- Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for orchestra, orchestrated by Ravel
- Carnaval No. 21 ("Marche des 'Davidsbündler' contre les Philistins") for piano, Op. 9/21
- Carnaval No. 17 ("Paganini") for piano, Op. 9/17
- Carnaval No. 16 ("Valse allemande") for piano, Op. 9/16
- Carnaval No. 1 ("Préambule") for piano, Op. 9/1
For the third volume of his cycle of Ravel's orchestral works with the Orchestre National de Lyon, conductor Leonard Slatkin has done well to group all of Ravel's orchestrations together. Of course the concluding item on the program, Ravel's version of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition," may be his best-known orchestral piece of all outside of "Boléro," but that's not the attraction here. If you're wondering about the "Ravel-Slatkin" credit for the orchestration, only a 100-second recurrence of the "Promenade" theme (track 18), newly restored to the work, involves Slatkin as orchestrator. The rest is a competent, but unremarkable "Pictures at an Exhibition." The fun lies in the music up to that point, none of which is the remotest bit common. The four pieces from Robert Schumann's "Carnaval, Op. 9," are all that survive of a larger group commissioned by Vaslav Nijinsky, and they're enough to make you mourn what was lost of this exquisitely Gallic interpretation of a German classic. Sample the colors of the "Valse allemande" (track five). The two Debussy orchestrations are likewise fascinating musical meetings of minds, and the "Menuet pompeux" from the "Dix pièces pittoresques" of Chabrier is a brilliantly humorous curtain-raiser. These are all delightful performances that play to the strengths of Slatkin and his Lyonnais collaborators, and you owe it to yourself to enjoy them.
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Ravel: Orchestral Works 3 - Orchestrations based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This is not the first time Maestro Slatkin has recorded Pictures. His thoughts on this masterpiece have been documented twice before, first with St. Louis and subsequently with the National Philharmonic of London. In addition, Maestro Slatkin has recorded 2 other versions incorporating orchestrations by composers other than Ravel: once with the BBC SO and later with the Nashville SO. In this new recording with Orchestre National de Lyon, the conductor has prepared his own orchestration for the reinstated Promenade preceding Limoges. This had been originally omitted by Ravel prior to publication. The result is wholly convincing. What of the performance itself? It’s on the cool, measured side, weighted more toward an emphasis on color and texture sometimes at the expense of momentum. This is not surprising considering the context of including this work in a disc featuring orchestrations by Ravel. Some numbers gain marginally by this approach while others are constrained in impact. Still, this is a solid performance due in no small part to the refined, luminous playing of the orchestra. The shimmering transcriptions of Chabrier, Debussy and Schumann are most welcome, especially when played with such elan. On the whole, the sound engineering is quite good yet would have benefited by tighter focus and definition in some sections of Pictures. On the other hand, the Chabrier, Debussy and Schumann selections are of demonstration quality.