The expression “homage” is somewhat overused. The homage here is to earlier composers and, less specifically (and, in this case, convincingly), genres.

Busoni’s treatment of JS Bach’s famous Chaconne for solo violin is here played very emphatically and majestically by Grosvenor. There’s no question as to his artistry or interpretative imagination but I found the experience wearing.Mendelssohn’s tribute to Bach sees vibrant preludes with kaleidoscopic embellishments and grand fugues with admirable ebb and flow, not to mention, architecture. I’ve always found Franck’s Prélude, Chorale and Fugue rather academic but Grosvenor maintains both the seemingly endless tendril-like legato (and rubato) effectively. 

I found the homage concept less cogent in the Chopin and Liszt component, but the music more engaging. The notoriously tricky Barcarolle is beautifully brought off with just the right swinging rubato. No one will ever replace Dinu Lipatti, but that’s no reflection on Grosvenor. In Liszt’s Venezia e Napoli, from the Italian component of his Years of Pilgrimmage, he, similarly in Gondoliera, captures the innocence of a gondolier serenading his beloved. For me, the best came with the download bonus of the six-movement Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin. (He orchestrated only four). Grosvenor takes the Prélude at breakneck speed but infuses the rest with the elegant spirit of the 18th century.

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