Conductor Robert Trevino’s new album release on Ondine – after a successful debut with a complete Beethoven symphony cycle – features six orchestral pieces by Maurice Ravel (1875–1937), one of the most famous Basque composers, played by the Basque National Orchestra. Born in a small town in France very close to the Spanish border, Ravel spent most of his life in Paris. However, he was extremely proud of his Basque background having absorbed himself to the culture already as a child, and many elements of Basque music can be found in his compositions. In this historic release, we can finally hear Ravel’s orchestral music being interpreted by Basque musicians in the form of the Basque National Orchestra. These performances on some of the most fantastic orchestral scores of the 20th Century also shed light to the Basque influences in Ravel’s music.
The Basque National Orchestra sounds marvelous under Trevino’s baton, and Trevino draws from them wonderfully idiomatic performances. Particularly in La Valse the orchestra and its conductor mine the danceable quality of the music — precisely what Ravel conceived it to be: a ballet celebrating the waltz as a celebration of life. Interestingly, Trevino gives the melancholy Pavane pour une infante défunte a reasonably moderate tempo, rather than that of a funeral dirge. Elsewhere in the CD the orchestra delivers fiery renditions of Alborada del Gracioso and Rapsodie espagnole both quintessentially Iberian works, rather than French music trying to be Spanish.
– Rafael's Music Notes (Rafael de Acha)