by Alice Sara Ott


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The German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott is one of several young artists trying to break out from the pack of young recitalists, with creatively enjoyable results for listeners. She cultivates a high-fashion look and, still unusually in the concert music realm, uses videos to promote her music. Here she takes a venerable theme, that of the musical nocturne, and tries to bring fresh approaches to some familiar works. Partly it's that some of the music isn't conventionally thought of as "night music"; the "Gnossiennes" and "Gymnopédies" of Satie don't specifically refer to nightfall, and despite its title, Ravel's "Gaspard de la nuit" is no nocturne. Except that, in Ott's hands, it is. Nightfall for her is not a mere atmospheric mood but a moment of deep introspection, and many of her interpretations run counter to type or seem to raise psychological issues. Sample the technically perilous Scarbo movement from "Gaspard de la nuit," which is generally a test of pianistic muscle. Ott, in her own trenchant notes, tells you that Scarbo is instead "a gnome who attacks artists in the night and drinks their blood, [and] confronts us with our fear of failure." It's a novel idea but perhaps one not so removed from Ravel's own conception of the work, despite his stated intention of simply outdoing Balakirev's "Islamey" in terms of sheer virtuosity. Her Debussy is likewise unsettled, with shifts between light and shade that are not smoothed out. A highly recommended outing from a promising rising star.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/24/2018
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028948351879
catalogNumber: 002880502
Rank: 12078

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