RAVEL: “Five O’Clock Foxtrot” = Five O’Clock Foxtrot; Boléro; Pavane for a Dead Princess; Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra; La Valse; Piece in the form of a Habanera; Daphnis and Chloé Suite 2 – Philharmonia Orchestra/Geoffrey Simon – Cala Records

by | Jun 6, 2007 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

RAVEL: “Five O’Clock Foxtrot” = Five O’Clock Foxtrot; Boléro; Pavane for a Dead Princess; Tzigane for Violin and Orchestra; La Valse; Piece in the form of a Habanera; Daphnis and Chloé Suite 2 – Philharmonia Orchestra/Geoffrey Simon/ Stephanie Chase, violin/ Han de Vries, oboe – Cala Multichannel SACD CACDS4027, 71:27 (Distr. by Forte) ****:

This is one of a series of SACDs from enterprising conductor Geoffrey Simon which might be viewed as standard “greatest hits” albums, but which are so well-selected and presented – as well as enthusiastically performed – that the series takes on a higher caliber of interest. The album’s title selection comes from Ravel’s enchanting one-act opera L’enfant et les sortileges, and is therein a jazz-inspired vocal conversation between a singing teapot and a cup.  The vocal parts have here been assigned to various instruments of the Philharmonia.

I would have to love this Ravel survey regardless since it includes my two favorite pieces by the composer – La valse and the music from Daphnis and Chloé.  The latter is performed with wonderfully intoxicating tone-painting – right up there with the very best of the recordings of the entire ballet. Simon’s inclusion of the exciting gypsy-influenced Tzigane breaks up the standard-orchestral bent of the program by featuring the violin, as does the later piece for oboe and orchestra. The 5.0 surround is of utmost clarity and immersive effect.  Never mind that I have all these pieces in other forms on disc – I expect to be listening to this collection frequently!

 – John Sunier

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