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ClassicsOnline Home » RAVEL, M.: Alborada del gracioso / Rapsodie espagnole / SAINT-SAËNS, C.: Symphony No. 3, "Organ" (J. Adam, Seattle Symphony, L. Morlot)
Sparkling performances; live audience
This new CD contains recordings by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra of music by Ravel and Saint-Saens. The applause at the end of all the works performed except Ravel's "Pavane" indicates that these were recorded "live" at concerts rather than in a studio. Performances were given under the French conductor Ludovic Morlot, who was appointed as 15th Music Director of the Seattle Symphony in June 2010; he is also Chief Conductor at La Monnaie opera house in Brussels.
I was surprised to find Ravel and Saint-Saens coupled together on the same CD, but the more I think about it the more logical it seems. Though born 40 years apart both composers were French, and Ravel claimed that some of his works were inspired by Saint-Saens.
Ravel's "Alborada del gracioso" and "Rapsodie espagnole" are both delivered with crisp precision, and the performance of Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 sounds excellent to my ears. The tempo for Ravel's "Pavane" sounds neither rushed nor dreary, for which I am thankful. By contrast Andre Cluytens' 1962 interpretation (currently available on YouTube) lasts seven minutes and sounds funereal, which would surely have displeased Ravel, whose comment about his own "Pavane" is worth quoting. When he heard a piano student performing it he commented that she was playing it far too slowly. He said: "Stop! You are playing it much too slowly; it's a pavane for a dead princess, not a dead pavane for a princess!"
The recording quality is excellent. I have only one small gripe: audiences - except after the "Pavane" - are so eager to show their pleasure after the performances that they begin to clap before the final chord has died away. If this aspect of this new CD doesn't bother you, then buy the disc; the performances are delightful.
- Ted Wilksmore....
There is an inordinate number of alternatives for all of the works included on this disc. The Ravel pieces come off the best. Morlot’s meticulous shaping and pacing of the material is met in kind by the superb playing of the Seattle Symphony.
The Saint-Saens is good but has to contend with the likes of Munch, Martinon, Tortelier and Paray for starters. A bit more passion and drive would have worked wonders. The sonics are first rate throughout: rich, detailed and luminous.more....
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RAVEL, M.: Alborada del gracioso / Rapsodie espagn...