This stunning and generous collection belongs right at the top of the heap in its respective repertoire. The Debussy is still a comparative rarity in concert if not on disc, a remarkable fact given that it's wholly gorgeous from first note to last. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's excellence as a Debussy pianist already has been acknowledged by just about everyone who has heard him, and needs no further advertisement here. The performance is outstanding, sensitive to every nuance, but also very French in its clear-eyed sensibility and understanding that focused rhythm and supple tempos prevent the music from turning excessively sentimental or blandly pretty. And in Tortelier, Bavouzet has a conductor who seconds him every step of the way. A similar sensibility informs these swift, razor-sharp, and utterly thrilling accounts of the two Ravel concertos. That for the left hand seldom has sounded so exciting, or in its jazzy central march section, so sinister. Listen to the bite that both soloist and orchestra bring to that descending scale theme, and notice the way Bavouzet shapes his cadenza so as to preserve the illusion of multiple parts played by multiple hands–all without slowing down at the tough passages. It's really an amazing performance by any standard. Even the dark opening, often merely murky on other recordings, has shape and urgency, the buildup to the initial entry of the piano creating incredible tension.
Early 2015, an idea to marry the world’s most iconic classical music event with Britain’s greatest electronic dance music icon was proposed. Eyebrows were raised and questions were asked. Could it work? Fast forward to July 2015, in the hallowed surroundings of the Royal Albert Hall, as the string section of The Heritage Orchestra played the open bars of Fatboy Slim’s ’Right Here Right Now’, any doubts were dispelled as the audience rose to their feet and a new movement in dance music was born. Breaking BBC iPlayer records and racking up 500,000 views via YouTube in the first week, the Ibiza Prom inspired a younger generation to engage with orchestral music and rekindled the passions of a rave generation.