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Ravel: La Valse, Boléro, Etc / Dohnányi, Cleveland Orchestra


Release Date: 02/07/1995 
Label:  Teldec   Catalog #: 97439   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 50 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

''Swirling storm clouds part and... couples are seen dancing'' (Ravel on La valse). In Cleveland, though, the couples don't emerge from the mists, they loom out of the darkness. The modest reverberation of the these discs' recording locations (Severance Hall and Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland) guarantees no trace of mist between you and the marvels of Ravel's orchestration, and prompts the assertion (probably dubious) that Dohnanyi's La valse aligns itself with the so-called expressionist school, rather than the so-called impressionist one. In the latter camp one could cite Karajan (mid-price EMI) or the new Jarvi (Chandos), whose acoustic settings also encourage a more opulent Rosenkavalier-like assault on the eardrums in the tuttis. Read more Returning to the opening of Dohnanyi's La valse, his clear string glissandos and clarinet arpeggios certainly weave their own macabre spell. And it's a performance that really does dance; heard after Dohnanyi, Karajan's couples are often doomed to a ballroom floor covered in treacle. Dohnanyi, too, seems instinctively to feel the Viennese waltz idiom—slowing or hesitating before the bar line at the end of phrases—though he's less elastic than some. And watch out for his devastating brass salvoes in the final collisions. Indeed, such is the precision and control here that he even manages the concluding accelerando—that's quite a rarity.

''Daybreak'' from Dohnanyi's Daphnis Suite No. 2 again brings superfine control of both texture and dynamics, and the chorus is a bonus (it's normally omitted in recordings of the suite) though their first entry (at 2'33'') could be kindly described as subliminal (admittedly, they are marked ''behind the scene''). A quite lovely stillness informs the events of the ''Pantomime'' with a refined espressivo from the strings (discreet slides, not a hint of schmaltz). Their style of playing here hasn't changed greatly since Szell's days (CBS), but the flexibility in the flute solo episode now sounds far less calculated, the precision in the ''Danse generale'' less mechanical.

To Spain and a diamond cut, very lively Alborada; just listen to the character the Cleveland cellist invests in his single bar of solo (at 6'28''), almost a lament shrugged off with a swift upwards slide, and the space that Dohnanyi allows the point to be made. A tiny but significant example of imaginative attention to detail....

We don't hear this great orchestra playing Ravel very often on disc. Recent reissues have reminded us of the hard, two-dimensional scrutiny that CBS afforded the few recordings from Szell and Boulez, so to hear Cleveland's Ravel with a realistic dynamic range, reasonable depth and great tonal purity is a rare pleasure.

-- John Steane, Gramophone [4/1992]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Boléro by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Date of Recording: 10/1989 
Venue:  Masonic Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 14 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
La valse by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1991 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 12 Minutes 16 Secs. 
3.
Miroirs: Alborada del gracioso by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1991 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 7 Minutes 27 Secs. 
4.
Daphnis et Chloé Suite no 2 by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; France 
Date of Recording: 05/1991 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 16 Minutes 13 Secs. 

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