add to wish list | library

15 of 15 recommend this,
would you recommend it?

yes | no

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below. As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.

Discussion: Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé, Boléro, Pavane - Gergiev

Posts: 15
Page: 1 2 next

Post by Vaan October 20, 2010 (1 of 15)
Terrific performances! Sensual and exciting performance of Daphnis and a Pavane that is almost heartbreaking. The sound is spectacular with an enormous dynamic range.

Post by diw October 20, 2010 (2 of 15)
Vaan said:

The sound is spectacular

Somehow, I doubt it.

Post by flyingdutchman October 20, 2010 (3 of 15)
diw said:

Somehow, I doubt it.

Me too. For some reason, the cover picture just doesn't make me think that the sound will be very good. Just doesn't go with the thematic material of the music.

Post by krisjan October 20, 2010 (4 of 15)
FD - you are a Master baiter...

Post by Castor October 21, 2010 (5 of 15)
Vaan said:

Terrific performances! Sensual and exciting performance of Daphnis and a Pavane that is almost heartbreaking. The sound is spectacular with an enormous dynamic range.

A friend of mine who has already received this SACD describes it in exactly the same terms as you have. He also said that 'Bolero' was the the best he had ever heard. Can't wait to hear it.

Post by diw October 21, 2010 (6 of 15)
Based on prior LSO recordings, I have no doubt that the dynamic range is there, like it was in the Shostakovich 11. But overall I am not satisfied with the LSO recordings, and it's not just because of the acoustic of the Barbican.

Post by sunnydaler October 21, 2010 (7 of 15)
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Valery Gergiev shimmying his way through Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe. There he was, London’s loosest-limbed maestro, back on the Barbican podium (just about) with the London Symphony Orchestra, after a summer flogging his chaotic Ring Cycle around the globe, returning to more favourable ground, an all-French programme of Debussy, Dutilleux and Ravel that had his dancing juices flowing and his legs a-leaping. Certainly, there’s no gainsaying his moves. The question is were they being put to good musical effect?
Whenever the moment took him, the answer was surely, yes. As his flickering hands turned to liquid and his arms began impatiently to swing, those climactic waves of sound in Daphnis would surge up with unique urgency, breaking with a jerky bang of the head. The result was a visceral punch.
These ruptures were of the modern, not the natural, world: skids, collisions and body blows of a forceful, relentless, machine-derived character. There was a brutality to the way the choir burst in with their consonantless calls in the finale, an acidity to the clarinet figures and a forbidding lack of swing in the timpani and snare drum pulsations. Were these the orgiastic sounds of love or war? A sympathetic thought went out to Mrs Gergiev at this point.
There were similar inconsistencies in Daphnis – which like La mer suffered from being overloud and harsh-sounding at times (detail coagulating) – with passages that compelled and those that lacked focus; yet there was a feel of narrative, the score’s mystery sensitively touched-in and Gergiev directing with impulse and a sense of choreography. Surprisingly for such an august group, the London Symphony Chorus’s pitch was a bit suspect in a cappella passages, but there was no lack of abandon in the final dance, taken at breakneck speed – fine for an orgy if less satisfying for clarity and appreciating Ravel’s watchmaker’s notation. Most memorable was the ‘Daybreak’ sequence, gloriously spacious, raptly played, and genuinely emotional, with Gareth Davies then seducing us with a wonderful flute solo.
Framing the concert were two contrasted works by Ravel. Gergiev seemed to take the meaning of Pavane pour une infante défunte in strictly funereal terms given the overall torpor of this account, and from which the greater expressive animation of the central section offered only minimal relief. If expression does yield to technique in Boléro, then its unremitting logic and strategic interplay of melody and accompaniment are their own, enduring fascination. This performance did not wholly avoid the pitfall of speeding up (however incrementally) as it got louder, but its precision and poise were undoubted – Gergiev clearly having set the parameters within which it evolved then letting the LSO do the rest. The outcome, if lacking the remorselessness the composer brought to his flawed yet fabulous recording, was true to the work's essence and also guaranteed to bring the house down.
Ravel's complete ballet score for Daphnis and Chloé brought out the dancer in Gergiev; though things slackened slightly towards the middle, when the London Symphony Chorus made a brave go at the chromatic twists of their long, unaccompanied passage.
Relaxed is not quite how I would describe their performance of the complete Daphnis and Chloé, with the London Symphony Chorus' forward, rather unblended sound becoming brittle and unyielding to the lush orchestral surroundings. Some conductors tend to recess the choral writing apologetically, turning Ravel's tribal, earthy, spooky atmosphere into an annoying hum. Much as I applaud any conductor who brings the chorus out as much as this, it was symptomatic of a performance that never put the brake on. Dynamics were even more extreme than in La Mer, yet had no build up. This was no languid, erotic courtship but a forceful proposition. The playing was Brilliant in both senses, dazzling colours from the woodwind, the shimmering and twittering brooklets and birds given full technicolour. This vividness is welcome in at a time when Ravel seems to be interpreted more blandly and cleanly, as if in fear of turning this fabulous score into mere programme music. A bit more dirtiness from the playing would have given the music a bit of mystery and warmth.
Ravel opened and closed the programme. Both works demonstrated the limitations of Gergiev's batonless, air-massaging technique. An uncoordinated first bar entry was the first of several to mar his funereally-paced Pavane pour une infante défunte. And Gergiev's psychic powers alone weren't enough to maintain a flowing upward dynamic in the closing Boléro. Instead the LSO lurched unguided from one volume setting to the next, with overpowering saxophone solos striking an unduly brash note. It was all a bit of an unholy mess by the end, winning out only with the sheer exuberance of the playing.
Ravel's Pavane pour une infante défunte made for a disappointing start. Saccharine sweet, the piece plodded along at an achingly slow tempo. The orchestra played well enough, but there was not enough of a stately, measured pace to dispel thoughts of Ravel's quip that it was the infanta who had died, not the music. Gergiev and the LSO were on better form with Ravel's Boléro, which ended the concert. Neil Percy was a little quiet at first with the incessant snare drum rhythm, but the pace quickly picked up to hypnotic effect, with Gergiev allowing the players their own quirky take on the famous repeated melody.

Post by nydo October 21, 2010 (8 of 15)
After reading those reviews, what I really would like to see released would be the Dutilleux Concerto with Kavakos; one of my favorite violin players playing a very beautiful concerto that hasn't been recorded much (I do own the RCO live version, which is quite good).

Post by hiredfox October 21, 2010 (9 of 15)
flyingdutchman said:

Me too. For some reason, the cover picture just doesn't make me think that the sound will be very good. Just doesn't go with the thematic material of the music.

It's a reference to Bolero. The artwork of LSO Live has always been dubious to say the least. Readers may recall the homo-erotic themes of the Beethoven Symphonies.. what on earth that was all about and had to do with those classical symphonies defeats me. Ludwig would have turned in his grave.

Post by Vaan October 21, 2010 (10 of 15)
Leave it hiredfox. It was just another of dutchies brainless stabs at me.

Page: 1 2 next