WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Debussy: La Mer; Ravel: La Valse; Dutilleux: L'arbre Des Songes

Release Date: 05/13/2008 
Label:  Rco Live   Catalog #: 8001   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Claude DebussyHenri DutilleuxMaurice RavelUnknown
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 1 Hours 4 Mins. 

Back Order: Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks.  
On sale! $25.97
SuperAudio CD:  $20.99
Back Order

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


DEBUSSY La mer. DUTILLEUX Violin Concerto, “ L’arbre des songes.” 1 RAVEL La valse Mariss Jansons, cond; Dmitry Sitkovetsky (vn); Royal Concertgebouw O Read more class="BULLET12b">• RCO LIVE 8001 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 64:27) Live: Amsterdam 2/1,2,4/2007; 6/7,8/2007 1

Mariss Jansons, a pupil of Hans Swarovski and Herbert von Karajan, one of the finest of the new breed of objectivist conductors, is clearly at his best in this compilation of live performances from February and June 2007. Indeed, this La mer is so good that I can compare it favorably with my Toscanini and Haitink recordings, even though Jansons conducts it more slowly than do either of them. For those who have access to a multichannel CD player, I’m certain that the sound quality will bowl you over. Even played on my conventional CD player, the spread between channels and moving the microphone sound from one channel to the other is simply spectacular. The final decrescendo in the first movement literally melts into nothingness. The minutiae of his orchestral detailing in “Jeux de vagues” are astounding, though accomplished, as I said, at a slower pace than Haitink (a full minute, in fact). But don’t let the slower tempo mislead you. There is nothing at all slack in Jansons’s interpretation.

Of the three works presented here, I was least familiar with Henri Dutilleux’s “L’arbre des songes,” but what music this is: powerful, mystical, startlingly modern even by our standards today. (Well, okay, it was written at the end of his life in 1985, but apparently his style was much the same in the 1930s.) Though ostensibly a violin concerto, the solo part is fully integrated into the overall orchestral structure, which—though organic—does not develop in the traditional sense, but uses motifs as a basis for a series of developments, ideas often juxtaposed with one another rather than being combined smoothly. In the second movement, Interlude, the clarinet seems equal in importance to the violin, and in fact at this point the introduction of chimes, antique cymbals, vibraphone, piano/celesta, harp, and cimbalom becomes increasingly important and gives the entire piece a ringing quality. I was so entranced by this music that I could scarcely analyze it as it was playing; it just grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go. Soloist Sitkovetsky’s energetic, rough-hewn playing suited the work’s primal energy extremely well, but one will not hear consistently polished smoothness such as one hears from Olivier Charlier in the premiere recording of this work (Chandos) or Isaac Stern (Sony). Yet somehow I find that Sitkovetsky’s edginess suits the work nearly as well. Your choice will be based on personal preference, however.

This performance of La valse, like the one I reviewed elsewhere by Sir Simon Rattle, takes the position that the waltz is already in a state of flux at the very opening of the work, which de-emphasizes a natural waltz rhythm in favor of a more sluggish, stilted feel. I personally feel this interpretation is wrong, but that’s just me. Like Rattle, Jansons emphasizes the work’s dramatic outbursts with considerable élan, pulling the broken pieces of the waltz to a rousing conclusion. Overall, this is one of those true rarities, a wedding of superb interpretation with blockbuster sound, and thus a good buy.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Read less

Works on This Recording

La mer by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin)
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1905; France 
Length: 25 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Concerto for Violin "L'arbre des songes" by Henri Dutilleux
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin)
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1985; France 
Length: 25 Minutes 20 Secs. 
La valse by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Dmitri Sitkovetsky (Violin)
Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
Length: 12 Minutes 26 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title