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Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe / Myung-Whun Chung, L'Orchestre Philharmonique

Release Date: 09/12/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 4775706   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Orchestre PhilharmoniqueRadio France Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 55 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It has been a while since we've seen a new recording of Ravel's masterpiece, which isn't surprising. Despite its popularity and luscious orchestral sonority, Daphnis et Chloé poses formidable logistical and technical difficulties in both performance and recording (very large, virtuoso orchestra plus wordless chorus). All of the great French conductors, and many others besides, have left their stamp on the piece, starting with Pierre Monteux's stereo version for Decca and continuing with the likes of Ansermet, Martinon, Munch (twice), and Boulez (also twice).

Deutsche Grammophon has a full catalog of Daphnises, including Ozawa/Boston (excellent), Boulez/Berlin
Read more (outstanding), and Levine/Vienna (a dud). Despite the proliferation of orchestras, and small labels willing to record them, new releases tend to be rare, and that's a good thing. This isn't the sort of work you want to hear performed on the cheap by the Kazakhstan Philharmonic under flavor-of-the-month pretty boy conductor Nazgül Snezhek-Yéggun. Like a good chocolate truffle, if it isn't richly decadent and luxurious, it's just not worth the calories at any price.

This new recording certainly belongs among the great ones. It has everything: beautiful playing, gorgeous sonics, and a real feel for the ballet's magical atmosphere. Chung gauges all of Ravel's special effects--such as the wordless chorus, harp and string glissandos, tinkling percussion, and wind machine--to perfection, with unerring timing, ideal balances, and just plain good taste. His conducting has amazing fluidity, right from the very opening. The way he handles the transition from the first grand climax into the slightly more propulsive "Religious Dance" offers a lesson in how this music should move.

The first General Dance, Dorcon's Grotesque Danse, the final Bacchanal, and above all the War Dance, are all incredibly exciting. There's genuine terror in the apparition of Pan, and the ensuing sunrise is as evocative and rapturous as any on disc, but never static. Without slighting the music's symphonic credentials, Chung reminds us that this is, after all, a ballet, a theatrical play of color and rhythm that tells a story. It's his ability to preserve the work's sense of unfolding narrative, combined with the lithe and supple playing of the orchestra, that makes this performance so outstanding--and worth owning even if you think you've heard it all. [9/18/2006]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Myung-Whun Chung
Orchestra/Ensemble:  L'Orchestre Philharmonique,  Radio France Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 11/2004 
Venue:  Olivier Messiaen Hall, Radio France 
Length: 55 Minutes 25 Secs. 

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