@ J Rich
Like you I am a ahuge fan-atic of all things Ravel
I have been eyeing this set for some years now, and finally arrived today
Was some years back I heard the finale of Daphnis, and when it was annouced it was Abbado/London, I made a mental note to look into that recording.
It was never a matter of being dis-satisfied with the spectacular Martinon with his magical Paris SO.
But like you, Daphis is a work that i must have all recordings worth the glory of the work.
Well into the 1st cd, (skipping Bolero) Rapsodie, I found a bit over worked in detail, as well as Ma Mere l'Oye , the passages did not *breathe* the magic that is Ravel. At least not like Martinon and the Paris.
In spite of the deniers that a hometown orch does in fact play, breathes the music superior to a outside orch, I find the case almost always the truth.
Not to say other country's orch are to be totally excluded, but its rare i find a outside orch matching the composers home group.
Now I have Daphnis on, and as you say, its detailed and carefully laid out, as is Abbado's notoriety, attention to the score. Abbado's approach of leaving out any personal influence, idiosyncracy, brings in sharp definition,,,but perhaps leaves out the human element.
Ravel as we know is the most gifted composer for heartfelt stirings of the human spirit.
No other reaches the depths as did Ravel. Schnittke in his Psalms of Repentance strikes deep chords for 1 cd, Ravel 's complete works sparkle with this divine emotive power.
So all in all, I'd recommend this set only for completeists in Ravel's Daphne, otherwise my suggestion is to own Martinon/Paris/EMI and stop there.
Further updates on this set to follow.
I had 3 stars, but just now added a 4th.
Because Ravel needs to be heard by all humankind. Ravel is pure genius and his music has healing power for the many illness' striking all of humanity.
JAN 9, 2011
The Daphnis shows images worthy of Ravel.
The chorus is outstanding and may have to consider this Daphnis along with Martinon as the 2 finest COMPLETE Daphnis.
The Ma Mere L Oye here does not stand up to the finest on disc, Skrowaczewski/Minnesota, just barely beating out the Martinon/Paris. ( correction Jan 23,2011, Skrow beats out the Martinon in the La Mere LOye by ALOT!)
Jan 23, 2011
Now after a 3rd listen,
I must add, it may perhaps be the intensity of the orch which throws me off somewhat.
I can clearly hear Abbado's deep committment to the details of the score, and soloists shine through with percision.
In my opinion the 3 recordings in Ravel which you will have to decide are the Martinon, Skrowaczewski (finest Ma Mer LOye!) and this Abbado/London.