François-Xavier Roth, Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, displays his deep affinity with the music of Debussy and Ravel on his latest LSO Live album. A fascination with his Spanish heritage would be a recurring theme in many of Ravel’s creations.
Mysterious melodies weave delicately throughout his early work Rapsodie espagnole (Spanish Rhapsody), punctuated by bursts of Spanish-inspired fanfares and Habanera dance rhythms. The voluptuous flute opening of the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) immediately conjures a world of luxurious fantasy, weaving through the music’s changing scenes with effortless spontaneity. Every instrument adds something unique, and the whole work floats free of form and convention.
In La Mer (The Sea), Debussy tells the story of the eternal odyssey of the ocean. He sails through storm and calm, wind, and rain, in music that rises and falls with the rhythms of the sea. The score is so vivid that you can almost smell sea salt and see the crests of the waves.
London Symphony Orchestra
Francois-Xavier Roth – Conductor
TracklistPlease note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Total time: 00:49:07
Horus, Merging Technologies
Pyramix, Merging Technologies
Jonathan Stokes, for Classic Sound Ltd
|Original Recording Format|
Neil Hutchinson and Jonathan Stokes, for Classic Sound Ltd
Recorded live in DSD 256fs on *25 April 2019, and in DSD 128fs on **25 January 2018 and ***25 & 28 March 2018 at the Barbican, London
|Recording Type & Bit Rate|
DSD 256 (2019) and DSD 128 (2019)
|Release Date||October 23, 2020|
NativeDSD Senior Reviewer
Just get it. Highly recommended!
The LSO’s principal guest conductor has recorded Debussy’s great symphonic canvas La mer with his own period-instrument band, Les Siècles, in Paris. He chooses the same work — surely the greatest of all French orchestral compositions — for his first mainstream repertoire release.
A disciple of Pierre Boulez, Roth has the same analytical clarity and ear for sonorities but brings a surging emotional engagement to Debussy’s sea pictures, with gorgeous solo clarinet playing (Chris Richards) in the “dialogue of the wind and the sea” finale.
Gareth Davies’s flute is no less charismatic as the protagonist of Debussy’s seminal sketch of a languid, provocative faun, while Roth relishes Ravel’s tribute to Spanish music — inherited from his Basque mother — in a flamboyant account, superlatively played, of Rapsodie espagnole.
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