Seiji Ozawa / Boston Symphony Orchestra

Greatest Classical Hits: Ravel's Bolero

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There are some combinations of orchestra and conductor whose names are inextricably linked: Chicago and Reiner, Philadelphia and Ormandy, Berlin and Karajan, and in the case of the present album, Boston and Ozawa. Deutsche Grammophon has re-released Ozawa's and the BSO's 1974 (only Ozawa's second year at the helm of the orchestra) recordings of the bulk of Ravel's orchestral works on its "Greatest Classical Hits" line. Unlike many other greatest-hits catastrophes, Deutsche Grammophon presents listeners with complete works (rather than random individual movements), intelligent programming, and first-rate performances. The result is a superb choice for listeners to gain their first exposure to Ravel's orchestral works. Ozawa's Boléro is a well-paced, wonderfully dynamic crescendo that keeps a pace that holds listeners' interest for its 15-minute duration. The Pavane is suave and sensual with an effortless performance by the BSO's solo horn. Throughout the CD, Ozawa maintains a balance between the diffuse, soft sound so associated with Ravel and the clarity and precision associated with the BSO. This album is absolutely recommended both for novice listeners looking to build their library as well as seasoned collectors.

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