Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé (complete ballet); Une barque sur l'océan

Reviewed on Wed 16 Aug, 2017

Leonard Slatkin leads an expansive account, perhaps a little short on choreography and theatre, but this is a performance for the ears and the imagination.

The place to start is at the end, a pastel-shaded yet threatening and turbulent Une barque sur l’océan, one of the two for-piano Miroirs that Ravel orchestrated with typical focus and finesse. Leonard Slatkin ebbs and flows the music persuasively and with a keen ear for detail and nuance. The main work is a complete (58-minute) Daphnis, afforded 15 tracks, and with the action detailed commensurately in the booklet note. Slatkin leads an expansive account, perhaps a little short on choreography and theatre, but this is a performance for the ears and the imagination, with much colour, expression and thrills, finely judged by the very responsive ‘insider’ Lyon Orchestra, whether corporate or in characterful solos, to match Slatkin’s symphonic approach, a seamless traversal of internal logical, warmth and clarity, sensitivity and excitement. As rendered by Spirito, the slower vocalise emerges as if it were plainsong; there’s plenty of exuberance, too.
–Colin Anderson