ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS
Maurice Ravel - Orchestral Works - Yannick Nézet-Séguin


MAURICE RAVEL - DAPHNIS ET CHLOÉ - LA VALSE - MA MÈRE L'OYE - VALSES NOBLES ET SENTIMENTALES - YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN (CONDUCTOR) - ROTTERDAM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA - EMI 66342

Yannick Nézet-Séguin, a prolific and fast rising young conductor by today's standards, has been Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra for just over a year now, and if this recording is any indication, that pairing will certainly lead to very impressive results. His previous recordings, on the Atma label, were all indicative of a strong talent at work, but this new one, combined with the world-class playing of the Rotterdam musicians, moves him quickly up the ranks of top conductors.

This January 2010 release offers us some of Maurice Ravel's orchestral gems. The Daphnis et Chloé for example, with its astounding musical depiction of a sunrise, is all about textures and orchestral colors, and in that context, this recording surpasses even the standard setting Decca effort under Charles Dutoit. La Valse, with its rhythmic drive and percussion rich accents, is full of drunken swagger under Nézet-Séguin who has the orchestra, especially the percussionist(s), really strutting their stuff. Every piece on this CD is done with a mix of pinpoint accuracy and crazy abandon.

I haven't heard such an impressive sounding EMI recording in a while. Is it the recording venue in Rotterdam, the recording engineering, or maybe a combination of both? Whatever it is, they should bottle it and do it again.

Jean-Yves Duperron