Classical reviews

> Bonjour Paris. Albrecht Mayer (oboe), Academy of St Martin in the Fields. Decca CD.

Virtuoso German oboe player Mayer enhances the Berlin Philharmonic, but here again takes his wood reed instrument out of the orchestral niche into solo limelight with those most sensuous sounds in front of a fine British orchestra, conducted by Mathias Munius.

The "haut bois" recital has a French theme - works by composers Debussy, Faure, Ravel, Satie, Dindy, Francaix, Odermatt and Hahn, some specially orchestrated.

Mayer's search for new repertoire sees him lend his oboe's golden voice to such "foreign" works - pieces written originally for foreign instruments or singers. In this case the results are tres bon.

Popular melodies are beautifully played and included is the premiere recording of the impressionistic Ete by Odermatt.

Highlights: Debussy and Ravel piano favourites translated to oboe gems.

> Resonances. Helene Grimaud (piano). Deutsche Grammophon CD

A balance between intellect and emotion is mentioned on the disc's jacket and Grimaud certainly achieves this in a celebration of the keyboard and the Austro-Hungarian musical genius.

The French pianist plays the Mozart Sonata No.8 in A minor to make it sound both dramatic and properly lyrical, Berg's Sonata Op.1 captures its restless brooding, and Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances revels in irresistible rhythms of folk dances.

Then there is Franz Liszt's masterpiece, Piano Sonata in B minor, in which beautiful phrasing as well as technique and impetus in timing capture its emotional messages.

For Grimaud the Berg is "an extreme expression of something that seems to come from the soul". She plays the works most impressively on a fine instrument, nicely recorded.

Highlight: Brilliance throughout; perhaps the Liszt?

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