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Maurice Ravel
L'heure espagnole • Shéhérazade
1 CD | 66min | Nr. SWR19016CD
CD 1: » Maurice Ravel: Shéhérazade for voice and Orchestra
» Maurice Ravel: L' heure espagnole (Die spanische Stunde, Comic opera in one act)

This is the 4th installment of our Ravel Orchestral Works Cycle. L'heure espagnole has been undeservedly neglected. The recording features a first-class cast of singers, supported by the SWR Orchestra Stuttgart.

Ravel’s predilection for fantasy worlds and exotic ambience can be heard in many of his orchestral works. Even as a student he composed the Ouverture de Shéhérazade and had planned to write an opera based on the fairy tales of the Arabian Nights. In the end, all that remains are three poems for voice and orchestra. Stéphanie d'Oustrac sings these songs rapturously and with exactly the right feel for oriental opulence.

The main work on this CD, however, is of course the comic opera L'heure espagnole, which touches on another subject that attracted Ravel: Spain. The score reminds one of musical accompaniments to old silent movies; the rich instrumentation includes chimes, cuckoo pipes, celesta and many percussion instruments. These bring to life the ambient sounds of the watchmaker’s shop, in which the story of Concepcion and her lovers takes place. An excellent cast of singers, supported by a highly responsive orchestra – what more could one ask for?