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Maurice Ravel: La Valse; Ma Mere L'oye; Tzigane; Bolero; Pavane

Ravel / Rizzi / Nikolic
Release Date: 01/29/2013 
Label:  Tacet   Catalog #: 207   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Gordan Nikolic
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



RAVEL La Valse. Mother Goose Suite . Tzigane. 1 Boléro. Pavane pour une infant défunte Carlo Rizzi, cond; Netherlands PO; 1 Gordan Nikoli? (vn) TACET 207 (62:57)


Collections of this sort are difficult to deal with if one wants to make some sort of decisive recommendation. The problem is not just the performance and Read more recording but also the contents. Witness this very well-performed and recorded collection, which consists of La Valse , the Mother Goose Suite, the Tzigane , the Boléro , and the Pavane . There was also the possibility of, instead, including, say, the complete Mother Goose , the Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2, the Rapsodie espagnole, Alborada del gracioso, Un Barque sur l‘océan, Le Tombeau de Couperin , the Shéhérazade Overture , the Fanfare from L’eventail de Jeanne , the Menuet antique , and the Valses nobles et sentimentales . There was also the possibility of using one of the piano concertos or pieces for voice and orchestra. Couplings…couplings…they are a plague if you are trying to avoid duplication. A case in point: Years ago, there was a Columbia LP that contained Eugene Ormandy’s Alborada del gracioso, Boléro , and Le Tombeau de Couperin . I disliked Ormandy’s Alborada and Boléro but I loved his Tombeau and still do, so I was stuck with a useless Alborada and Boléro . When that collection appeared on CD, it was made somewhat more appetizing by the inclusion of Ormandy’s Rapsodie espagnole and Charles Munch’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, but by that time I owned too many Rapsodie espagnoles and Valses nobles to be tempted


This collection, by the Netherlands Philharmonic under Carlo Rizzi merely complicates things further. Let me say at the outset that it compares with anyone’s Ravel CD and, perhaps, even creates a niche for itself through several slower-than-average tempos. I think the Mother Goose Suite blossoms under Rizzi’s leisurely caress; my only complaint is that he did not record the whole ballet score—there was room for it on the CD. Just for fun, I compared his La Valse with those of Abbado, Ansermet, Ashkenazy, Boulez, Martinon, and Mata, all of which I own (see what I mean about those couplings…and after hearing them all, I still couldn’t decide which ones to get rid of). Rizzi held his own. Martinon’s had more rhythmic flexibility and those of Abbado and Ashkenazy had even more spectacular orchestral detail but no one would go wrong with Rizzi’s La Valse . Ravel once described his Boléro as “17 minutes of noise without music.” Unhappily, most conductors, while enthusiastic about the noise, have paid less attention to the 17 minutes. I detest fast Boléro s and my favorite “modern” ones are by Muti and Munch (with the Orchestra of Paris) because they run just over Ravel’s suggested timing; he was known to scold conductors who took the piece fast. Serge Koussevitsky, after Ravel angrily described one of his performances as “a thousand times too fast,” cynically replied, “Really sir, hardly a thousand times.” Taking the piece at a deliberate pace emphasizes its sheer obsessiveness and minimizes its splashy vulgarity. Rizzi, while he falls short of 17 minutes brings the piece in at a respectable 16:33. If I remember correctly, both of René Leibowitz’s are reasonably slow. The Vox LP is long gone but his later Reader’s Digest recording with its Charles Gerhardt-produced sound, is still available on Chesky. It’s hard to mess up the Pavane for a Dead Princess and Rizzi’s is affectionate and beautifully played. I have never been an enthusiast for the Tzigane , a flashy violin piece in which Ravel seems to be channeling Sarasate—I don’t think it even becomes interesting until near the four-minute mark, when the orchestra finally joins the soloist. To give him his due, Gordan Nikoli?, seems unfazed by its pyrotechnics and occasionally even manages to suggest an element of playfulness. So there it is: another high quality all-Ravel collection that I have to retain because of its special qualities. Looking at the bright side, I only have one other recording of the Tzigane.


FANFARE: James Miller
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Works on This Recording

1.
La valse by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
Date of Recording: 03/2012-04/2012 
Venue:  Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam 
Length: 12 Minutes 24 Secs. 
2.
Ma mère l'oye by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 03/2012-04/2012 
Venue:  Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam 
Length: 17 Minutes 28 Secs. 
3.
Tzigane for Violin and Piano by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Gordan Nikolic (Violin)
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; France 
Date of Recording: 03/2012-04/2012 
Venue:  Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam 
Length: 9 Minutes 24 Secs. 
4.
Boléro by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Date of Recording: 03/2012-04/2012 
Venue:  Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam 
Length: 16 Minutes 43 Secs. 
5.
Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899; France 
Date of Recording: 03/2012-04/2012 
Venue:  Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam 
Length: 6 Minutes 25 Secs. 

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