Rachmaninoff & Ravel
Unlike Rachmaninoff, Ravel did not prepare himself for his larger and more complete piano works with a series of miniatures or Moments musicaux.
Ravel’s music was fully formed from the beginning, although he had nonetheless made use of forms used by earlier composers in the Menuet antique and the Sonatine as well as in the Liszt-inspired Jeux d’eau. He shook himself free of classicism in Miroirs, seeing in them the possibility of developing a style of composition for piano from a primarily harmonic viewpoint.
Any listener who hears Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata No.1 given a first-rate performance immediately realises that it is a solid piece on a large scale, a work with a much tighter structure than it might seem on first hearing. What is certainly true is that it is a composition of symphonic proportions; although, unlike Ravel’s Miroirs, it cannot be said that it is perfect in all of its parts, we can nonetheless admire the daring of a composer who so convincingly transformed his own fear of failure into reckless exuberance. – From the booklet notes
Edison Award 2012Solo Debut Album
‘Simply sensational. The Rachmaninov Sonata is a definitive recording, every note of the 40-minute piece is coloured and paced with anticipation and a keen eye for the structure of the whole narration. In this respect, Minnaar has few rivals. A most thrilling debut and an absolute must hear.’International Piano Magazine
‘Refulgent Rachmaninov from a brilliant Dutch pianist. He roots Ravel’s Sonatine in classical poise and presents a warm, technicoloured account of Miroirs.’BBC Music Magazine
‘Minnaar displays further attributes as a convincing tonal colourist and ardent Romantic. He’s a natural talent with a bold streak.’Gramophone
‘An astonishing debut: Minnaar manages the prodigious feat of making Rachmaninov’s First Piano Sonata sound not a second too long. He is faultless in pacing the outer movements to attain coherence of the whole, and the strongest possible sense of direction.’International Record Review
‘Minnaar’s virtuosity needs no comment: we expect that. His musical intelligence, sense of line and structure, delicacy, subtlety of texture and discipline set him apart. His Ravel is muscular and sparkling, his Rachmaninov glowing, meticulous and fervent.’The Observer