Grainger/Ravel/Debussy

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Grainger/Ravel/Debussy
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: In a Nutshell; Train Music; The Warriors; A Lincolnshire Posy; La vallée des cloches (arr. Grainger); Pagodes (arr. Grainger)
PERFORMER: CBSO/Simon Rattle
CATALOGUE NO: CDC 5 56412 2
Rattle’s readings of these spectacular Grainger works are sizzling and dynamic, full of atmosphere, colour and character. They are caught in wide-perspective and, frequently, floor-shuddering sound. The programme opens with rollicking performances of ‘Arrival Platform Humlet’ and the ‘Gum-suckers March’ from the In a Nutshell Suite. The latter has an extraordinarily dark and dramatic central pastoral movement. It concludes with a powerful and dazzling rendering of The Warriors – Grainger’s largest orchestral work – described as an ‘orgy of warlike dances, processions and merrymaking’ and scored for gargantuan forces (including 16 percussionists). The CD also includes one premiere recording, Train Music, an early (1901) work that is an exhilarating evocation of a train journey through Italy. The arrangements of the Ravel and Debussy pieces are truly ravishing. They use a large and varied percussion array – including assorted bells, glockenspiel, marimba and xylophone – in vivid pictures of rural benediction and oriental splendour. There is also a cheeky, boozy version of Country Gardens arranged by Stokowski in 1949. The folksong collection A Lincolnshire Posy employs a band of 43 wind instruments (including six saxophones) to colourful and intensely dramatic effect. An enterprising programme, showing many facets of Grainger’s previously underrated genius. Ian Lace

Advertisement