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Ravel: L'œuvre pour Orchestre 2 - Cluytens

Ravel: L'œuvre pour Orchestre 2 - Cluytens

Warner Music (Japan)  WPGS-10013

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral


Ravel: Daphnis et Chloe*, Le Tombeau de Couperin, Alborada del gracioso, Menuet antique, Une barque sur l'ocean, Pavane pour une infante defunte

Chœurs René Duclos*
Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire
André Cluytens (conductor)

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Comment by Tony Reif - January 24, 2018 (1 of 7)

All these 2017 Cluytens SACDs are said (on the CD Japan website) to be using the 2017 24/96 remasters from analogue, which were done by Art et Son for the Cluytens Complete Orchestral Recordings CD box and for high-res download, not the 2011 or later Abbey Road remasters issued previously on Toshiba-EMI and Erato SACDs. Has anyone compared the sound of any of these new SACDs to the old ones, or to the box set or the new downloads? One customer on Amazon reports that the two new Ravels sound worse than the CD versions of the same masters, which is mystifying. Could Warners Japan fiddling have resulted in what he calls "more harsh on the top end and the bottom isn't as warm and sweet"?

Comment by breydon_music - January 27, 2018 (2 of 7)

I have bought the new SACD remasters of the Ravel Cluytens to replace the old Toshiba EMI hybrid set. My route to this was via the Roussel Cluytens SACD, also one of the same 2017 remasters but not previously available in hi-res. The sound on that (to my ears and through my system at any rate) was so stunning - excellent frequency range and inner orchestral detail - but also clearly generically the same sound picture as the Ravels that I decided to take a punt on re-buying them. In case anyone thinks I am super-rich or insane or both my logic for this was: a) that I could sell whichever set I thought was inferior to offset the cost of the punt, and b) the 2 new single layer Ravel SACD's each contain 2 volumes of the original issues, making them actually cheaper. In the event, I sold the old set and more than covered my costs. For me, the enhanced sound is more than worth the investment - that now historical uniquely French orchestral sound is still there but with improved dynamics and inner clarity. Of course others may hear it all differently, but if you really care about these performances and can afford the price asked I would certainly recommend them. Now on the same basis of trust I just need to save up and replace my older Bizet Cluytens disc with the new one . . .

Comment by Tony Reif - January 27, 2018 (3 of 7)

Thanks, meanwhile I received my copy of the new Ravel v.1 and to my ears it sounds great, though I have nothing to compare it with except Tidal's 16/44.1 stream. Btw Cluytens' Complete Orchestral Recordings is available as two 24/96 downloads - one for the mono recordings and one for the stereo.

Comment by Athenaeus - October 7, 2021 (4 of 7)

I recently listened to this disc and its companion, WPGS-10012. What a wonderful set!

Over a period of a few years EMI, and then Warner, were churning out the gems of their back-catalogue on SACDs that tended to offer little in terms of sonic improvement. But these two discs seem to be something different. They sound excellent! I must admit I don't have the vinyls nor the RBCDs so I can't make any comparisons. But you can't help but think a careful remastering was done for these releases when you listen to them. The presentation and the booklet seem to have been lovingly done, although I can't fully appreciate it as it's all mostly in Japanese. Plus, these are single-layer SACDs, not hybrids like most other Warner re-releases. Thus, they seem to have been a special project and not just another pair of so-so EMI-slash-Warner SACDs.

(Most of you have probably noticed that Warner are no longer doing SACD re-releases. Fortunately, Tower Records are now doing it for them and those discs have generally been quite good.)

I wasn't familiar with these recordings before. I thoroughly enjoyed them. Of course, I already had all these works in my collection with various other conductors. But I found these interpretations gave me a deeper appreciation of Ravel's music. And the playing of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris (phew, what a mouthful!) is so beautiful on these recordings.

These two discs were released in 2017 but they're still available. So, buy them while you can if you're interested.

I bought Jean Martinon's Ravel recordings that Tower Records put out a few months ago. I'm glad I jumped on that set shortly after it was released because it's now sold out. Anyway, I haven't listened to it yet but I soon will be and I'm curious to hear how it compares to Cluytens's traversal.

Comment by Contrapunctus - October 13, 2021 (5 of 7)

Thank you, Athenaeus. Because of your comment, I led myself be talked into buying both SACDs now...

Comment by Athenaeus - October 13, 2021 (6 of 7)

Well, I hope you'll still be thanking me after having listened to them. :-)

(I.e. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did.)

Comment by Contrapunctus - October 16, 2021 (7 of 7)

After listening through a few pieces of the 1st volume (la valse, ma mère l'oye) I'm totally in love with these recordings. Thank you again, Athenaeus, for your enthusiastic recommendation. And like Athenaeus, I wasn't familiar with these recordings before either. Apart from interpretative aspects, sacd sound is quite impressive. In this regard, it's for me almost in the same league as Dorati's 'classic' Firebird (LSO, 1959) in its StereoSound incarnation.