Ravel: Boléro; Rapsodie espagnole; La valse; Valses nobles et sentimentales; Le tombeau de Couperin; Ma mère l’oye

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Ravel
LABELS: Philips Duo
WORKS: Boléro; Rapsodie espagnole; La valse; Valses nobles et sentimentales; Le tombeau de Couperin; Ma mère l’oye
PERFORMER: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Bernard Haitink
CATALOGUE NO: 438 745-2 ADD (1972/77)
Bernard Haitink’s classically clear and direct approach combines élan, elasticity and, where appropriate, tremendous rhythmic punch – his readings of Boléro and La valse are volatile, yet thrillingly disciplined to the last. He brings a natural compulsion to the languorous eroticism of Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2, while his idiomatic handling of the earliest (and slightest) of these works, the Menuet antique and familiar Pavane pour une infante défunte, is equally beguiling. Haitink’s painstaking attention to fine orchestral detail adds refined distinction to his Valses nobles et sentimentales and crystalline delicacy to both Le tombeau de Couperin and the more elusive Ma mère l’oye. There are few more vibrantly evocative, or palpably exciting versions of the Rapsodie espagnole and Alborada del gracioso. Don’t be in the least surprised, however, if the phenomenal sound quality prompts an incredulous second glance at the recording dates quoted in the booklet! Michael Jameson

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