Timeless Ravel lives on in new recording of Daphnis et Chloé by Boston Symphony Orchestra

Ravel is one of those composers who can transcend time. Although his Daphnis et Chloé was first performed nearly a hundred years ago, the music is rich and evocative as any music score today, floating along unusual harmonic lines, fluttering with elements of late 20th century like ethereal sounds orchestrated as only Ravel could do. There are moments where the melody soars and others where the music seems to drift into a world of bacchanalia. The Boston Symphony Orchestra's new recording of Daphnis et Chloé is as timeless as the ballet, completely modern and yet as lost in mythos as Pan and Syrinx.

While this particular piece is considered as part of the repertoire of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, it is seldom played or performed. Typically we are treated to Ravel's Bolero or his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Getting to hear the complete Daphnis et Chloé is pure pleasure. James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra bring the story to life with the subtleties we might experience from dancers live on stage. This CD is simply the delightful music, and in so many ways, much richer than we could ever expect from a stage performance. With no accompanying dance, the musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra breathe life into the characters as the music dances from the recording. And they do it very well.

As is typical with Ravel, many of the “pieces” within the ballet are short, less than 2 minutes. With Daphnis et Chloé we get bursts of characterization, scintillating orchestration and rich romantic colors. This is the first release of BSO’s new recording label and a wonderful choice allowing the orchestra a chance to dance with the music.

Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé Boston Symphony Orchestra James Levine, conductor Tanglewood Festival Chorus John Oliver, conductor


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