James Bennett II is a staff writer for WQXR.
Watch: Stewart Goodyear on the Magic of Ravel
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 11:55 AM
Stewart Goodyear, the Canadian pianist who once played all 32 Beethoven piano sonatas in a single day and made waves with a deft transcription of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, now has his sights set on Ravel.
His recordings of the French impressionist's solo piano works are due later this year, but in the meantime he's giving his listeners a glimpse into his recording process and personal headspace. The celebrated pianist reveals that, like many of us, he came to Ravel by way of Bolero. He soon found himself listening to every piece of music the composer ever wrote and — unlike many of us — felt compelled to record an album featuring his music.
Goodyear explains that this music has had a profound emotional impact on him. When he visited Paris, for example, he says he heard Pavane the whole time and felt like he “bumped into the rhythms on the street.” Even now, the music transports him to Parisian locales.
You might believe that an artist treats live shows and recording sessions differently, but Goodyear wants you to know otherwise. Although far fewer people are watching in the studio, he still approaches the session with the same reverence that he does the concert stage. “Each take is a different performance,” he says — and that is part of what makes his recordings so magical.
Below, check out samples of Jeaux d’eau, Pavane and Gaspard de la nuit.