With program notes as insightful as the ones written by Stewart Goodyear for Stewart Goodyear Ravel, a new CD from Orchid Classics (www.orchidclassics.com) not much is left for the reviewer to add, other than raves.

Goodyear takes the listener on a 68 minute journey that spans Jeux d’eau, Sonatine, Miroirs, Gaspard de la Nuit and Pavane four une Infante defuncte. Throughout he keeps the listener enthralled with his technical wizardry, his elegance, his ability to color the sound in a myriad of ways. All the while one senses that the artist is ever at the service of the composer, not as an obliging servant but as a knowing collaborator who understands the quirky twists and turns of Ravel’s music.

Ravel, half Basque, half Swiss, French by birth but Iberian by temperament, finds much to mine for inspiration in the music of the Peninsula and never more than in Miroirs. Goodyear one would dare say, feels the Spanish mix of ice and fire that colors Noctuelles, Oiseaux tristes, Une barque sur l’ocean, Alborada del Gracioso and La vallee des cloches. His playing of this work is as memorable as I have ever heard.

The album is handsomely packaged in a (thank goodness!) 10 millimeter case and accompanied by insightful program notes.

Rafael de Acha


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