Boulez: Ravel - Sheherazade, Trois Poems de Stephane Mallarme, Chansons madecasses etc. (APE)
Boulez: Ravel - Sheherazade, Trois Poems de Stephane Mallarme, Chansons madecasses etc. (APE)

Composer: Maurice Ravel
Conductor: Pierre Boulez
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Sony
Size: 205 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

# Shéhérazade, poems (3) for soprano (or tenor) & orchestra (or piano) Asie
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Heather Harper, David Butt

# Shéhérazade, poems (3) for soprano (or tenor) & orchestra (or piano) La Flûte enchantée
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Heather Harper, David Butt

# Shéhérazade, poems (3) for soprano (or tenor) & orchestra (or piano) L’Indifférent
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Heather Harper, David Butt

# Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, song cycle for voice & ensemble (or piano) Soupir
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with John Boyce, Howard Shelley, Jill Gomez, Christine Messiter, Roger Fallows, Colin Bradbury, John Coulling, Eli Goren, David Butt, Jeffrey Wakefield

# Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, song cycle for voice & ensemble (or piano) Placet futile
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with John Boyce, Howard Shelley, Jill Gomez, Christine Messiter, Roger Fallows, Colin Bradbury, John Coulling, Eli Goren, David Butt, Jeffrey Wakefield

# Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, song cycle for voice & ensemble (or piano) Surgi de la croupe et du bond
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with John Boyce, Howard Shelley, Jill Gomez, Christine Messiter, Roger Fallows, Colin Bradbury, John Coulling, Eli Goren, David Butt, Jeffrey Wakefield

# Chansons madécasses, song cycle for soprano, flute, cello & piano Nahandove
Composed by Maurice Ravel
with Jessye Norman, Philippe Muller, Alain Marion, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, InterContemporain Ensemble [members of]

Also available:  Previn: Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker (24/96, FLAC)

# Chansons madécasses, song cycle for soprano, flute, cello & piano Aoua!
Composed by Maurice Ravel
with Jessye Norman, Philippe Muller, Alain Marion, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, InterContemporain Ensemble [members of]

# Chansons madécasses, song cycle for soprano, flute, cello & piano Il est Doux
Composed by Maurice Ravel
with Jessye Norman, Philippe Muller, Alain Marion, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, InterContemporain Ensemble [members of]

# Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, song cycle for voice & orchestra (or piano) Chanson Romanesque
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

# Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, song cycle for voice & orchestra (or piano) Chanson épique
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

# Don Quichotte à Dulcinée, song cycle for voice & orchestra (or piano) Chanson á Boire
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

# Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra) La Réveil da la Mariée
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

# Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra) Lá-bas vers L’église
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

# Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra) Quel Galant!
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

# Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra) Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

Also available:  Russian Legends: Legendary Russian Soloists of the 20-th Century (100 CD box set, WavPack)

# Cinq mélodies populaires grecques, song cycle for voice & piano (or orchestra) Tout Gai!
Composed by Maurice Ravel
Performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra
with Jose Van Dam

Outstanding collection of Maurice Ravel songs

This is a very strong recording of Maurice Ravel’s vocal music led by Pierre Boulez. I’m surprised it hasn’t been reviewed yet. You will want to own this CD if you are a Ravel fan:

“Sheherazade” dates from 1903, early in Ravel’s career, when he was just 28. It is a piece that has evoked a wide variety of interpretations, many of them brilliant. If you like this work, I urge you to hear the great, propulsive rendition by Janet Baker and Thomas Barbirolli (EMI) and the beautiful more measured approach by Regine Crespin and Ernest Ansermet (Decca) for two other approaches. As one would expect from his other performances, Boulez presents a precise, clear and technically note-perfect interpretation. The soloist, Heather Harper, is terrific. The result for me is powerful emotionally and tonally luscious and compares with the two 1960s interpretations I praise above. The disc is worth it just for “Sheherazade”.

Also outstanding is the recording of the 1913 “Trois Poemes de Stephen Mallarme” with Jill Gomez as soloist. The Mallarme poems mark what I think is Ravel’s deepest dive in musical avant-gardism and takes repeated listenings to understand. It is almost atonal and has sparse, precious textures. As good as Harper is technically in “Sheherazade,” Jill Gomez is perhaps even better in this set of songs. She has a beautiful, rich voice and hits every one with confidence and clarity. (I like this interpretation a bit better than the very good performance by Dawn Upshaw in “The Girl with the Orange Lips.”) The “Chansons madecasses” (1926 ) with Jessye Norman takes a mysterious, evocative approach to this modernist set of three songs tapping into Malagasy culture. The older Jan De Gaetani performance sets up the singer in front of the small chamber ensemble while Norman seems to be located inside of the instrumental grouping, making for a more ensemble-oriented approach. This is not my favorite Ravel piece but I actually prefer the Norman/Boulez interpretation – which is more somber and sultry — to the fine De Gaetani version, so this is another plus for the disc.

Ravel experienced a tragic car accident in 1931, which cut short his career and eventually his life. His final completed work is the short “Don Quixote a Dulcinee”, a Spanish-themed set of three songs finished post-accident in 1933. I very much enjoy this work and the famous Jose Van Dam is excellent, singing with precision and the right blend of tragicomedy. Van Dam is less successful in an arrangement of Greek Popular Songs, where he is uncharacteristically sometimes off pitch while at other times his voice is raw.

Recorded sonics are audiophile quality, for another plus. Highly recommended.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply