BENJAMIN GROSVENOR - DANCES 4785334

It's been a good while since we've had quite so much enthusiastic feedback about a disc featured in our weekly newsletter as there's been over the past couple of days --. many of you have been in touch over email to let us know how much you're enjoying "Dances" and to share your memories of Benjamin's live performances . . .

A young pianist shines in Bach and boogie . . . [you'll find lots of] artistic personality in this lively and intelligent double album . . . [J.S. Bach / Partita no. 4 BWV 828]: [Grosvenor gives] us Bach playing with elegant clarity and a gentle heart. The poise of the sarabande is particularly exquisite: Grosvenor at such points seems inside the notes, entirely the music's servant . . . one pleasure follows another, with carefully balances textures, widely varied degrees of touch and virtuosity that comes as naturally as breathing. Three od Scriabin's early mazurkas glide by, fluidly poetic, music poised between the concert hall and the salon . . . [Granados's "Valses Poéticos" are] pitched with exquisite skill and delicacy . . . a deliciously smoky Albéniz tango . . . This is an exhilarating programme all told, from a greatly gifted young artist. Excellently recorded, too.

His virtuosity is most floridly displayed in Adolf Schulz-Evler's gloss on Strauss's "By the Beautiful Blue Danube", but it's the Bach Partita that best displays a talent where an assured modesty allows the music's subtler charms to shine through.

A superb collection from a brilliant young pianist . . . an outstanding collection of pieces . . . Here Grosvenor brings all of his virtuosic brilliance and musical intelligence to a wide-ranging and very attractive selection of pieces, all immaculately played and crisply recorded.

. . . a wonderful array of piano music inspired by various dance forms . . . do check out the album -- brilliant piano playing of a wide range of repertoire!

. . . the delivery is absolutely winning . . . [Chopin]: [Grosvenor] bowls you over with his flexibility and power: the "Grande Polonaise Brillante" is terrific . . . The discovery is the "Valses Poéticos" by Granados, done with total charm and dash. Even the trashy Schulz-Evler mash-up of Strauss's "Blue Danube" is transmuted by Grosvenor into something breathtaking.

. . . this is piano playing of nimbleness and elegance. From Bach's Partita No 4, sensitive . . ., he goes on to scintillating Chopin Polonaises, a clutch of fleeting Scriabin mazurkas, some entrancing Granados waltzes, and -- showing off a sprightly set of heels -- a virtuoso arrangement of Johann Strauss's "The Blue Danube", which is a real showpiece. An invitation to take a twirl round the ballroom with Grosvenor is one worth taking up.

. . . [Benjamin Grosvenor] is already showing the kind of form that could one day put him on a similar pedestal to Uchida's. Grosvenor is, in the best sense of the word, a young fogey. He not only plays brilliantly, but is also very interested in the performing traditions of the past . . . [think] of the kind of golden-age pianists who flourished early in the 20th century and revelled in giving recitals containing an extraordinary range of music . . . Among today's pianists, only Stephen Hough would contemplate such an album -- and Grosvenor stands up pretty well to the comparison.

. . . Grosvenor has individuality to match his precocity, and, once you hear him, his distinctive, infectious sound will remain as clear and vivid in your auditory memory as the voice of a front-rank singer -- of a Pavarotti, even, for me the acid test . . . When I listen to Grosvenor, it is as if there are little . . . explosions on the ivories, so energized and even electrifying is his touch . . . What he makes it sound is exuberant, irresistible and robustly healthy . . . ["Dances" CD]: [the program is] so clearly in his hands, bones and bloodstream that, even at its most spontaneous and cheeky, you wouldn't call it risk-taking. The pianist's own delight in the music . . . keeps popping up everywhere . . . his playing is stylish in every sense; the shapes of the strongly contrasting dance movements are carefully molded, and each fitted proportionally into the whole . . . Grosvenor respects both the music's feeling and yours. What he most brings forward from the harpsichord sonority is an enlivening brightness, without glare. What's clear from this Baroque beginning is that you're in for some rip-roaring fun, none of it at the composer's expense. My own "show me" attitude about his "Andante spianato and Grand Polonaise brillante" of Chopin . . . found me wallowing in that most exhausted of critical cliches: that I was hearing much of the piece for the first time. It's rarely rippled as seductively, and the cascading phrases at its midpoint run down your spinal chord. The elasticity of line . . . is perfectly felt, not perfectly judged, and it similarly informs the rhythms and currents of the darker F-sharp minor Polonaise . . . The arresting thing about the disc's most unashamed showpiece, "Arabesques on Johann Strauss' By the Beautiful Blue Danube," is its grace and poise. Full letting go is saved for Morton Gould's "Boogie-Woogie Etude," which nearly jumps the tracks. Long before it's over, this CD is going to slap a smile on your face.

Mit glitzerndem, hell leuchtendem Ton und prononciert virtuosem Zugriff präsentiert sich Grosvenor dabei als origineller, überragend souveräner Solist, der tatsächlich unter die besten drei, vier der ganz jungen Generation zu rechnen ist. Eher unbritisch mag der brilliante Angang wirken, durchaus britisch ist das Ziel, nicht etwa dogmatisch einem Komponistenwillen zu huldigen oder den Entertainer hervorzukehren, als vielmehr Wohlgefallen, Vergnügen und Freude unter den Zuhören zu verbreiten. Darum die bunte Mixtur . . . Ein fulminanter Pianist, . . . den man sich nicht entgehen lassen sollte.

. . . le mélomane y trouve largement son compte, car voilà un album qui est à la fois un véritable projet éditorial en même temps qu'une nouvelle preuve du talent original du très jeune pianiste britannique (22 ans). Sa Quatrième Partita de Bach est finement ciselée et coule avec évidence, son Chopin est chantourné, volubile et intime, son Granados, coloré et populaire et le reste à l'avenant. La sonorité de Grosvenor est claire et lisible, son art est empreint d'une simplicité qui fait du bien.