For this third volume in an Ives series that Sir Andrew Davis and his Melbourne Orchestra have already made globally popular, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet takes on the challenge of the solo piano part in Symphony No. 4. The work is famous for its ubiquitous difficulties, not least the apparent impossibility of realising many of the composer’s creative intentions in a live performance, as evidenced by the forty pages of background discussion and practical advice to conductors that introduce the published score.
It is complemented by the less-often-performed triptych Orchestral Set No. 2 and the Pulitzer Prize winning Symphony No. 3. Recorded in Surround Sound in Melbourne just after a ‘remarkable, very welcome’ (Sydney Morning Herald) performance in concert of the same programme by the same forces, this album is a must-have for anyone who wants to experience this monumental music under optimal conditions.
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“[Davis] focuses the music’s muscularity and its astonishing changes of perspective and mood with total assurance. Capturing all the teeming ideas is as much of a challenge for sound engineers, too, but this recording, with the solo piano, played by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, more than usually prominent, teases everything out with marvellous clarity.” - The Guardian (UK) ****