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Ravel, Debussy / Pierre Boulez [6-CD Set]


Release Date: 05/08/2012 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001676802  
Composer:  Claude DebussyMaurice Ravel
Performer:  Franklin CohenAnne Sofie von OtterLisa WellbaumAlison Hagley,   ... 
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland OrchestraCleveland Orchestra ChorusBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

• Concertos, Valses: "Nigh perfect in every respect"-- The Penguin Guide

• Valses sentimentales: "wonderfully atmospheric, indeed magical, and in the concertos, the delicacy and finesse of Krystian Zuimerman's pianism is dazzling, his refinement of nuance and clarity of articulation a source of wonder"-- The Penguin Guide

• Images, Printemps, Prelude: "Much to admire in the sheer beauty and finesse of the orchestral playing" -- The Penguin Guide

• Scheherezade: "A ravishing disc, conducted with passion" -- Gramophone

• "In La mer, he is among the master magicians: subtleties of nuance and timing (previously in short supply) now abound;
Read more here is playing of a wholly different order of grace and beauty, not the kind that lingers in passages in danger of becoming too exquisite to bear, nor the kind that parades the score's exoticism. In the Spanish items, some may find the Berlin woodwinds too cultured in tone and artful in phrasing for their various improvisatory solos: it is rare to hear the first few minutes' solos in Bolero quite as strongly contoured as this....In the "Féria" from the Rapsodie and in the Alborada, as before, tempos remain slower than average (the "Habanera" is utterly hypnotic), strikingly so in the "Féria" which now, quite aptly, sounds as much like Chabrier as Ravel: festive as opposed to driven and explosive. -- Gramophone

Full Review:

There’s no questioning Boulez’s authority in this repertoire, but there is one really bad disc in this set, and it’s the only one featuring music by both composers. It contains Shéhérazade, Le Tombeau de Couperin, the Pavane for a Dead Princess, and the Minuet Antique by Ravel, and the two Danses for harp, Le Jet d’eau, and the Trois Ballades de François Villon by Debussy. Between Anne Sophie von Otter’s glacial delivery of the Ravel and Boulez’s listless, disengaged conducting everywhere, plus the lousy sonics, the result is truly terrible.

More’s the pity, because just about everything else is terrific. The Clevelanders delivered one of the supreme accounts of the Images with Boulez on Sony, and this remake (fine though it is) doesn’t quite equal that first version, but just about everywhere else, especially in La Mer and Jeux, the performances are just about as good as it gets. The Ravel orchestral works (including the complete Daphnis et Chloé) features some of the finest efforts to come out of Berlin in the decades following Karajan’s death. Not only is the playing heart-stoppingly beautiful, but it also has all of the power, glitz, and glitter that Ravel’s orchestration demands. Sample the ending of the complete Mother Goose ballet for a taste of some truly great Ravel.

Finally, we also get the two Ravel Piano concertos in generally impressive performances from Krystian Zimerman with the London Symphony and Cleveland Orchestras respectively. Certainly these versions make a stronger impression than Boulez’s recent remake of this music with Aimard, another pair of precise and technically adept, but detached and unimpressively recorded interpretations. Despite the inconsistencies, this set is still a good deal.

-- ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1991 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 8 Minutes 52 Secs. 
2. Images for Orchestra by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1991 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
3. Printemps by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1991 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 16 Minutes 43 Secs. 
4. Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra: no 1, Nuages by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1899; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 6 Minutes 15 Secs. 
5. Jeux by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 16 Minutes 3 Secs. 
6. La mer by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 23 Minutes 32 Secs. 
7. Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra: no 2, Fêtes by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: French Impressionist 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 6 Minutes 31 Secs. 
8. Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra: no 3, Sirènes by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1899; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 9 Minutes 40 Secs. 
9. Première Rhapsodie for Clarinet and Orchestra by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Franklin Cohen (Clarinet)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1991 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland 
Length: 8 Minutes 33 Secs. 
10. Shéhérazade by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Anne Sofie von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 17 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: French 
11. Le tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914-1917; orch. 191; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 17 Minutes 46 Secs. 
12. Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 6 Minutes 38 Secs. 
13. Menuet antique by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 7 Minutes 20 Secs. 
14. Danse sacrée et danse profane by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Lisa Wellbaum (Harp)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 10 Minutes 18 Secs. 
15. Poèmes (5) de Baudelaire: no 3, Le jet d'eau by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Alison Hagley (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1889; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: French 
16. Ballades (3) de François Villon by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Alison Hagley (Soprano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Date of Recording: 04/1999 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 10 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Language: French 
17. Boléro by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 14 Minutes 58 Secs. 
18. Ma mère l'oye by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 28 Minutes 3 Secs. 
19. Rapsodie espagnole by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 16 Minutes 39 Secs. 
20. Miroirs: Une barque sur l'océan by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 59 Secs. 
21. Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1993 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 7 Minutes 30 Secs. 
22. Daphnis et Chloé by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1994 
Venue:  Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 56 Minutes 50 Secs. 
23. La valse by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1994 
Venue:  Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 13 Minutes 43 Secs. 
24. Concerto for Piano in G major by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Krystian Zimerman (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1931; France 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 22 Minutes 4 Secs. 
25. Valses nobles et sentimentales by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
Date of Recording: 11/1994 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 24 Minutes 17 Secs. 
26. Concerto for Piano left hand in D major by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Krystian Zimerman (Piano)
Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1930; France 
Date of Recording: 07/1996 
Venue:  Main Hall, Colosseum, Watford, England 
Length: 18 Minutes 6 Secs. 

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