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John Sunier
Australian Hi-Fi, May 2013

What a difference the gorgeous clarity and detail in the PCM stereo track makes to the program! Ravel frequently began with piano pieces which he later orchestrated. That’s true of the opening Alborada del gracioso, the Pavane for a Dead Princess, and the Menuet Antique. The orchestral colours of the first are beautifully realised by Slatkin and his forces, and well-preserved in both hi-res formats. There’s a 1974 recording by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and the Minnesota Orchestra of the complete Ravel works on LP that was reissued on DVD, and is still available, but this Naxos Blu-ray leaves it in the dust. The detail and clarity of every note and the incredible feeling for the acoustic environment in which the recording was made puts this Naxos Blu-ray way ahead. © 2013 Australian Hi-Fi



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2012

Last month I reviewed this first release in a new cycle of Maurice Ravel’s orchestral works in its standard CD format, and now it arrives in its Blu-ray garb. I wrote enthusiastically regarding the performances from the Lyon orchestra and their newly appointed Music Director, Leonard Slatkin, so I will add only a note regarding the audio quality of this alternative format. For the first time I have the ability to switch from one to the other as the two discs are playing side by side, though I have not yet been able to link that with the surround sound. The difference is more marked than I imagined when simply relying on memory as to how each sounded. Here the side-drum opening to Bolero almost hangs on air, and there is far more space around the woodwind who play such an important role throughout the disc. Strings and brass differences are far less tangible, and maybe there is a more weighty sound when we reach the big climatic moments on the CD. So I go back to memory and try to compare the disc in surround sound and think that we have certainly moved up a rung in the feeling of being actually in the concert hall, though I think, in terms of definition, we have reached as far as the recording can take us in either format. If you have top end of the market equipment—particularly at the speaker end—than the additional outlay is well worth its money. © 2012 David’s Review Corner




John Sunier
Audiophile Audition, November 2012

What a difference this gorgeous clarity and detail in the PCM stereo track makes in the program!

Ravel frequently began with piano pieces which he later orchestrated. That’s true of the opening Alborada del gracioso, the Pavane for a Dead Princess, and the Menuet antique. The orchestral colors of the first are beautifully realized by Slatkin and his forces, and well-preserved in either hi-res format. The “fairy overture” Shéhérazade was the composer’s first orchestral work and was originally going to introduce an opera on a theme of The Thousand and One Nights, which never occurred. The Spanish rhythms of the four-movement Rapsodie espagnole are especially strong and put this right in the same area as the major works of a Spanish nature by other French composers. Jennifer Gilbert’s violin is clearly dead center on the Piece in the Form of a Habanera, whether using the PCM stereo or the DTS-HD 5.1 options.

In 1974 there was a Vox/Turnabout LP set by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski and the Minnesota Orchestra of the complete Ravel works for orchestra. The Minnesotans really drag the Pavane for a Dead Princess; Slatkin gets it right. It was excellent in its day, but clearly the Naxos Blu-ray leaves it in the mist. The detail and clarity of every note and a feeling for the acoustic environment in which the recording was made puts it way ahead of the Skrowaczewski recordings. © 2012 Audiophile Audition Read complete review






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4:04:49 PM, 21 April 2014
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