New recordings are a mystery: you never know what you’re going to get. Unless it’s Benjamin Grosvenor!
The artistry of the young English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor — a combination of interpretive strong-mindedness and remarkable delicacy of touch — has been the talk of the musical world for several years now, and with good reason. His new solo release, the fourth in a varied series of discs for Decca, shows all those gifts in operation, as well as a sort of tenderness that has not always been so powerfully in evidence. The attempt at thematic programming feels like a considerable stretch; under the title “Homages,” Grosvenor has assembled a few pieces that hark back to Bach (doesn’t everything?) and then a couple of pieces by Chopin and Liszt with a Venetian lilt. But if the connections are sketchy at best, there’s no disputing the potency and eloquence of Grosvenor’s execution — particularly in the last two works, the Chopin Barcarolle and Liszt’s “Venezia e Napoli,” both of which boast plenty of poetic charm without ever lapsing into sentimentality.