Pleasant overall, this disc has its highlights
Brian W. Bough | Albuquerque, New Mexico | 12/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This disc of Claude DeBussy, Maurice Ravel, and Albert Roussel is a very pleasant disc. Maestro Vonk's transparency and orchestral balance of DeBussy, as well as his insistence of rhythmic perfection from the orchestra overall, contribute to a convincing reading of La Mer. It is easily the equal of any other performance of this work that I have heard.
Albert Roussel's "Bacchus et Ariane" is another piece that is particularly endearing. Roussel is a composer whom one might think should be heard more often in the concert hall. This piece is well-played, light and certainly intriguing.
I am less moved by the Ravel pieces, "Valses nobles et sentimentales" and "La Valse." While the readings of these pieces are cogent and well-played, there is little to recommend these interpretations over any other recordings of the works.
In what is my only criticism of Vonk's tenure in St. Louis - he did so much to bring a mature, burnished sound to the orchestra that establishes its place in the upper tier of world orchestras - it seems the orchestra plays less gregariously than it did under Leonard Slatkin when the situation calls for it. Time will tell if David Robertson's tenure as music director will change this.
All in all, I recommend this disc to people who are in the mood for hearing a well-conceived La Mer and a wonderfully entertaining Bacchus et Ariane. If you are looking for Ravel's "valses," you will be able to find better recordings for your needs."