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“The music of Maurice Ravel has a special place in my heart….I believe the creative output of this composer ranks with the very greatest of the musical world. He really did not produce that much music during his lifetime. However, what he left us is of such superb quality that it is almost impossible to find a weak opus within his catalogue.” – Leonard Slatkin

Naxos 8.572888
Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Orchestral Works, Volume 2

Orchestre National de Lyon • Leonard Slatkin

Valses nobles et sentimentales
Gaspard de la nuit (orch. Marius Constant)
Le tombeau de Couperin • La valse

Maurice Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales present a vivid mixture of atmospheric impressionism, intense expression and modernist wit, his fascination with the waltz further explored in La valse, a mysterious evocation of a vanished imperial epoch. Heard here in an orchestration by Marius Constant, Gaspard de la nuit is Ravel’s response to the other-worldly poems of Aloysius Bertrand, and the dance suite Le tombeau de Couperin is a tribute to friends who fell in the war of 1914-18 as well as a great 18th century musical forbear. ‘It is a delightful and assorted collection… presented in splendid performances by the Orchestre National de Lyon led by their music director, the venerable American conductor Leonard Slatkin.’ (Classical.net / Volume 1, 8.572887)




About the Artists


Leonard Slatkin
Orchestre National de Lyon
Volume 1 of this series of Ravel’s orchestral music (8.572887 and NBD0030) has proved an immediate hit and has been warmly received by the press. Gramophone admired Leonard Slatkin’s ‘affinity with [Ravel’s] particular world of sound’, and of the Orchestre National de Lyon, stated that ‘it augurs well as a companion to the orchestra’s Debussy set under Jun Märkl.’ The Blu-ray version provides a spectacular alternative to CD, ‘the orchestral colors… are beautifully realized by Slatkin and his forces, and well-preserved in either hi-res format’ (Audiophile Audition 5-star review).



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Naxos 8.572887
RAVEL, M.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1
Lyon National Orchestra • Leonard Slatkin

Ravel orchestrated his piano pieces Alborada del gracioso and Pavane pour une infante défunte to great effect; the former gains in suggestive colour, and the latter evokes nostalgic pathos. Another orchestrated work is the Menuet antique, which is redolent of old French dance forms. Rapsodie espagnole, Ravel’s first major orchestral work, shimmers with expectancy and bursts into Spanish dance rhythms, themes he pursued in Pièce en forme de habanera. His earliest orchestral work, the ‘fairy overture’ Shéhérazade, is all that remains of a planned opera based on The Thousand and One Nights. The famous Boléro, an ‘orchestrated crescendo’ of undimmed power, has proved one of the most popular works in all classical music.

Naxos 8.572886
BERLIOZ, H.: Symphonie fantastique / Le corsaire
Lyon National Orchestra • Leonard Slatkin

Immensely influential, the remarkable Symphonie fantastique was composed while Hector Berlioz was suffering an intense and unreciprocated passion for the Irish actress Harriet Smithson. Its autobiographical tale describes a young musician’s opium-poisoned nightmares of jealous despair and fatal justice following the murder of his beloved. Berlioz wrote a second movement cornet solo into a subsequent revision of the score, here included as an optional extra. He wed his sweetheart actress but, recuperating in Nice, wrote Le corsaire after the final break-up of their marriage.

Naxos 8.572568
DEBUSSY, C.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 (Markl) - La boite a joujoux / Estampes Nos. 1 and 2 / L'isle joyeuse / 6 Epigraphes antiques
Lyon National Orchestra • Jun Markl

Volume 5 of Naxos’s acclaimed series of Debussy’s orchestral music presents a potpourri of works that were either left incomplete by the composer or were orchestrated by others who greatly admired his music. His rarely-heard children’s ballet The Toy Box, dedicated to Debussy’s daughter Emma-Claude but not premièred until after the composer’s death, recalls the innocent world of his popular Children’s Corner suite. Based on Pierre Louÿs’ Chansons de Bilitis, Debussy’s Six épigraphes antiques evoke poetic scenes from the ancient world, as does the sole surviving portion of The Triumph of Bacchus.

Naxos 8.572583
DEBUSSY, C.: Orchestral Works, Vol. 6 (Markl) - Suite bergamasque / Petite suite / En blanc et noir
Lyon National Orchestra • Jun Markl

     

Jun Märkl’s exemplary interpretations of Debussy’s orchestral music have been praised for their ‘subtle and sensitive readings’ (Gramophone). ‘This is bewitching music-making that should on no account be missed…One of the finest discs Naxos has ever released’, declared Classic FM of Volume 1 (8.570759). Volume 6 in Naxos’s popular series presents five highly diverse works in gorgeous orchestrations by Debussy’s colleagues or later admirers. Indeed, pieces such as Clair de lune and Printemps may even be better known in these seductive guises than in their original forms. Of particular interest is Debussy’s sole attempt at composing a symphony, a youthful work imbued with the spirit of French Romanticism, only the first movement of which he completed.

Naxos 8.572714
MESSIAEN, O.: Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum / Le tombeau resplendissant / Hymne
Lyon National Orchestra • Jun Markl

Olivier Messiaen’s uniquely distinctive and powerfully expressive musical voice drew strength from religious faith and nature. A prestigious commission, Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum commemorates the dead of two World Wars through the transcendence of Christ’s Resurrection. Scored for winds and percussion, the work is conceived for and conjures up vast spaces. Le tombeau resplendissant and Hymne are early works, but equally filled with mystery and symbolism. Fanfare magazine described Jun Märkl’s previous volume in this series (Poèmes pour Mi / 8.572174) as “the best recording around of a mesmerizing masterwork”.


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