A helpful record store owner sold me an LP of Pierre Monteux conducting The London Symphony Orchestra performing Debussy Orchestral work - Images, Le Matyre de San Sebastian. Since then I have not heard a better performance. While some later recordings are 'cleaner' more free of underlying tape hiss, Monteux's simply pleases more than others. It just sounds 'right'.
So it is with this set. It is beautifully balanced between orchestra and choir, the individual instruments to the fore as needed for punctuation and a truly remarkable engineering of the original tapes. I believe that Monteux favoured the 20th Century composers for their spacious scores and inventive colours and textures; all of those things are brought out in this recording. The 2nd movement - Malguena - in Rhapsodie Espagnole pefectly demonstrates this, full of light and shade, the dynamic contrasts are present,the Oboe emerges from the black background clear, plaintive, yearning. Brilliant!
The Rhapsodie, coupled with Daphnis and Chloe and The Pavane this makes a wonderful representation of Ravel's breathtaking 20th Century music, highly recommended.