"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
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
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.
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.
With this disc, Vladimir Ashkenazy, celebrated for his readings of Rachmaninoff and Chopin, and his son, Vovka, take on music by Debussy and Ravel for two pianos, and the results, utterly unlike virtually anything Ashkenazy père has ever recorded before, make it a real winner. From the electric excitement of the opening En blanc et noir, through the hazy mysteries of Jeux, and the luminous colors of the Rapsodie espagnole, to the inexorable hysteria of La Valse, Ashkenazy père and fils turn in performances that match the music for poise, drive, and technical brilliance. Some might find their sonorities a bit hard-edged at points – should the opening of En blanc et noir and the close of La Valse really be hit so strongly? – but the results are so consistently thrilling that most listeners are likely to be swept away. Recorded in close but clear and vivid digital sound, this disc may not be for every Debussy and Ravel fan, but it should certainly appeal to fans of Ashkenazy.
"…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…