Ravel Daphnis et Chloé
We know from the discs made with the Lyon National Orchestra when John Eliot Gardiner was music director how brilliantly this opera orchestra can play, matching any rival in France. This Naxos disc, in dazzling sound, demonstrates that under its latest music director, Jun Märkl, its standards remain just as high. This is one of the most spectacular of showpieces among ballet scores, and the Lyon orchestra gives a powerful and subtle performance, with the wind and brass soloists outstanding.
The Leipzig Radio Choir, which comes from where Märkl was last in charge, adds to the glow of the performance, which can match almost any version in the catalogue. Naxos has again demonstrated its rare ability to produce excellent discs at bargain price. The shimmering sounds of the Daybreak movement are perfectly caught, with the wind nicely defined, and the final Danse générale rounds the performance off thrillingly.
To add to the attractions a substantial fill-up is offered. The Ouverture Shéhérazade is a student work but already demonstrates Ravel’s gift for creating magical orchestral textures, very reminiscent of Debussy but not entirely derivative with its climactic fanfares leading to a hushed close. It provides a delightful makeweight to an outstanding disc.