Ravel - Daphnis et Chloe, La Valse
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Cat No: 2564616684
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 27th April 2015
ArtistsOrchestre et Choeur de l’Opera National de Paris
This new recording of Daphnis et Chloé, Ravel’s most sumptuous score, marks a number of firsts as it evokes the heady days of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes in Paris in the early years of the 20th century.
It grew from performances of the Classically-inspired ballet at Paris’ Opéra Bastille in Spring 2014: Philippe Jordan, Music Director of the Paris Opéra was conducting a complete ballet for the first time and the choreographer, Benjamin Millepied – known to a wide audience for his work on the Oscar-winning film Black Swan, starring his wife, Natalie Portman – was undertaking his first major project for the Opéra before assuming his new role as its Director of Dance in Autumn 2014.
Completing the creative triumvirate – and bringing further echoes of Ravel’s original Ballets Russes collaboration with choreographer Michel Fokine, conductor Pierre Monteux and scenographer Léon Bakst – was the painter and designer Daniel Buren, a master at deploying blocks of colour, whose candy-striped columns at Paris’ historic Palais Royal have become one of the French capital’s tourist sights. Though Buren has experience as a designer for theatre and for the Opéra-Comique, this was his first foray into ballet.
Ravel’s spectacular musical depiction of a Mediterranean sunrise, a highlight of Daphnis et Chloé, has become one of classical music’s ‘greatest hits’. It opens the second suite of music that the composer extracted from the ballet, a compact sequence of deliciously sensuous music that is a popular feature of both concerts and recordings. The complete ballet score – which, lasting nearly an hour, is Ravel’s longest work – is less frequently heard. Its lavish forces, which include an exotic selection of percussion (with the wind machine notably prominent) and a wordless offstage chorus, perhaps constitute a reason for the relative rarity of its appearance in the world’s ballet theatres.
The recording was made under studio conditions at the Opéra Bastille, several months after the run of live performances in May and June 2014.
Completing the CD is another work by Ravel that was originally conceived for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russe: the intoxicating and haunting ‘choreographic poem’ La Valse.
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