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Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit; Carter: Night Fantasies; Two Diversions; 90+ ()

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Nocturnal in character, intensely virtuosic, and nearly equal in duration, Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit (1908) and Elliott Carter's Night Fantasies (1980) make a fascinating pair for this 2005 release from Warner; their similarities and differences are striking and thought-provoking. Ravel's dazzling fantasies on the spectral prose poems by Aloysius Bertrand are programmatic -- tremolandos and arpeggios represent the watery Ondine, ominously repeated B flats evoke the funeral bells of Le Gibet, and wild, sweeping gestures and fiery runs depict the perverse antics of the demon Scarbo -- while Carter's flights of imagination are abstract and perhaps only suggestive of disquieting thoughts on a sleepless night. The ferociously dissonant but tonal Gaspard and the atmospheric but atonal Night Fantasies are also quite different stylistically, but this is unsurprising for works separated in time by seven decades. Perhaps only a pianist as insightful and penetrating in interpretation as Pierre-Laurent Aimard... Hide synopsis

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