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Cat. No. CHAN 10251(4) X Price: £16.8 No. of discs: 4
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CHAN 10251 - Ravel: Orchestral Works
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Available From: 06 September 2004
Where Ravel’s contemporary and fellow French impressionist Debussy pushed back the boundaries of form and tonality, Ravel cultivated a contemporary style which embraced classicism. He was fascinated by the great Lisztian pianistic tradition (as is demonstrated in Gaspard de la nuit) and drawn towards the purity of eighteenth-century composers such as Rameau (as in Pavane pour une infante défunte). In fact, Ravel’s music displays a variety of disparate influences, such as gypsy music, jazz, Spanish culture and the music of the Orient, bound together with brilliant wit and an unrivalled mastery of orchestral colour.

Ravel spent his childhood in Paris and even as a young man developed an unconventional personal style. His progressiveness offended his elders, but that did not stop him writing, while still in his twenties, some of his greatest works, including the Rapsodie espagnole and Daphnis et Chloé. With the outbreak of World War I he tried to enter the services, but he was too short and underweight, so he became an ambulance driver .The beautiful Le Tombeau de Couperin was written as a tribute to the dead. He was released from his duties in 1916 after a total physical collapse. After the death of Debussy in 1918 Ravel was fêted as France’s greatest composer, but his output was diminishing. The last two decades produced fine works such as Tzigane and the Bolero but most of his time he spent tampering with earlier compositions. In 1937

he was struck by a virulent brain disease and died in December of that year during an operation to remove a tumour.

…for those who above all simply wish to luxuriate in some of the most spellbinding scores in existence,Torteliers set could well prove to be the most rewarding of all… serious fans will prefer Tortelier.
Classic CD

How you feel about this compilation may come down to where you place Ravel as an impressionist. In Tortelier’s hands, he is more of a neoclassical modernist than a blending shimmering impressionist, Sometimes he’s even a romantic. Tortelier’s approach is direct, with clear textures and clearly defined solos and choirs. Tempos are on the fast side, and the lively rhythms are solid and sometimes to the front of the beat in a way that really keeps the music moving. Articulations and note shapes are consistent and even. The soundstage is large, with considerable weight and powerful climaxes (for Ravel).
American Record Guide

…What a glorious instrument the Ulster Orchestra is in Torteliers hands…
American Record Guide


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