28th December 2012 marks the 75th Anniversary of the death of Maurice Ravel, the great French composer, best-known for his beautiful melodies, orchestral & instrumental textures and mesmeric compositional effects. Many consumers will know Ravel through his masterpieces, such as: Boléro, Pavane pour une infant défunte, Rapsodie espagnole, Gaspard de la nuit, Ma Mère l’oye, Daphnis et Chloë, Le Tombeau de Couperin and La Valse. For the first time ever, a 14-CD Box Set containing the COMPLETE EDITION of Ravel’s compositions. This is the flagship product, the first time ever that a complete Ravel Box has been issued by any classical label.
"Was Lorin Maazel und sein Orchester hier bieten, stellt an Klarheit und Präzision alles mir Bekannte in Sachen Ravel in den Schatten." ~FonoForum 6/1984
"…The recording does, in fact, have a very wide dynamic range – not much use for playing in the car, where the soft passages would be drowned by road noise, unless you have a top-of-the-range limo, and the louder sections would seriously impair your driving, like the head-banging bass sounds one hears, usually emanating from black cars with heavily tinted windows. With ironic inevitability, the moment I typed those words I was disturbed by just such a noise from a car in a traffic queue outside! Even in domestic situations it is hard to cope with such a wide range; most of us have neighbours to consider and, even with good loudspeakers, quieter passages lack presence if played at a lower volume…"
One of the most versatile musicians on the planet, André Previn has amassed considerable credentials as a jazz pianist, despite carving out separate lives first as a Hollywood arranger and composer, and then as a world-class classical conductor, pianist, and composer. Always fluid, melodic, and swinging, with elements of Bud Powell, Oscar Peterson, and Horace Silver mixed with a faultless technique, Previn didn't change much over the decades but could always be counted upon for polished, reliable performances at the drop of a hat…
Editorial Reviews- Amazon.com
What a potent combo: Maurice Ravel and Leonard Bernstein. Boléro slowly comes to a steady boil without any ingredients overflowing. By contrast, in Alborada del Gracioso and La Valse, Bernstein thoroughly revels in his French orchestra's watery brass and silvery string tuttis. Back in Manhattan, the Daphnis and Chloé suite and Rapsodie Espagnol are lusty without ever sounding vulgar. Some might find the miking a hair spotlit for their tastes, but Ravel's breathtaking orchestration can withstand such scrutiny. So can Bernstein and company. An ingratiating release. –Jed Distler
This third volume of the complete orchestral works by the great French composer Maurice Ravel features his music for the ballet Daphnis et Chloé, his longest work, written for Sergei Diaghalev’s Ballets Russes. The company gave the first performance in 1912. Ravel depicted the characters in the story with great musical delicacy, and the Stuttgart Orchestra reflects this through the attention it gives to the score’s finest nuances. Ravel secures scintillating effects from the large percussion section that he uses, a clear nod to ancient music. The Valses nobles et sentimentales were composed at the same time as the ballet, which makes it an appropriate coupling. The version for piano, clearly linked to Franz Schubert’s similarly named waltzes, was published in 1911, with the orchestral version following one year later. Again the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra gives a thrilling, first class interpretation.
Unusually the liner note deserves a mention ahead of the music: the fine pianist Jeremy Denk, half of this regular duo, manages to encapsulate the elusiveness of French romantic music with such insight in a few sharp sentences, his words almost shape the way we listen to this superbly played disc. Saint-Saëns' wistful and emotional Sonata No 1 and Ravel's bluesy, ironic sonata have a whipped, airy quality. Joshua Bell plays with fire and finesse, with Denk a powerful ally. Franck's dark-light violin sonata, mysterious, ardent and far more than the sum of its parts when played as majestically as here, forms the centrepiece of this seriously beguiling disc.
In addition to the traditional pairing of the Debussy and Ravel string quartets, the Arcanto Quartett performs Henri Dutilleux's Ainsi la Nuit (1971-1976), a grouping that is becoming increasingly popular on recordings. These are absolutely secure, thoughtful, self-effacing readings of the Debussy and the Ravel. While the quartet doesn't bring particular new revelations to the pieces, the members play with nuanced sensitivity and impeccable musicianship. The haunted quiet they achieve in the first part of the third movement of the Debussy is especially impressive, as is the clarity of their sense of direction and unity in the final movement, the most difficult of the four to pull off. Similarly in the Ravel, the contrast between the serenity of the third movement and the raw athleticism of the fourth is attention-grabbing and invigorating.
Alice Ader’s first Debussy disc (Erato) won all the awards in the specialist press on its release twenty years ago and is still regarded as an unequalled benchmark. Now this unconventional pianist at last unveils her recording of the complete Ravel piano works. And what better moment could there be than Debussy Year to present these two hours or so of music in dialogue, en Miroirs as it were, with the œuvre of ‘Claude de France’? Ravel, the hot-blooded Swiss watchmaker, the discreet Lisztian, the mediocre pianist who made such extreme demands on his colleagues, the man of so many sublime paradoxes, deserves only the finest interpreters: those who take the time to explore his deepest recesses. Alice Ader, light-years away from the flashy gestures often encountered in this music, takes us to the very heart of one of the most secretive composers of his time.