Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Disengaged Ravel

From December 7, 2012:


A new Ravel disc follows the first Naxos recording from the Orchestre National de Lyon under their new music director Leonard Slatkin, a perhaps overly-disciplined reading of Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique. This CD has the same strengths and failures as that disc. On the plus side, the orchestral playing is marvellous, powerful and subtle. Slatkin provides a unified concept of grace and colour for a varied group of occasional pieces and more consequential works by Ravel. Naxos production and engineering shines once again.

However, the overall feeling is one of disengagement. The Lyon musicians provide completely idiomatic French sounds, but Slatkin runs through things without enough emotion, especially in what should be a hair-raising piece: Bolero. We're left with a Gallic shrug. In this repertoire, that isn't good enough.

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