Sensuous, lushly evocative and intricately constructed, Maurice Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé is widely regarded as his greatest orchestral masterpiece and one of the 20th century’s finest ballet scores. This vast musical fresco with its shimmering harmonies, magical diaphanous textures and spectacular conclusion is compellingly realised by Gustavo Gimeno and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg in this eagerly awaited release. The album also contains the haunting and exquisite Pavane pour une infante défunte and the vividly scored Une barque sur l'océan.
Stravinsky regarded Daphnis et Chloé as “not only Ravel’s best work, but also one of the most beautiful products of French music” and it’s easy to see why. Written with consummate finesse for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, this “choreographic symphony” is an intoxicating blend of warm, seductive harmonies and passionate intensity, realised on a large orchestral canvas. Three movements have become perennially popular: the luxuriant Lever du jour, the enchanting Pantomine and the raucous Danse générale (Bacchanale) which Ravel incorporated in the later Daphnis and Chloé Suite No. 2. Elsewhere, Ravel displays the same deftness of touch with the much-loved Pavane pour une infante défunte and Une barque sur l'océan, both masterly orchestrations of his charming piano miniatures.
“Gimeno cultivates … a bright, transparent orchestral sound free of dull pathos and also rediscovers colours in this score,” wrote the Trierischer Volksfreund in 2014. “[...] Wonderful! This conductor is a discovery!”
This is Gustavo Gimeno’s third recording with the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg (OPL) for PENTATONE following two releases in May 2017 of orchestral works by Bruckner and Shostakovich. A further six projects are planned in the coming years.
“We’re very excited to make this multi-album collaboration with PENTATONE part of the artistic journey of the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg and Gustavo Gimeno,” writes Matthew Studdert-Kennedy, Head of Artistic Planning at the OPL. “Having the opportunity to commit to a series of recordings of music by a broad range of composers is hugely rewarding for all involved … We believe that the albums ahead of us have a great deal to offer.”