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David DeBoor Canfield
Fanfare, November 2016

…both the Danse and Sarabande are so skillfully orchestrated that one could easily believe that Debussy himself had composed them that way.

The Orchestre National de Lyon plays with suavity and verve. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



new-classics.co.uk, November 2016

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. All five of these scintillating works are included on this recording by the Lyon National Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. © 2016 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review




BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

The Orchestre National de Lyon and conductor Leonard Slatkin give a characterful performance in this extremely enjoyable recording, which showcases Ravel’s skill as an orchestrator. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



Steven Kruger
Fanfare, September 2016

…this is an interesting CD, but perhaps more worthy than exciting. Slatkin’s performance of Pictures is on the tame side—a bit dark and Brahmsian with more portamento than we usually hear. The Lyon brass purr nicely. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Roger Hecht
American Record Guide, September 2016

Slatkin’s performance is both quirky and interesting. The style is more French than Russian and leans more to lyricism than power. He plays around quite a bit with balances, bringing out the lower instruments more than usual. He also finds some interesting detail and noteworthy effects, including major ritards at the end of a few pictures. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, July 2016

The performances are all quite good: idiomatic and well-played… © 2016 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Stephen Barber
MusicWeb International, July 2016

The Danse, in its original version titled Tarantelle styrienne, is full of rhythmic tricksiness rather along the lines of Holst’s Mercury. The solo horn which leads is as nimble as you like and again in the middle section I enjoyed the oboe playing. The Lyon orchestra are completely on top of this very tricky piece. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, June 2016

All the sections of the Lyon get a chance to strut their stuff in Ravel’s brilliantly scored orchestrations of Mussorgsky piano pieces that make them so memorable… © 2016 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review



Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, May 2016

Few would dispute Maurice Ravel’s unmatched skill in orchestration, both in his own music and that of other composers. This disc is a prime sampling of the composers skill in that arena, with his command of colour evident both in his own works and in his arrangements of music by others. A further addition to the catalogue of Ravel recordings from Leonard Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon, this disc includes his versions of Chabrier’s vibrant Menuet pompeux, Schumann’s colourful Carnaval and his late friend Debussy’s Sarabande et Danse. Ravel’s iconic orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition vividly depicts scenes ranging from the playful to the macabre. © 2016 Classical CD Choice



Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, May 2016

…a precise and characterful rendition of Pictures, with particularly well-balanced and powerful brass playing in the “Catacombs” and “Great Gate of Kiev” sections. © 2016 Musical Toronto Read complete review




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2016

The coupling of Ravel’s Mussorgsky orchestration with those of works by Schumann, Debussy and Chabrier makes this a really interesting release. Slatkin’s conducting is inventive and the orchestral playing gorgeous. © 2016 Pizzicato



Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), May 2016

Maurice Ravel’s incomparable skill in orchestration is evident both in his own works and in his orchestrations of music by other composers. His versions of both Chabrier’s Menuet pompeux and 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 vividly depicts scenes that range from the playful to the macabre. © 2016 WFMT (Chicago)




Infodad.com, May 2016

None of these Ravel orchestrations is heard particularly often—but his most-famous orchestral arrangement certainly is. It is his brilliantly realized version of Mussorgsky’s piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition, a piece so frequently performed that it sometimes comes as a shock to remember that it is not by Ravel. The elegant touches Ravel brings to Mussorgsky continue to delight listeners: the alto saxophone in The Old Castle, the tuba in Bydlo, the varied handlings of the reappearances of the Promenade, and many more. © 2016 Infodad.com Read complete review




James Manheim
AllMusic.com, May 2016

These are all delightful performances that play to the strengths of Slatkin and his Lyonnais collaborators… © 2016 Allmusic.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2016

As the third volume in his complete recording of the orchestral works of Ravel, the conductor, Leonard Slatkin, brings together the piano pieces he orchestrated. Each was commissioned in the sure knowledge that Ravel was the master in the creation of orchestral colours, Chabrier’s Menuet pompeux, for instance, being requested by Sergei Diaghilev for the Ballets Russes, while the Schumann was created for Nijinsky when the great dancer parted company with Diaghilev, though only four of the pieces have survived. His best known, and a masterpiece in the genre, is reserved for the disc’s major work, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. As the Lyon orchestra have shown throughout the series, it is a refined ensemble, the smooth and sonorous brass bringing a warmth to the pictures that is often missing in present-day performances, while the woodwind solos sing beautifully—the bassoon in The Old Castle being just one example of that creamy quality. The children in the Tuilleries play rather than bicker, and the chicks in their shells peck then dance around. As we progress we find the conductor, Leonard Slatkin, giving a helping hand to Ravel, the cackling Jews usually portrayed by raucous muted trumpets are placed in the background, and there are some unexpected tempos, particularly in the picture of the old ox-cart, Bydlo, which moves rather than creaks along. Slatkin also replaces a Promenade that Ravel omitted before the busy market scene in Limoges. Over the years conductors have increasingly used the work as an orchestral showpiece, each trying to outdo one another as performances have become increasingly brash and noisy, and this will come as an antidote to those many recordings. Though I doubt that the disc took the twelve days to record as enumerated in the booklet, it is a very detailed and  immaculate sound. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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