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Debussy: Iberia; Ravel: Alborada Del Gracioso, Rapsodie Espagnole / Celibidache


Release Date: 06/28/2010 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 453196  
Composer:  Claude DebussyMaurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

I was surprised to see this set upon its arrival, since I gave Celibidache's EMI Tchaikovsky symphonies such a rude reception (21:6). I had speculated in that review, however, that the maestro's concern with texture over tempo might work for Debussy, so . . . voilà. In order to give these performances a fair audition, I dispensed with any preparatory listening for comparison, and concentrated on hearing the music in Celibidache's context alone. Though neither notes nor packaging specify, these are obviously live recordings, from February 1973 (Alborada) to November 1980 (Nocturnes), made mostly in Stuttgart.

...Iberia, snaps to attention with a bang, but it is the orchestral detailing that is remarkable: Every little
Read more nuance of the faux-Hispanic orchestration is captured; the production, also from 1980, is back on form too. I haven't been a fan of this piece generally, but Celibidache's way with the music is irresistible. Under his guidance it becomes more than just an essay in daydreaming of exotic, half-imagined landscapes. The "perfumes of the night" entice with wicked glissandos and languid wind melodies; the day arrives with almost Ivesian anticipation. The sprightly rhythm (of "Le matin") and cocky clarinet (and later, trumpet) put paid to any concern about tempo.

A very different kind of Spanish adventure awaits the listener to the first Ravel piece, the Alborada. Though this is the earliest of these recordings, the sound is among the best. Perhaps because this is "early-late" Celibidache, the energy level is high, while the contrast to Debussy couldn't be more obvious: Ravel's primary-colored canvas is ebulliently rendered. The more languid opening of the Rapsodie finds the conductor in ruminative mood again, and here his Ravel is closer to his Debussy. But where the Debussy seems deeper, this just seems lazier—not necessarily a criticism, since Ravel seems more interested in tone-painting than in philosophizing in this piece. The drunken exuberance of the Malaguena, and its rhythmic complexity, are dispatched with aplomb. The sensuous Habanera benefits from some wonderfully evocative and idiomatic-sounding work by the Stuttgart orchestra. The spirited Feria brings the program to a rousing conclusion.

...I was much more impressed with these performances than I dared to hope. Rather than tolerating eccentric tempos and enduring enervating performances, I found myself increasingly engrossed by this program. Devotees of this conductor, and the rest of us, will find much to treasure here.

-- Christopher Abbot, FANFARE [11/2000]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Images for Orchestra: no 2, Ibéria by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1908; France 
2.
Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
3.
Rapsodie espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Sergiu Celibidache
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; France 

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