Ravel: La valse - Oramo

Ravel: La valse - Oramo

BIS  BIS-2438

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Ravel: La valse, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Alborada del gracioso, Une barque sur l'océan, Pavane pour une infante défunte, Menuet antique

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sakari Oramo (conductor)

Maurice Ravel composed a number of works which have become classics of the repertoire both for solo piano and for orchestra. On the present disc, all except one work were first conceived for piano, which raises the question how it is possible to transfer such pianistic music to the orchestra without making it sound like a mere ‘colourized’ version. Ravel’s orchestral writing was the result of a long apprenticeship and careful study of orchestration treatises as well as scores, notably of works by Rimsky-Korsakov and Richard Strauss. Although his skills as an orchestrator are much admired today, his ability to coax new sounds out of the orchestra wasn't always appreciated in his own time, however – in 1907 the critic Pierre Lalo complained that ‘in Ravel’s orchestra, no instrument retains its natural sound…’

Among the works performed here by Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra are some of Ravel’s earliest compositions, including the much loved Pavane pour une infante défunte, but the disc closes with a later work: La Valse, written in 1920 as one of only four works by Ravel originally conceived for orchestra. The idea of composing a tribute to Johann Strauss had pursued Ravel since 1906, but it took a commission from Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets russes for him to return to the project. When Diaghilev found it unsuited for a ballet, Ravel gave it the subtitle ‘choreographic poem for orchestra’. It was performed in concert in 1920 for the first time and enjoyed an immediate success.

Support this site by purchasing from these vendors using the links provided below.
As an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.


Add to your wish list | library


0 of 0 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

PCM recording
Comments (1)

Comment by Ben Leggett - February 22, 2022 (1 of 1)

Le Tombeau is one of my favorite bits of music of all time and I've listened to as many (recorded and live) performances of it as I can get my hands on - but I'm not sure I love the performances of it here versus Martinon/Boulez RBCD performances, or even versus the Ozawa/BSO quad SACD from Pentatone.

It's...fine? But not one of my favorites, which is a tad disappointing. The inclusion of the previously-untranscribed movements from the original piano suite is a nice bonus if you're a non-casual Ravel fan, but yeah overall not essential.

The other works chart similarly for me - good-but-not-revelatory performances, bettered elsewhere (in both high def and RBCD flavors) by Martinon/Boulez/Ozawa. This one is naturally well-recorded, but with a multichannel mix that isn't particularly engaging and which doesn't add much over the stereo presentation.