Leonard Slatkin / Orchestre National de Lyon

Ravel: L'Heure espagnole; Don Quichotte à Dulcinée

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Leonard Slatkin is an exceptionally versatile conductor, but it is perhaps in French repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries that he feels most comfortable. The singers in Ravel's exquisitely formed little comic opera L'Heure espagnole, complete with cheating lovers hidden inside grandfather's clocks carried up and down stairs, are all entirely appropriate and admirably clear, but it is really Slatkin who's the star here, right from the "Introduction" that's so artfully linked to what follows. Ravel here cultivates a kind of updated accompanied recitative, well matched to his stated goal of reviving the old tradition of Italian opera buffa. The dialogue seems straightforward, but it is subtly and considerably heightened by the music in ways that may be clear to the listener only in retrospect. Sample the sly "Salut à la belle Horlogère!" (track eight) for a taste of how Slatkin holds the entire scene, orchestra and singing of mezzo-soprano Isabelle Druet, in the palm of his hand, and of the light sexiness in the opera embodied in the afternoon-delight-seeking Concepción. A bonus is the set of three Don Quichotte à Dulcinée songs, the last work Ravel completed. Highly recommended and absolutely delightful.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
L'Heure espagnole
1 02:27 Amazon
2 01:55 Amazon
3 02:05 Amazon
4 02:20 Amazon
5 03:05 Amazon
6 01:33 Amazon
7 01:37 Amazon
8 01:57 Amazon
9 01:24 Amazon
10 02:03 Amazon
11 02:03 Amazon
12 00:36 Amazon
13 03:08 Amazon
14 00:58 Amazon
15 01:34 Amazon
16 01:31 Amazon
17 02:52 Amazon
18 02:58 Amazon
19 01:28 Amazon
20 03:42 Amazon
21 02:15 Amazon
22 04:49 Amazon
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
23 02:06 Amazon
24 03:04 Amazon
25 01:57 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick