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Orchestre National de Lyon/Slatkin: Ravel: Orchestral Works vol 1 (Naxos)

Orchestre National de Lyon/Slatkin

Ravel: Orchestral Works vol 1

(Naxos)

WAIT until you hear this. Hard on the heels of Leonard Slatkin's splendid debut recording of Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique with his new French orchestra, Naxos will be releasing, in a week, volume one of a two-volume survey of Ravel's orchestral music with Slatkin and the Orchestre National de Lyon. It features a crisp, light performance of Alborado del Gracioso, drenched in atmosphere and garlanded with explosive splashes of colour; a velvet-textured Pavane For The Dead Princess; a gloriously played Rapsodie Espagnol; the early Sheherazade, where Ravel's orchestrational mastery is already evident; and a Bolero as you have not heard it, played with great subtlety, meticulously gauged pacing and some eye-opening textural clarity. It's a fresh look at the most familiar of potboilers, with superior orchestral playing. The Lyon ensemble has a luxurious sheen to its playing, and with Slatkin polishing these French orchestral jewels, with, I should add, absolutely no indulgence, this is well-worth hearing. It's a fine mix of beauty and purity.

Michael Tumelty

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