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Orchestral Favourites (Lso, Monteux) [Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered]

London Symphony Orchestra Audio CD

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The LSO was formed in 1904 as London’s first self-governing orchestra and has been resident orchestra at the Barbican since 1982. Valery Gergiev became Principal Conductor in 2007 following in the footsteps of Hans Richter, Sir Edward Elgar, Sir Thomas Beecham, André Previn, Claudio Abbado and Michael Tilson Thomas among others. Sir Colin Davis had previously held the position ... Read more in Amazon's London Symphony Orchestra Store

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Prélude 3:30£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Danse du rouet et scène - Interlude 3:28£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant 1:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Interlude0:53£0.39  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Les entretiens de la Belle et de la Bête 4:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Interlude0:46£0.39  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Petit Poucet 3:20£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Interlude 1:09£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Laideronnette, Impératrice des Pagodes 3:54£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Interlude 1:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Maurice Ravel: Ma mère l'oye - Apothéose: Le jardin féerique 3:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Maurice Ravel: La Valse - Choreographic poem, for Orchestra11:42Album Only
Listen13. Maurice Ravel: Pavane pour une infante défunte 6:37£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Maurice Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole - 1. Prélude à la nuit 4:15£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Maurice Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole - 2. Malagueña 2:15£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Maurice Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole - 3. Habanera 2:36£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Maurice Ravel: Rapsodie espagnole - 4. Feria 6:11£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Maurice Ravel: Boléro15:28Album Only


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning performances and sound. 20 Aug 2003
By S. Baird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I count five different CDs in my collection containing these very popular Ravel pieces, but none of them are quite so mesmerizing as this one. The complete ballet (Ma Mere l'Oye) may well be the best performance I've ever heard.
You might think, "oh no, not another "Bolero," but while this one starts out a bit anxiously, it soon becomes one of the most adept performances of the work I've, again, ever heard. I found myself anxiously awaiting each of the instrumental replies, and all of them were perfectly stated: just the right pace and intonation; none overstated or limp.
Beyond that is the sound quality. This is near audiophile perfection, with a wide and deep sound stage (the likes of which are all to rare on orchestral recordings) with image specificity so lifelike that you can hear individual players that might have been separated by as little as a few feet. Throughout the recording the visceral impact of the tympani can be felt as well as heard; but the typani are not too closely miked as they are in many audiophile spectaculars. The perspective is always natural and plausible as it should be.
It's just too bad I can give this recording only five stars.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive and moving 21 May 2004
By Jeffrey Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I thought it would be interesting to compare performances of some of the major works of Ravel by listening to recordings of three long acknowledged masters of mainstream French repertoire---Pierre Monteux, Charles Munch and Jean Martinon. All three offer nearly identically recorded selections, though Martinon's is a two disc set which includes some additional fine works by the composer. Otherwise, Munch plays the original Suite From Mother Goose while Monteux and Martinon provide us with Ravel's later, sequence altered, more complete ballet version. Each conducts a different orchestra. Monteux has the London Symphony, Munch the Boston Symphony and Martinon the Orchestra de Paris. To keep the playing field level, my comments will concern only those recorded pieces that are common here to the three cds.

Bolero, of course, is Ravel's most popular composition, and also one of the favorites of the entire classical repertoire. Many have enjoyed its exotic strains, though some attest it has been overexposed and have "gotten tired of it". Nevertheless, each presents a fine performance, but I believe Martinon's is the most impressive in both sonics and interpretation. Those characterful French woodwinds certainly do sing. Moreover, the sound is cleaner than that given to the others, and the perspective on the orchestra is close to ideal. Monteux's version, however, is solid. It is straightforward and musical. Munch's strength comes in the last portions of the piece....In the Rhapsodie Espagnole Martinon scores again, with a reading that captures best the sense of color, sensuous atmosphere and flair the work is full of. Munch's Symphony Hall sound in Boston displays warmth and richness, and he too offers a fine reading. Monteux seems only slightly less interesting than the others....In La Valse all three present enjoyable accounts. Monteux brings a nice rhythmic lilt and a hint of playful, romantic charm. Munch emphasizes drive and elan, though he borders on being boisterous at times. Martinon sings with lyricism and luxurious sensuality....Pavane For a Dead Princess has Munch taking top honors. He imparts an air of nobility and an almost timeless quality. There is also some very beautiful harp playing....Finally, in Ma Mere l'Oye (Mother Goose) all three give very fine performances. Munch is superbly dynamic, colorful and tuneful. Monteux is poignant and loving. Martinon lays things out very clearly and nicely, and there is an easy yet animated flow to his presentation as well as a fine atmosphere of child-like spirit and fantasy. Yes, overall, I tend to favor Martinon, but there's a lot to appreciate in Munch and Monteux. I really don't think you will go wrong with any of these choices.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Beautiful! 3 Feb 2004
By Joseph Kimsey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I can't add much to the excellent comments below. This is an absolutely essential disc for music lovers; I've never heard Ravel's music played with such sparkle and drive. The ballet Ma Mere l'Oye is beautiful, while the Latinate Rapsodie espagnole is all shimmering elegance. One of my all-time favorite pieces, Pavane pour une infante defunte is almost indescribably gorgeous. And yes, the set includes Ravel's warhorse, Bolero.
This would be one of my desert island CDs. The 24-bit remastering is impeccable, and the price is very reasonable. Monteux's conducting is passionate, but never bombastic. For driving or walking on crisp autumn days, Maurice Ravel is most agreeable company. Highly recommended!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monteux's Ravel 9 Jun 2006
By Robert E. Nylund - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
For someone who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the name Pierre Monteux conjures stories from those fortunate to see and hear him conduct the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra from 1936 to 1952 (with a guest appearance and recording session in 1960). Monteux was the first major conductor to lead the SFSO and he virutally "rescued" the orchestra from oblivion in the major 1930s, when it suffered so greatly from the financial woes of the Great Depression. The story of his hiring (at a "mere" $10,000 a year) and how he not only saved the orchestra but built it into an excellent ensemble worthy of radio broadcasts and numerous RCA Victor recordings is quite remarkable. Unfortunately, after his departure in 1952, the orchestra went into decline that lasted a little over a decade, until the Austrian maestro Josef Krips took over and began the rebuilding process.

Long before Monteux came to San Francisco, the French master (called the "maitre" in French) had led the Boston Symphony Orchestra, from 1918 to 1924, and set the stage for that orchestra's "golden age" under Serge Koussevitsky and Charles Munch.

Monteux lived a very long life. He was born the same year as French composer Maurice Ravel, 1875, but he greatly outlived his countryman and friend. In his later years Monteux led the London Symphony Orchestra, continued to make recordings, and became a teacher of young, promising conductors. His wonderful London Symphony recordings appeared mostly on the Philips label and were superbly mastered. I am still amazed at his recording of the Brahms second symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic, which demonstrates that he was not at limited to the French repertoire.

This disc includes wonderfully remastered recordings of the best of Ravel's music. Yes, some will compare Monteux's work to that of Charles Munch or Jean Martinon, two very capable conductors whom this writer was fortunate to see in guest appearances with the San Francisco Symphony. It is difficult to compare conductors, especially when they are conducting the same music. I witnessed Munch's interpretation of Claude Debussy's "La Mer" was overwhelmed by it. I was also quite impressed with Jean Martinon's performance of Deryck Cooke's restoration of the Mahler tenth symphony. These were two very fine conductors in their own right and, fortunately, they also left us numerous recordings. I never saw Pierre Monteux in person, although I certainly might have, but my parents were not particularly interested in classical music and they did not take me to San Francisco Symphony concerts. I finally saw and heard the orchestra in person in February 1964, when Munch made a guest appearance in an all-French program.

I was quite aware on Pierre Monteux while he was still alive. People talked about his work in San Francisco and we heard his recordings. I remember reading about his 50th anniversary concert of Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," which was so amazing because he had conducted the world premiere in Paris, with its legendary riot, and then he was back there in 1963 for the anniversary, when he was 88 years old. (Stravinsky himself was alive and able to attend the anniversary performance, then recall for CBS cameras what had happened at the premiere.) Then there was the report that Monteux had fallen off the podium during a concert in his final year and, miraculously, survived for a few more months. He died in July 1964 at the age of 89!

Some of the recordings on this disc date from Monteux's final months and are ample testimony that, to the very end, he was still quite competent in bringing out the best in Ravel's music. I've heard earlier recordings that Monteux conducted, including some of the RCA Victor recordings made in San Francisco, and it's clear he was ALWAYS clearly in charge. He was greatly admired by Toscanini and given the honor and privilege of leading some of the rehearsals and first performances by the NBC Symphony Orchestra in 1937, prior to Toscanini's own first concert with that legendary ensemble.

Here we have the superb London Symphony Orchestra, certainly one of the finest orchestras in the world, in top-notch performances that display Ravel's brilliant orchestration and his many musical moods. Monteux clearly understood what Ravel was about; the composer was a small, innocent, and sensitive man who had a great love for children. That is particularly apparent in works such as the complete "Mother Goose," which is usually heard in a concert suite; this recording has the full score and it is a delight and wonder. I especially enjoy Ravel's depiction of "Beauty and the Beast."

"La Valse" is a glimpse at the past, seen through twentieth century eyes, which has mystical and magical qualities throughout. The Vienna of the nineteenth century has vanished, largely obliterated by the first world war, but Ravel chose to honor that time, then show that it had indeed passed and virtually been destroyed. There is clearly fire and passion at times and, despite his advanced age, Monteux was able to produce a very exciting performance.

"The Pavane for a Dead Princess" has always seemed to me a somewhat somber and tragic work, which also contains some nostalgic and charming moments. There is a story behind the music which we can only imagine. Monteux managed to capture the many moods present in this relatively short work.

"Rhapsody espagnole" is one of the best works about Spain to be composed by a French composer, probably rivaled only by Claude Debussy's "Iberia." It is a very intense and exciting work, once again containing some mystery and wonder. This performance compares favorably with those recorded by Charles Munch and Fritz Reiner.

Finally there is all-too familiar "Bolero." The challenge of this music is to play it slowly and steadily. Ravel insisted the tempo was never change. The magic of the constantly repeating theme is the way Ravel continues to add instruments until everyone is playing and then he suddenly ends this intense work. This recording is clearly among the best of all.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's something different--warm-hearted Ravel 23 Sep 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Piette Monteux not only looked the part of a jolly French grand-pere, walrus mustache and all, but he conducted like one. In the best sense, I mean, of bringing relaxed, genial, warm-heartedness to his role. This is especially apparent in this well remastered Ravel collection from 1961 and 1964. We've become used to the chilly precision of Boulez, today's most prominent Ravel specialist, and before him the showy virtuosity of Karajan. I love both, but Monteux, who knew the composer well and premiered Daphnis and Chloe, brings a relaxed authority to this music.

He was 86 when the first of these recording sessions took place and would die in 1964, when he recorded the Bolero here--no doubt the oldest conductor to do so. You can detect a bit of slackening in the later performances, but the Ma Mere l'Oye ballet is also form 1964 and sounds lovely. Don't expect flash and virtuosity, although the LSO certainly plays well. Approach this CD as a memento of one of the century's premiere musicians.
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