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Ravel: Orchestral Music - Bolero; La Valse; Prelude a la Nuit; Pavane for a dead princess; Ma Mere L'oye; Valses Nobles et Sentimentales / Skrowaczewski, Fremaux

Album Summary

>Ravel, Maurice : Boléro
>Ravel, Maurice : La valse
>Ravel, Maurice : Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 2
>Ravel, Maurice : Rapsodie espagnole
>Ravel, Maurice : Pavane pour une infante défunte
>Ravel, Maurice : Valses nobles et sentimentales
>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye
>Ravel, Maurice : Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 1
Conductors Ensembles Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Ravel is considered one of the great masters of orchestration, his compositions noted as much for their sensitive and colourful scoring as for their musicality. This release brings together many of his most celebrated works for orchestra, a number of which were originally written as ballet or piano music. Daphnis et Chloé, a beautifully lyrical work, was the first ballet Ravel worked on, and he went on to score two enchanting suites from it, both of which have led to the work's primary association with the concert hall rather than with the theatre. He followed this success with Ma Mère l'Oye, or "Mother Goose", a charming ballet based on collections of children's fairytales, included in full on this release. Arguably his most famous work is Boléro, which, along with Rapsodie espagnole, was inspired by his part-Basque heritage. Thanks to its powerful evocations of Spain, with a compelling triplet rhythm inspired by Mediterranean folk dances, Boléro gained huge popularity both in Europe and America, though its exotic colours and relentless drive led one audience member to label Ravel "mad". Continuing the Spanish theme is the Pavane pour un einfant edéfunte, a piece originally conceived for the piano and later orchestrated by the composer. Less frantic than the Rapsodie Espagnole - which is characterised by fandango-like rhythms and wild, fierce themes - the Pavane harks back to the customs of the 17th-century Spanish court. The Valses nobles et sentimentales were Ravel's first attempt at the waltz form, and a tribute to Schubert's work of the same name. He later followed this with La Valse, a far more melancholy and despondent work said to have been influenced by the aftermath of the First World War. The works are split between the world-class London Symphony Orchestra, which performs Boléro, La Valse and Daphnis et Chloé with its characteristic flair, and the Minnesota Orchestra, whose initial release of this music was described as "glittering" and "stylish" by Gramophone magazine. This repertoire portrays Ravel at his most scintillating and offers a perfect introduction to the captivating music of this French composer.

American Record Guide, September/October 2015

American Record Guide, September/October 2015
The Stanislaw Skrowaczewski recordings with the Minnesota Orchestra are from an almost complete Ravel orchestral set from the 1970s on Vox. (Skrowaczewski recorded the two Daphnis suites The famed recording team of Joanna Nickrenz and Marc Aubort turned out an audiophile classic that helped put the orchestra and conductor on the recording map. The Minnesota Orchestra, excellent now, was excellent in the 1970s, too; and Skrowaczewski drew some terrific Ravel from it. The style is more Viennese than French: dark and rich in tone, velvety in texture, and flowing, supple, and subtle. Tempos are on the slow side; textures are full. My LP set is quadraphonic and it is breathtaking on a first-rate analog setup. The sound of these CDs is very good.

Another gem from Skrowaczewski is the Daphnis et Chloe Suite No. 1. The first two episodes are slow, dark and mystical. The contrast displayed by the 'Dance of War' is amazing in its sheer speed and precision.

The puzzle here is what the Louis Fremaux performances are doing in the Brilliant set. They are certainly worth having. The London Symphony's universal sound serves this music well; the performances are large in scale, exciting, smooth, and flawless in execution. There was a Vox reissue of the complete set, I think with the piano concertos. I have not heard it, but if you can find it and can afford it, I'd grab it. Meanwhile, the Brilliant is better than nothing.



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Works Details

>Ravel, Maurice : Boléro
  • Conductor: Louis Frémaux
  • Ensemble: Minnesota Orchestra
  • Running Time: 15 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1928

>Ravel, Maurice : La valse
  • Conductor: Louis Frémaux
  • Ensemble: London Sympony Orchesta
  • Running Time: 12 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1919-1920

>Ravel, Maurice : Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 2
  • Conductor: Louis Frémaux
  • Running Time: 17 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1913

>Ravel, Maurice : Rapsodie espagnole
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Running Time: 16 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1907

>Ravel, Maurice : Pavane pour une infante défunte
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Running Time: 7 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1899

>Ravel, Maurice : Valses nobles et sentimentales
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Running Time: 18 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1911

>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Running Time: 30 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Ballet
  • Written: 1911-1912

>Ravel, Maurice : Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 1
  • Conductor: Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
  • Running Time: 12 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1911