- Symphony No. 3 in C minor ("Organ"), Op. 78 - Camille Saint-Saëns - Joseph Adam - Simon Woods - Seattle Symphony - Jessica Forsythe - Ludovic Morlot
- Rhapsodie espagnole, for orchestra (or 2 pianos) - Maurice Ravel - Simon Woods - Seattle Symphony - Jessica Forsythe - Ludovic Morlot
- Pavane pour une infante défunte, for piano (or orchestra) - Maurice Ravel - Simon Woods - Seattle Symphony - Jessica Forsythe - Ludovic Morlot
Ravel: Orchestral Works; Saint-Saëns: Organ Symphonyby Ludovic Morlot
Ludovic Morlot has wasted little time in recording with the Seattle Symphony, following his appointment as music director with a handful of CDs on the orchestra's own label. Recorded in September 2013, the concert performances of Maurice Ravel's "Alborada del gracioso," the "Pavane pour une infante défunte," and the "Rapsodie espagnole" are balanced with a June 2013 live recording of Camille Saint-Saëns' "Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Organ," which makes this album an impressive showcase for French music. The "Alborada del gracioso" is Ravel's spectacular arrangement of the piano piece by the same name (No. 4 of the set entitled "Miroirs"), and it shows his masterful orchestration as well as his love of Spanish-tinged exoticism. This penchant is displayed more fully in the "Rapsodie espagnole," a work in four movements that was Ravel's most ambitious attempt to capture the colors and expressions of Spanish music in his own impressionistic style. The popular Pavane is a graceful and melancholy dance in an antique style, evoking the celebrated portraits of the Infanta Margarita by Velásquez. Saint-Saën's "Symphony No. 3" is Romantic work in the Lisztian mold, highlighting the virtuosic abilities of the orchestra and adding the colors of the organ and two pianos to make the work even more dazzling. All of these performance show the Seattle Symphony in fine form, playing with high energy and precision, and the recordings are remarkably rich and vibrant, thanks to the label's expert engineering.
- Release Date:
- Seattle Sym Media
Performance CreditsLudovic Morlot Primary Artist
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There is an inordinate number of alternatives for all of the works included on this disc. The Ravel pieces come off the best. Morlot’s meticulous shaping and pacing of the material is met in kind by the superb playing of the Seattle Symphony. The Saint-Saens is good but has to contend with the likes of Munch, Martinon, Tortelier and Paray for starters. A bit more passion and drive would have worked wonders. The sonics are first rate throughout: rich, detailed and luminous.
This new CD contains recordings by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra of music by Ravel and Saint-Saens. The applause at the end of all the works performed except Ravel's "Pavane" indicates that these were recorded "live" at concerts rather than in a studio. Performances were given under the French conductor Ludovic Morlot, who was appointed as 15th Music Director of the Seattle Symphony in June 2010; he is also Chief Conductor at La Monnaie opera house in Brussels. I was surprised to find Ravel and Saint-Saens coupled together on the same CD, but the more I think about it the more logical it seems. Though born 40 years apart both composers were French, and Ravel claimed that some of his works were inspired by Saint-Saens. Ravel's "Alborada del gracioso" and "Rapsodie espagnole" are both delivered with crisp precision, and the performance of Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 sounds excellent to my ears. The tempo for Ravel's "Pavane" sounds neither rushed nor dreary, for which I am thankful. By contrast Andre Cluytens' 1962 interpretation (currently available on You Tube) lasts seven minutes and sounds funereal, which would surely have displeased Ravel, whose comment about his own "Pavane" is worth quoting. When he heard a piano student performing it he commented that she was playing it far too slowly. He said: "Stop! You are playing it much too slowly; it's a pavane for a dead princess, not a dead pavane for a princess!" The recording quality is excellent. I have only one small gripe: audiences - except after the "Pavane" - are so eager to show their pleasure after the performances that they begin to clap before the final chord has died away. This has unfortunately become a common habit with American audiences; by contrast audiences at many European concerts begin to applaud only after the conductor has lowered his/her hands, which is the signal to audiences to applaud. If this aspect of this new CD doesn't bother you, then buy the disc; the performances are delightful. Ted Wilks