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RAVEL: DAPH­NIS ET CHLOÉ Les Siè­cles/François-Xavier Roth ★★★★ Har­mo­nia Mundi HMM 905280

Pierre Mon­teux, who con­ducted the first per­for­mance of Ravel’s bal­let Daph­nis et Chloé in 1912, lived long enough to make a much-praised record­ing of the work in stereo with the Lon­don Sym­phony Or­ches­tra in 1959. François-Xavier Roth and Les Siè­cles can’t ri­val that kind of in­ter­pre­ta­tive pedi­gree – Mon­teux also con­ducted the first per­for­mances of Stravin­sky’s Petrushka and Rite of Spring and De­bussy’s Jeux. Roth of­fers in­stead a per­for­mance us­ing pe­riod in­stru­ments, with tim­bres that are sub­tly dif­fer­ent from those fa­mil­iar to­day. He feels that his or­ches­tra “tends more to­wards sweet­ness and in­tense sen­su­al­ity”. My own re­sponse would be to­wards fresh­ness and di­rect­ness. Ei­ther way, this is a fas­ci­nat­ingly dif­fer­ent take on Ravel’s lus­cious scores. MICHAEL DERVAN

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