Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Claude Debussy, Henri Dutilleux, Maurice Ravel|
Debussy: La Mer; Dutilleux: L'Arbre des songs; Ravel: La valse [Hybrid SACD]
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
Listen to Samples
Virtuosity can't make up for lack of style
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Fanfare magazine gave this live Concergebouw CD a glowing review, praising Jansons as one of the "new objectivists." But to my ears, he's without style, certainly in Debussy and Ravel, where the absence of rubato and refinement basically kills my enjoyment. The orchestra plays gorgeously, and the SACD sonics, as heard through two channels, are clear and detailed.
As a program, it was imaginative to include Dutilleux's pointillistic violin concerto, 'Les arbes des songes', and Sitkovetsky, along with the orchestra, gives an amazingly accurate reading of this difficult work, which could be typified as post-Debussy filtered through pastel Messiaen. Dutilleux is well known for writing very slowly. He's a perfectionist, and there's no doubt that the shimmering orhestral setting for the violin is exquisite. However, the composer hasn't really gotten past the anti-lyrical violin style invented by Stravinsky and Bartok, with its motor rhythms, short, choppy phrases, jerky double stops, and absence of long line. After seven or eight minutes, I found it hard to tell one section from another.
As for the main attraction, Jansons' La Mer is large-scaled and flat-footed. Every touch in the orchestration is underlined -- and superbly captured by the engineers -- but the whole thing is shapeless, moving from bar to bar without telling a story or painting a coherent picture. Place any classic La Mer beside it, and this performance feels slow and dull. The reading of La Valse has more overtly luscious, slithery music to play with, but here again Jansons is stylistically gray. I felt no menace, satire, wit, or glamour. The cataclysmic climax, when the waltz rhythm crashes into chaos, made no impression, because Jansons failed to build the music into a delirious swoon to begin with.
In all, I think this CD is mostly for fans of the orchestra and anyone looking for a sonic showpiece. As a competitive entry in the two major works, it has little chance."