably sculpted. Liszt’s Études de Concert S244 and Konzertetüden S145 glitter and sigh.

The second disc is dedicated exclusively to French music. Chevillard’s transcription of Chabrier’s España is a tour de force, while both Chabrier’s Bourée fantasque and Saint-Saëns’ ‘Wedding Cake’ Valse-Caprice reveal Doyen’s deliciously light touch. His Fauré is a dream. A glorious Debussy Images I ends with a perfectly articulated, celebrational finale. All this is crowned by a 1937 Ravel Gaspard of commanding insight, poise and integrity.

Robert Cowlin and Seth Winner, responsible for mastering and transfers, have produced an historical release of the very first order.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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