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Delibes: Ballet Suites

Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi (Chandos)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Ballet Suites – Suites from Coppélia, Sylvia and La Source
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
Chandos CHSA5257 (CD/SACD)   82:55 mins


This generously packed disc of extended suites from Delibes’s ballets sparkles from the opening exuberant horn fanfare of Sylviato the final spirited ‘Galop’ of Coppélia. Just as with their outstanding exploration of Saint-Saëns’s orchestral music, Neeme Järvi and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra bring wit, vigour and colour to this effervescent music. Järvi’s exceptional experience ensures that favourite moments do not disappoint; insouciant in the ‘Pizzicati’ from Sylvia, carefree in Swanilda’s ‘Valse’ from Coppélia and wryly evoking the preening pomposity of the ‘Czardas’. Everything feels naturally spontaneous. The ebb and flow of Sylvia’s moonlit ‘Valse lente’ is perfectly paced, the return of the opening strings sublimely held back by Järvi, while the ‘Marche et Cortege de Bacchus’ is by turns rousing and totally invigorating.

Between Järvi’s selections from Coppélia and Sylvia comes a generous dose of Delibes’s contribution to La Source. He essentially provided the central portion of the ballet, the rest being the work of Ludwig Minkus. It is little surprise this delightful music led to the commission for Coppélia, for Delibes’s talent for writing a catchy tune, allied to colourful orchestration and rhythmic verve is apparent throughout.

The RSNO is on scintillating form, with idiomatically characterful woodwind, vibrant brass, luminescent strings and crisp percussion. Chandos have also worked wonders with the recording, which is great in stereo and phenomenal in surround, every detail clear, yet with a natural bloom.


Christopher Dingle