Author Topic: Ravel's Shéhérazade  (Read 2066 times)

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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Ravel's Shéhérazade
« on: February 20, 2019, 02:45:08 AM »
I can't see any discussion anywhere of Ravel's gorgeous song cycle, and wondered if there were others here who love it as I do.

I have six different recordings, all quite different, each of the singers having something different to say.

My latest is the Hendricks/Gardiner version, and I have a feeling it will become a favourite. Hendricks's French has always been particularly good, and she unerringly captures the mood of the songs. Gardiner and his French orchestra are also excellent.



I have six other versions, and I'd find it very difficult to put them in any kind of preferential order. The others I own are Baker/Barbirolli, Berganza/Plasson, Crespin/Ansermet, De Los Angeles/Prêtre and Teyte/Rignold.

Do others have favourite versions?
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Online JBS

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2019, 06:01:54 AM »
It obviously won't replace Hendricks or any other version you have, but  I would suggest checking put Bostridge's new recording. I think he does a good job with it.
I have only three versions: Bostridge, Crespin/Ansermet, and this one


But I can't say I prefer one of them above the others.

Offline ritter

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2019, 06:12:23 AM »
The Hendricks certainly is a great recording of this wonderful piece. What a lovely singer!

For pure lushness, I am particularly fond of Heater Harper with Boulez (that's how I got to know the piece, an I think it's more successful than Boulez's second recording with Anne-Sophie von Otter--an admirable singer as well, in any case):



I was also quite impressed by this recent, ultra-refined rendition by Chritiane Karg under the very talented David Afkham:



ritter
-------------------------------------------------------------
« Des yeux purs dans les bois
Cherchent en pleurant la tête habitable »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2019, 07:05:22 AM »
I’m with Rafael on the Heather Harper/Boulez recording. That’s a fine performance, but there’s many more that I adore....

Teresa Berganza with Michel Plasson/Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse:



Régine Crespin with Ernest Amsermet/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande:



And one more surprisingly good one:

Felicity Lott with Armin Jordan/Orchestre de la Suisse Romande:

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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2019, 07:17:59 AM »
I can't see any discussion anywhere of Ravel's gorgeous song cycle, and wondered if there were others here who love it as I do.

I have six different recordings, all quite different, each of the singers having something different to say.

My latest is the Hendricks/Gardiner version, and I have a feeling it will become a favourite. Hendricks's French has always been particularly good, and she unerringly captures the mood of the songs. Gardiner and his French orchestra are also excellent.



I have six other versions, and I'd find it very difficult to put them in any kind of preferential order. The others I own are Baker/Barbirolli, Berganza/Plasson, Crespin/Ansermet, De Los Angeles/Prêtre and Teyte/Rignold.

Do others have favourite versions?
She has a knack for some of the French roles/songs. A good choice. I have Berganza/Plasson on the Melodies double disc. I like it, but I prefer that set for some of the other songs more. Still, Berganza's in good voice and it's well done.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2019, 08:04:30 AM »
This might be useful as a basis for this thread (instead of just going the ‘what do you recommend’ route):



Ravel was drawn to the sensual allure of the Orient as early as 1898, when he composed the "Ouverture de Shéhérazade," a work which quotes a Persian melody while drawing on the spiritual ancestry of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Sheherazade" of 1888. He returned to its title in 1903 for this cycle of three songs for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, based on the exotic texts of the French poet Tristan Klingsor. With "Shéhérazade," his first major statement for orchestra, Ravel demonstrates his mastery of muted and climactic orchestral details, while eliciting equal measures of ecstasy and restraint for the human voice.

Like the story in Rimsky-Korsakov's famous suite, "Shéhérazade" conjures up Eastern tales of indulgence, perversity, death and danger. The first poem, "Asie" opens with a hushed string tremolo, followed by a meandering oboe melody, establishing a seductive atmosphere of Oriental fantasy. The opening four lines are declaimed syllabically and recitative-like ("Asia, Asia, Asia/marvelous old land of nursery tales/where fantasy sleeps like an empress/in her forest filled with mystery"). Pentatonic scale figures, grace notes and fluttering strings further impart the poem's chilling decadence, leading to an accelerating climax on the words "I would like to see those who die for love as well as those who die for hatred." The piece falls silent and shimmers to a close, as the recitative of the opening concludes the tale over a faintly rolling timpani.

"La Flute enchantée" and "L'indifferent," are considerably shorter than "Asie," and each song concludes with a brief yet subtly modified reference to the opening theme. "La Flute enchantée" is a timeless portrait of a girl listening to the sounds of a flute, while "L'indifferent" -- sometimes regarded as the most beautiful of all of Ravel's songs -- concerns the attraction of the unattainable. If all three of the Tristan Klingsor settings in the cycle are expressions of longing, this final one finds a particularly personal tone, through false modality, and a final pandiatonically extended triad with a major ninth. After "Shéhérazade," Ravel wrote no song with an erotic theme until he completed "Chansons madécasses" in 1926.

[Taken from All Music Guide]
« Last Edit: February 20, 2019, 08:07:25 AM by Mirror Image »
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Offline Draško

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2019, 08:42:25 AM »
My favorites are Crespin and Gens, quite different, Crespin's voice is much bigger but Gens has a wonderful way with words. Also, I think Otter/Boulez is better than usually given credit for, maybe though more cerebral than sensual.


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2019, 08:45:18 AM »
My favorites are Crespin and Gens, quite different, Crespin's voice is much bigger but Gens has a wonderful way with words. Also, I think Otter/Boulez is better than usually given credit for, maybe though more cerebral than sensual.



I’ll have to pick up that Gens recording as I absolutely love her voice, especially in Debussy’s mélodies.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline André

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2019, 01:31:14 PM »
Danco

Offline Todd

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2019, 04:58:09 PM »
My favorites are Crespin and Gens, quite different, Crespin's voice is much bigger but Gens has a wonderful way with words. Also, I think Otter/Boulez is better than usually given credit for, maybe though more cerebral than sensual.




The Gens is my favorite of the limited number of recordings I've heard, and the whole disc is magnificent.  I should probably try Hendricks at some point.  Her French melodies with Michel Dalberto are superb.
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2019, 12:27:40 AM »

The Gens is my favorite of the limited number of recordings I've heard, and the whole disc is magnificent.  I should probably try Hendricks at some point.  Her French melodies with Michel Dalberto are superb.

I like Gens, so hers is probably one I should hear.

Of those in my collection, I'd probably still place Crespin first, with Hendricks a close second. The only one I find disappointing is Teyte with Hugo Rignold. Tempi are often too fast, presumably because of the time limits imposed by 78rpm recording, and the orchestra dimly recorded. The others (Baker/Barbirolli, Berganza/Plasson and De Los Angeles/Prêtre) all have their attractions. What a glorious cycle it is.

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Crudblud

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2019, 02:37:48 AM »
Another vote for Gens here.

Offline Draško

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2019, 03:06:13 AM »
Danco

Which Danco? Studio recording with Ansermet or live one with Munch on INA.

Offline André

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2019, 07:01:27 AM »
Which Danco? Studio recording with Ansermet or live one with Munch on INA.

Both. I prefer the INA despite the rough sound. The Decca is excellent and more readily available though.

Offline Draško

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2019, 09:29:59 AM »
Both. I prefer the INA despite the rough sound. The Decca is excellent and more readily available though.

Thanks! I'll see if I can find the INA.

I just found there is another Danco/Ansermet Sheherezade on Decca. With Paris Conservatoire Orchestra from '47 or '48. This one:


https://www.amazon.fr/Decca-Petite-Suite-Alborada-Gracioso/dp/B07DD94MPX
« Last Edit: February 24, 2019, 10:03:21 AM by Draško »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2019, 11:30:59 AM »
Another vote for Gens here.

I just bought Arleen Auger (w/ Ernest Bour) plus the Gens moments ago. Really looking forward to hearing these.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline André

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2019, 11:57:19 AM »
Thanks! I'll see if I can find the INA.

I just found there is another Danco/Ansermet Sheherezade on Decca. With Paris Conservatoire Orchestra from '47 or '48. This one:


https://www.amazon.fr/Decca-Petite-Suite-Alborada-Gracioso/dp/B07DD94MPX

I haven’t heard this one, but I read that Danco considered it was her best version.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Ravel's Shéhérazade
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2019, 03:18:23 PM »
Listening to the Danco/Ansermet stereo performance right now and really enjoying it. Sumptuous performance.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy