Du­parc • Ravel

BBC Music Magazine - - Orchestral -

Ravel: Daph­nis et Chloé – Suite

No. 2; Valses nobles et sen­ti­men­tales; Du­parc: L’in­vi­ta­tion au voy­age; Au pays ou se fait la guerre; Chan­son triste; Phidylé; Aux Etoiles

Mag­dalena Ko ená; Deutsches Sym­phonie-or­ch­ester Berlin/

Robin Tic­ciati

Linn CKD 610 61:29 mins

Cou­pling wellloved Ravel with a late-19th cen­tury mas­ter of mélodie, Du­parc, seems in­spired. The trou­bled lat­ero­man­tic sen­si­bil­ity of ‘In­vi­ta­tion au Voy­age’ is par­tic­u­larly telling af­ter the fresh and emo­tion­ally un­com­pli­cated world of Daph­nis et Chloé with which this al­bum opens. In that suite, Robin Tic­ciati and his orches­tra bring out Ravel’s colours with pre­ci­sion and vi­brancy in a far from rou­tine per­for­mance. I wish some­times, though, that Tic­ciati would trust the mu­sic to make its own point. For in­stance, his slight ri­tar­dando be­fore reach­ing the crest of the first crescendo in Ravel’s rav­ish­ing dawn se­quence is lovely and ap­pro­pri­ate, but do­ing this again just be­fore the sud­den change to mi­nor at the strings’ re­peat of that melody rather spoils that sur­prise (isn’t the weight of the brass here enough em­pha­sis?).

Sim­i­larly, in Du­parc’s ‘Au pays où se fait la guerre’, the ex­ag­ger­at­edly pinched tone of the muted horns turns a moment of ap­pre­hen­sion into, in­ap­pro­pri­ately, one of hor­ror; more emo­tional en­gage­ment from Mag­dalena Ko ená be­fore that point, tonally beau­ti­ful though her singing is, might have mit­i­gated that im­pres­sion. The very clar­ity of the recorded sound, too, does not help: in­deed, the record­ing’s all-too­pre­cise spa­tial de­tail in the long flute ‘solo’ of Daph­nis en­ables one to hear ex­actly when the pic­colo takes over from the f lute.

Least suc­cess­ful is Valses nobles et sen­ti­men­tales, where Tic­ciati’s per­for­mance ap­pears both de­lib­er­ately heart­less (mis­un­der­stand­ing, per­haps,

Ravel’s self-con­fessed ‘ar­ti­fi­cial­ity’) and dis­tract­ingly metic­u­lous. It seems sig­nif­i­cant that Boulez’s two recorded ac­counts, in con­trast, are far more be­guil­ing. Daniel Jaffé PER­FOR­MANCE RECORD­ING

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