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American Record Guide, July 2014

Leonard Slatkin, the orchestra’s music director since 2011, gives a performance that’s full of sweep and sparkling color. …Slatkin and the orchestra play every note with a welcome degree of expression. © 2014 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, February 2014

Volume 2 of an ongoing Ravel series by American conductor Leonard Slatkin and the National Orchestra of Lyon has a lot going for it: precise, scintillating performances, lots of movement and orchestral color, and a feeling for Ravel’s distinctive style. © 2014 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, January 2014

This second disc in Naxos’s Ravel series indeed bids fair to equal if not surpass their Debussy cycle, not only in the quality of playing and recording but also in the completeness of its survey of the composer’s music. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review




WQXR (New York), January 2014

A few WQXR.org commenters groaned at the appearance of Ravel’s Bolero on the 2013 Classical Countdown. “I would vote for Ravel’s Quartet over his Bolero by a mile,” wrote Peter from Brooklyn. “No Mirrors or La Valse?” asked an exasperated Bernie from the Upper West Side. “Seems odd.”

While some feel Bolero is played out, others adore the theatrical piece, which landed at No. 48 on the listener survey. Regardless, this week, we showcase several other sides to Ravel’s orchestral output. Plus, the new Gilmore Award winner Rafał Blechacz playing Chopin and music by overlooked Bach contemporary Christoph Graupner. © 2014 WQXR (New York)




BBC Music Magazine, January 2014

This is very clever programming, not only taking dance and the macabre as its main themes, but also framed by waltzes which end with the same hammered rhythm…a splendidly characterised La Valse, the lusciousness and glitter of the opening dance captured as much as the grisly build-up to its final horrifying climax. © 2014 BBC Music Magazine



Gramophone, January 2014

As before the American [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. Wonderful value at Naxos’s price. Bring on the next instalment. © 2014 Gramophone



Andrew Parker
International Record Review, January 2014

Overall, the present disc provides a fascinating listening experience; apart from reservations about the Gaspard arrangement, it is as subtle and delightful as the cover painting suggests. © 2014 International Record Review



Infodad.com, December 2013

The Lyon musicians handle the work with aplomb…and Slatkin’s conducting is sensitive and well-paced. Like so many other Naxos series, this one bids fair to be a continuing success. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), December 2013

Maurice Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales present a vivid mixture of atmospheric impressionism, intense expression and modernist wit. His fascination with the waltz is 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 World War I as well as a great 18th-century musical forebear. © 2013 WFMT (Chicago)



David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2013

The second volume in the complete works of Maurice Ravel from the famous American conductor, Leonard Slatkin, and his outstanding French orchestra. Three of the works began life as piano scores, the Valses nobles et sentimentales written in imitation of Schubert…Later he was to add orchestral colours that take us a million miles from Schubert. Sometimes boisterous, often sensual, the eight waltzes end with an appropriate Epilogue. It was Marius Constant who orchestrated the three piano pieces, Gaspard de la nuit in 1990…As performances of the whole work go, this is about as good as you will hear, Slatkin, pushing forward the tempo for the scary picture of Scarbo that concludes the three movements. Music very different in style comes from the homage Ravel paid to the great early 18th century French composer, Francois Couperin in Le tombeau de Couperin. Here played in a very 20th century mode, everything is neat, the woodwind a constant joy. Then to the erotic sensuality of La Valse, often massively powerful and with a prominent percussion section, the closing are suitably cataclysmic. Throughout the playing has been outstanding in a highly detailed recording, Slatkin being a master of orchestral colour. © 2013 David’s Review Corner





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