Beatrice Rana’s newest album (Photo credit: Warner Classics)
Pianist Beatrice Rana’s newest album has been released today on Warner Classics! The disc features piano transcriptions of music from The Firebird and Petrushka, iridescent scores that Stravinsky wrote for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and two works by Ravel, the suite Miroirs and the ‘choreographic poem’ La Valse.
“La Valse forms the fil rouge of the album,” explains Rana. “In it, Ravel looks critically at pre-First World War society. It’s an irresistible waltz, filled with rich, seductive harmonies … then, at the end, he breaks everything and the world collapses. Romanticism doesn’t exist anymore. So you could say that he was doing what Stravinsky did in his music both before and after the First World War. Stravinsky came from Russia to Paris as a young man with many ideas … I’m looking for musical essence of these works and trying to create something in its own right. I have the freedom to be my own conductor.”
For Guido Agosti’s transcription of the The Firebird she says, “It’s challenging, but written with an understanding of the piano.” On the selections from Petrushka, transcribed by Stravinsky himself, Rana comments, “He wrote in a detailed, precise way, but without always worrying about the physical possibilities of the piano and the pianist – and it’s hugely challenging.”
Barbara Jepson of the Wall Street Journal praises the recordings: “This one features the rising pianist in early 20th-century bravura pieces, which showcase her super-swift scale runs, dramatic firepower and airy grace. Interpretively, the best performances here are Ravel’s atmospheric five-piece suite “Miroirs,” particularly “Une barque sur l’océan,” where Ms. Rana conjures a wonderful sense of motion, and Guido Agosti’s piano transcription of three sections from Stravinsky’s ballet masterpiece, “The Firebird.” In her hands, the ferociously fast rhythms of the Infernal Dance crackle with energy and momentum. The Berceuse, a lullaby, moves from dreamy and calming to enervating. The triumphant Finale has color and grandeur.”