Emmanuelle Bertrand DUTILLEUX - LIGETI - BACRI - CRUMB - HENZE

All credit to Emmanuelle Bertrand for choosing an all-20th-century programme for her first solo recital. Its content is as well varied as any, and, since the competition in the works by Crumb, Henze and Ligeti tends to be full-price, she starts with an in-built advantage.
Bertrand is a less seasoned player and a less consistently polished interpreter than Wolfgang Boettcher, whose recent disc, including Henze’s Serenade and Ligeti’s Sonata, is crowned by an imposing account of Dallapiccola’s Ciacona, intermezzo e adagio. She is nevertheless fully equal to the varied technical challenges of her chosen repertory, as her admirably uncontrived performance of George Crumb’s early Sonata shows. In general, Bertrand’s playing in Crumb and Ligeti is less consistently forceful than Pieter Wispelwey’s, and the recording – creditably – is less concerned to project her sound in intense close-up. While her versions of the Henze and the Ligeti are not as freely expressive as Boettcher’s, she impresses in Dutilleux’s brief but telling trilogy, and her advocacy of the Suite No 4 by Nicolas Bacri provides the disc with a substantial novelty.
Bacri (b 1961) is not, on this evidence, a composer of very distinctive personality. He relies on familiar, at times hackneyed, types of instrumental patterning and characterisation to fill out generously proportioned structures, and this 19-minute suite doesn’t really take wing until the last of its five movements. Nevertheless, there’s enough of interest on the disc as a whole to make me hope that more of Bertrand’s playing in the 20th (and 21st) century repertory will soon be made available.' (Gramophone)

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