Tour de France Musicale = RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2, The Valley of the Bells, Boléro; FAURE: Pelléas et Mélisande Suite; DEBUSSY: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun – Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Amsterdam/Yakov Kreizberg – PentaTone

by | Sep 30, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Tour de France Musicale = RAVEL: Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2,
The Valley of the Bells, Boléro;  FAURE: Pelléas et Mélisande
Suite; DEBUSSY: Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun – Netherlands
Philharmonic Orchestra, Amsterdam/Yakov Kreizberg – PentaTone
multichannel SACD PTC 5186 058 ****:

A sort of French pops concert by the largest orchestral organization to
be found in music-rich Amsterdam.  The Netherlands Philharmonic is
also known for the wide span of repertory they can handle. (They are
responsible for the supercharged SACD of Wagner Preludes and Overtures,
also on PentaTone under the baton of Maestro Kreizberg.) While it’s
only one suite with three sections from the complete ballet, the
Daphnis suite begins with my favorite passage in all of Ravel – the
Daybreak section. (I used it as the morning sign-on theme for a
classical FM station I once ran.)

The Valley of Bells was inspired by Ravel’s visit to the 1889 Paris
World Exposition and his hearing a Balinese gamelan orchestra for the
first time. Both of the chestnuts here – the Afternoon of a Faun and
the Boléro – take on a fresh and more involving quality due to not only
the superb playing but the fine 5.0 channel surround reproduction.
Somehow that “tres long crescendo” of Bolero becomes less
nerve-wracking and more inevitable. I don’t know if all 130 members of
the Philharmonic are actually playing on this recording date, but the
sound is rich and full and percussion section is certainly not reduced.

– John Sunier

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