Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition has long been acknowledged as one of the finest, and it continues to enjoy immense popularity. There are very few CD programmes, however, that are built solely on the theme of Ravel’s orchestrations, such as this month's new release continuing our acclaimed series of Ravel recordings from Leonard Slatkin and the Lyon National Orchestra. The inclusion of Ravel's arrangements of movements from Schumann’s Carnaval and Debussy's Sarabande and Danse will no doubt prove substantial attractions for first-time listeners.
Maurice Ravel’s incomparable skill in orchestration and command of orchestral colour is evident both in his own works and in his orchestrations of music by other composers. His versions of both Chabrier’s vibrant Menuet pompeux and the colourful commedia dell’arte figures of Schumann’s Carnaval were commissions for ballet, while new life was given to his late friend Debussy’s Sarabande et Danse at the request of publisher Jean Jobert. Ravel’s iconic orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition makes telling use of a large orchestra, vividly depicting scenes that range from the playful to the macabre.
Listen to an extract from Danse, "Tarantelle styrienne"
About the Artists
Internationally acclaimed conductor Leonard Slatkin is music director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL). He also maintains a rigorous schedule of guest conducting throughout the world and is active as a composer, author and educator. Slatkin has made over 100 recordings that have garnered seven GRAMMY® awards and 64 nominations. His recent Naxos recordings include works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Berlioz (with the ONL) and music by Copland, Rachmaninov, Borzova, McTee and John Williams (with the DSO).
Offspring of the Société des Grands Concerts de Lyon, which was founded in 1905, the Orchestre National de Lyon (ONL) became a permanent orchestra of 102 musicians in 1969, with Louis Frémaux as its first musical director (1969–1971). From then on the orchestra was run and supported financially by the city of Lyon, which in 1975 provided it with a concert hall, the Lyon Auditorium. Following the establishment of the Opéra de Lyon Orchestra in 1983, the ONL has devoted itself to symphonic repertoire.
Previous releases in Leonard Slatkin's Ravel series
8.572887 / NBD0030 Maurice RAVEL
Orchestral works, Vol. 1
Alborada del gracioso /
“Leonard Slatkin draws a vivid sound from the Lyon players, with a wide range of dynamics and colours…No one could do more for the early Scheherezade overture, where Ravel’s interest in orchestral timbres is paramount…Bolero too comes off well.”
– BBC Music Magazine ★★★★★
Listen to an extract from
Sheherazade, Ouverture de féerie
8.572888 / NBD0034 Maurice RAVEL
Orchestral works, Vol. 2
Valses nobles et sentimentales / Gaspard de la nuit
“… [Slatkin] shows real empathy with this magical repertoire, and he draws playing of uncommon composure and contagious application from his scrupulously prepared Lyons band…Producer/engineer Tim Handley has struck a most judicious balance and his sound is commendably truthful and wide-ranging. Bring on the next instalment.”
Listen to an extract from
Valses nobles et sentimentales: I. Modéré