Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra & London Symphony Chorus –
– Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé / Pavane / Boléro (2010) [2.0 & 5.0]
PS3 Rip | ISO | SACD DST64 2.0 & 5.1 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 78:36 minutes | Scans included | 4,15 GB
or FLAC 2.0 Stereo (converted with foobar2000 to tracks) 24bit/88,2 kHz | Scans included | 1,38 GB
The first thing that will strike you when listening to this recording is its huge dynamic range. The opening bars of ‘Daphnis and Chloe’ (recorded in September 2009) emerge almost imperceptibly from inky black silence, and you may be tempted to immediately increase the volume setting, but beware, because as the music of the introduction rises to its climax (around 2’28”) the sound expands hugely, with the LSO trumpets cutting thrillingly through the massive orchestral and choral texture. Nevertheless this disc does need to be played at a high level to achieve the most realistic sound from it.
Throughout this recording the Classic Sound team of Jonathan Stokes and Neil Hutchinson have managed to capture every detail of Ravel’s glittering score in a way that one would not have believed possible, given the well-known sonic limitations of the Barbican acoustic.
Of course, much of the credit for the illumination of orchestral detail must also be given to Valery Gergiev who manages to achieve superb balances between every sections of his marvellous orchestra. One might be forgiven for imagining that Gergiev would be a conductor who would not respond naturally to Ravel’s sensuous and erotic score with much sensitivity, but that is definitely not the case. His performance is beautifully attuned to the ebb and flow of the ballet and most successfully combines a relaxed gentleness in the more reflective sections with terrific muscular drive and energy elsewhere. The LSO perform with their customary virtuosity and it is good to be able to hear the wordless choral sections delivered with such accuracy and enthusiasm by the LSO Chorus.
The two works that fill up this disc, ‘Pavane pour une infante défunte’ and ‘Bolero’,were recorded in December 2009 at a different concert from that of the Daphnis and Chloe’.
Gergiev’s ‘Pavane’, though exquisitely played, could have benefited from little more forward momentum such as that demonstrated by the incomparable Pierre Monteux on his 1961 recording of it with this same orchestra. However, the ubiquitous ‘Bolero’ proves to be a real winner. Though Gergiev’s steady and relentless pace does imbue the piece with an almost militaristic quality, he does temper that by allowing a modicum of freedom and flexibility to his players. The laid-back saxophone playing and amusingly louche solo trombone certainly give this ‘Bolero’ an engaging character and welcome individuality.
This disc is an unexpected success and, even amongst the many available alternatives of these works, is highly recommended.
01. Daphnis et Chloé: i. Introduction et Danse Religieuse
02. Daphnis et Chloé: ii. Les jeunes filles attirent Daphnis – Danse Générale
03. Daphnis et Chloé: iii. Danse grotesque de Dorcon
04. Daphnis et Chloé: iv. Danse légere et gracieuse de Daphnis – Lyceion danse – Les pirates
05. Daphnis et Chloé: v. Une lumiere irréelle enveloppe le paysage – Danse lente et mystérieuse
06. Daphnis et Chloé: vi. Daphnis se prosterne suppliant. Voix, tres lointaines – Animé et tres rude (Danse guerriere) – Bryaxis ordonne d’amener la captive
07. Daphnis et Chloé: vii. Danse suppliante de Chloé – Bryaxis veut l’entrainer – L’ombre de Pan apparait
08. Daphnis et Chloé: viii. Lever du jour – Daphnis cherche pour Chloé et il reve d’elle – Daphnis et Chloé miment l’aventure de Pan et de Syrinx
09. Daphnis et Chloé: ix. Chloé réapparait
10. Daphnis et Chloé: x. Animé (Entre un groupe de jeunes filles costumées en bacchantes) – Danse Générale – Danse de Daphnis et Chloé – Danse de Dorcon – Danse finale (Bacchanale)
11. Pavane pour une infante défunte
Recorded live – 20 & 24 September 2009 and 13 & 18 December 2009 at the Barbican, London.
Produced by James Mallinson. Classic Sound Ltd recording, editing and mastering facilities.