Notes & Reviews:
Recorded between October 1951 and June 1953, these mono recordings have been much prized and sought-after by collectors and now reappear on CD at super-budget price. Ravel and Ansermet were well acquainted and that adds a special authenticity to these sublime readings. Presenting the majority of Ravel's orchestral music (Bolero and La Valse appear on another Ansermet Ravel anthology). His 1952 reading of Daphnis et Chloe, highly praised in a recent Gramophone survey of the work, once again becomes available. Ansermet biographer Francois Hudry contributes to the liner notes for this release. In his words: '[Ansermet] had a real affinity with Ravel, and his performances have the value of authentic interpretations. Listening to these beautiful mono recordings allows us to appreciate Ansermet's special sound: of course, there is his concern for clarity and rhythmic impulse, but also those qualities which he always thought to lack; tenderness and a sense of poetry, as if his intellectual approach should have been at the expense of his artistic sensitivity. These recordings, unobtainable for several years, show us Ansermet in the prime of life, conducting an orchestra built for French music; here the timbres, acid and emotional at the same time, are in perfect harmony with Ravel's musical language. Ansermet never forgot that this music was written for dance. His interpretations are not flashy: on the contrary, they are full of intelligence, respect and sensitivity to the score.