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Ravel: Rapsodie Espagnole / Mother Goose / Alborada Del Gracioso / Daphnis et Chloe, Suite No. 2 Original recording remastered

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Jean Martinon
  • Composer: Maurice Ravel
  • Audio CD (June 6, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: RCA Red Seal
  • Run Time: 64 minutes
  • ASIN: B00004TCPS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,986 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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By Doug - Haydn Fan VINE VOICE on July 2, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For years I used to amaze friends with a cheap little used RCA Victrola - one of those hopelessly flexible records you could bend in several different directions at once that came out at the very nadir of domestic record production. The record: Martinon leading the Chicago Symphony in Ravel. Reiner fans who stood by their man in his earlier RCA run through of the "Rhapsodie Espagnole" were shaken to the core when they heard this version. "My Goodness!" I remember one devout Reiner believer softy exclaiming.

Well, now, or at least, back in the millenium year 2000, RCA reissued these recordings, and we again can hear these same stunning performances of Ravel played by the extraordinary Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Martinon on CD. And what a CD! For some inexplicable amd wonderful reason, perhaps for no other reason than because they could, some one at RCA decided they would make a few classical CDs so good they would blow anything else on the CD front out of the water. Whether or not you agree with the quality of many of the performances chosen for this series, labeled "High Performance", the sonic results are rather astonishing. When coupled with superb playing the results are nirvana.

And never more so than in these to-die-for Martinon readings of Ravel. I heard Martinon several times, and frankly he could be rather boring if the orchestra lacked any particular special quality. In San Francisco his Roussel and Ravel disappointed. However, in Chicago, well, there things were very much 'a horse of a different color'. In person leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he was far more exciting than he'd sounded at the War Memiorial Opera House with the San Francisco Symphony. In Chicago he could galvanize an audience with his intensity.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD should be in any collection of fans of the CSO, Ravel, and Jean Martinon. First, this CD has rare and distinctive qualities. It is one of the few CSO recordings available with Jean Martinon as the conductor. The recorded sound of this CD is among the best I have heard of the CSO (after many years of sampling recordings in the CSO store). The "High Performance" designation BMG gave this CD is not a gimmick; the most discerning and critical listener will find the recording quality of the highest category. The "Introduction and Allegro" is a sadly under-performed and under-recorded piece, which I find among the most interesting and alluring pieces ever composed by Ravel. The only regret one will have after listening to this CD is that there were not many more RCA/CSO/Martinon recordings. The rare traits of this CD leave the listener wanting more, thus ensuring that the listener will reach for this CD over and over again as a favorite. Collectors with many recordings of these works needn't hesitate.
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Format: Audio CD
These are warm hearted performances, full of nuance and sensitivity of expression, and beautifully played. Furthermore, the recorded sound is both very full bodied and detailed. I disagree with the previous reviewer who asserts that these performances are not properly French sounding compared with Martinon's later EMI recordings with the Orchestra de Paris (as to which, for what it is worth, Martinon said that he preferred his EMI Debussy recordings with the Orchestral National de France). Although I have not heard those performances, I don't think that Ravel's orchestral works fall flat unless they are played with somewhat nasal sounding brass and winds (i.e. the French sound). Instead, Martinon provides idiomatic phrasing combined with a virtuosity and beauty of orchestral sound beyond the capabilities of French orchestras of the time. Definitely one of the finest collections of his orchestral music.
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Spectacular! Now this is what I've searched for in CD-made discs.I owned "Daphnis et Chloe Suite No 2" by Ravel and "Bacchus et Ariadne" by Roussel on an RCA disc. I bought FOUR copies of the LP, and continued to play them over and over. They were with Jean Martinon conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Such a shimmering performance of both. This got me interested in more Jean Martinon, as he was especially fine in French music. I think this is the only one with Martinon and Chicago.
Ravel was a dull man. He wanted to help other musicians in the First World War, so he drove an ambulance. He didn't achieve what he wanted with the everyday adventures. But "Daphnis et Chloe Suite No.2" is probably the most delicious perfomance I have ever heard. It show that Ravel may have been dull, but his orchestrations and compositions are simply awesome. I also love Ravel in other works, but this recording is the best.
"Mother Goose Suite" is delightful. "Alborada del Gracioso" dazzles the Spanish idiom, and "Introduction and Allegro" are all fine performances.
This is such an excellent album to buy, if you don't need another recording of ""Bolero"!
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Jean Martinon's tenure at Chicago was made difficult by the pathological efforts of the Chicago Tribune's art critic Claudia Cassidy. Martinon was by no means her only victim; she made life hard for Rafael Kubelik and Fritz Reiner, too. Martinon's repertoire was more adventurous than predecessor Reiner's had been (perhaps that was Cassidy's problem; maybe she only wanted to hear Easy Listening crap) and his performances belied the blindsides by "Acidy Cassidy."

Here, though, Martinon is with his familiar French repertoire (he had come from the Paris Conservatory Orchestra), and a splendid job of it he does! These are interpretations by a master at the baton and an orchestra that was at its peak, arguably the best in America at the time. Highly recommended if you can find a copy (it is out of print)
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