Ravel, Honegger

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COMPOSERS: Honegger,Ravel
LABELS: EMI Great Recordings of the Century
WORKS: Boléro; Rapsodie espagnole; Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
PERFORMER: Orchestre de Paris/Charles Münch
CATALOGUE NO: CDM 5 67595 2 ADD Reissue (1968, 1967)
Charles Münch conducting Ravel seems an obvious candidate for EMI’s ‘Great Recordings of the Century’ series. Unfortunately, these performances from Autumn 1968, barely a month before he died, find the ailing Münch unable to do justice to his outstanding pedigree in this repertoire. Boléro creaks and the bacchanalian conclusion to Daphnis is evidently powered by nothing stronger than a mug of cocoa and some biscuits. The Honegger, recorded a year earlier, is a different matter. A brooding intensity, recalling Münch’s pioneering wartime account, underpins every twist and turn until the luminescence of the concluding trumpet entry bathes us in light. Christopher Dingle