The French con­nec­tion

Roger Ni­chols is im­pressed by su­perb Rat­tle and LSO per­for­mances

BBC Music Magazine - - REVIEWS -

RAVEL• DELAGE • DU­TILLEUX

Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin; Daph­nis et Chloé – Suite No. 2; Du­tilleux: L’ar­bre des songes; Métaboles;

Delage: Qu­a­tre poèmes hin­dous Ju­lia Bul­lock (so­prano), Leonidas Kavakos (vi­o­lin); Lon­don Sym­phony Orches­tra/simon Rat­tle LSO Live LSO3038 96 mins (2 discs) How good to know that Rat­tle will be con­duct­ing con­certs like this for the fore­see­able fu­ture, and if the au­di­ence’s fi­nal ac­cla­ma­tion didn’t ac­tu­ally raise the roof, it was surely not for want of try­ing.

My only cavil is that the box bears the name Ravel in large cap­i­tals, whereas the con­cert in January 2016 formed part of the in­ter­na­tional cel­e­bra­tions of Henri Du­tilleux’s cen­te­nary – not that he would have sup­ported or even con­doned my com­plaint: as Simon Rat­tle says in a most mov­ing in­ter­view, it’s Ravel rather than De­bussy that lies be­hind Du­tilleux’s richly glit­ter­ing orches­tral sound. Not the least factor in the ob­vi­ous rap­port be­tween Rat­tle and the LSO is that a num­ber of the play­ers were with him years ago in the Na­tional Youth Orches­tra, go to the pub with him and have chil­dren who also play for him. In see­ing as well as hear­ing this con­cert, what comes over is Rat­tle’s love for the mu­sic and the orches­tra’s whole­hearted re­sponse: it all looks so ter­ri­bly easy, though of course it’s any­thing but.

Which is not to say that drama and ten­sion are down­played. Even in Le tombeau de Couperin, which can in un­feel­ing hands be thrown off as merely a piece of neo-clas­si­cal bric-à-brac, Rat­tle ex­plores its mys­te­ri­ous cor­ners with the soft­est, most ethe­real sounds from the string sec­tion. The French first oboist suc­ceeds com­pletely in his aim, as stated in his own in­ter­view, to for­get that his part is a reg­u­lar com­po­nent of oboe com­pe­ti­tions: his tone and elo­quent phras­ing will stay with me for a long time. Add mes­meris­ing per­for­mances of the two Du­tilleux works and the Daph­nis Sec­ond Suite and a sen­si­tive one of the Delage songs, and this record­ing is an out­right win­ner.

Rat­tle ex­plores the mys­te­ri­ous cor­ners of Le tombeau de Couperin

mes­meris­ing ac­counts: the LSO re­flects Simon Rat­tle’s love for French mu­sic

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