ROUSSEL: Bacchus and Ariadne Suite No. 2; RAVEL: Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2 – Chicago Sym. Orch./ Jean Martinon (1965) – RCA Victor/ HDTT DVD-A

by | Jan 23, 2014 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

ROUSSEL: Bacchus and Ariadne Suite No. 2; RAVEL: Daphnis and Chloe Suite No. 2 – Chicago Sym. Orch./ Jean Martinon (1965) – RCA Victor/ High Definition Tape 192K/24-bit DVD-Audio DVD-R HDDVDA3, 36:35 ****:

These excellent transfers come from an RCA Victor prerecorded tape of a session engineered by Bernard Keville in Chicago’s Symphony Hall in 1965 are available on standard CD, 96K DVD or on 192K DVD-A.  Robert Witrak of HDTT employs the now-rare DVD-Audio format because it is the easiest way to get 192K resolution on an optical disc, but unless you are very young with the highest-end audio gear, you will probably find the 96K/24 DVD-R version just as excellent resolution. Also, you must have a universal playback deck in order to play the DVD-A version. and most DVD decks will play the 96K version. He uses the most premium hardware and software in making the conversions from the original tapes or vinyl, so in this case there is not a hint of hiss, noise or flutter and wow.

Each of the two complete ballets from which the suites were taken have a similar boy-gets-girl scenario and take place in ancient mythological Greece. Another connection here is that both French composers created two orchestral suites out of the music of their complete ballets, and the second of the two in each case became the most popular and most heard. Both suites are share a big finish with blazing orchestral color abounding. In the case of the Roussel work it is the virtuosic bacchanal near the end of the suite, and in the Ravel it is the longest of its three movements—the “General Dance”—with a glorious conclusion to the work. (I once chose the opening section, in which the dawn breaks with the sounds of birds, as the sign-on music for a classical radio station I managed in San Francisco.)

Kudos to Robert Witrak for putting a pause between the two suites on this transfer. However, there are no notes at all on the various movements or timings of the two suites or movements and no margins around the useful program notes in the printed booklet. I researched that information for this review.


ROUSSEL Suite (19:18):
Prelude – Le sommeil d’Ariane (Ariadne’s sleep)  
Reveil d’Ariane (Ariadne’s Awakening)      
Elle tombe dans les bras de Bacchus qui a surgi derriere la crete du roc (She falls into the arms of Bacchus, who has appeared suddenly) Bacchus danse seul (Bacchus dances alone)
Le baiser (The kiss)
L’enchantement dionysiaque (The Dionysian spell)
Le thiase defile (The Bacchic procession of revellers forms)  Danse d’Ariane (Dance of Ariadne)
Danse d’Ariane et Bacchus (Dance of Ariadne and Bacchus)  Bacchanale
Le couronnement d’Ariane (The coronation of Ariadne)

RAVEL Suite (17:16):
Lever du jour

Danse générale

—John Sunier

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