LABELS: Berlin Classics
WORKS: L’enfant et les sortilèges
PERFORMER: Ingeborg Springer, Annelies Burmeister, Eberhard Büchner, Horst Hiestermann, Hans-Joachim Rotzsch, Horst Lunow Leipzig Radio Chorus, Leipzig RSO/ Herbert Kegel
CATALOGUE NO: 0091182 ADD Reissue
The great achievement of L’enfant et les sortilèges lies in Ravel’s exquisite and exuberantly inventive orchestration, which brings the child’s world to life with wit and energy, giving each of the characters such a memorable and distinct musical identity. In this 1970s recording (in German), Herbert Kegel leads the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra in a vivid and colourful account and there are impressive contributions from the singers, including Ingeborg Springer as the child and Ute Mai as the princess, the nightingale and the fire.
Nevertheless, unless one is a German speaker, it would be rather perverse to seek out this recording rather than one in the original French (although even here, happily, the teapot speaks pidgin English as it foxtrots with the cup), especially as no libretto is provided, just a brief synopsis. Also, the disc is not generously filled. Charles Dutoit’s account for Decca is probably the most enjoyable recent recording. William Humphreys-Jones