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Sir Simon Rattle leads the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra to dizzying heights.
Composer: Debussy and Ravel
Repertoire: Orchestral Works
Artists: Soloists, Berlin Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra/Simon Rattle
Label: EMI Classics 514 5652
Before Simon Rattle’s ascent to the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic, his impact on musical life here in Britain risked being taken for granted. This wonderfully consistent set is a reminder that, in this kind of repertory at least, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra delivered world-class results for him. The Ravel recordings include a rapturous Shéhérazade (what a fabulous singer Maria Ewing was at her best) and Percy Grainger’s magical orchestration of the piano piece La Vallée des cloches (‘The Valley of Bells’). In the more recent second of the five discs, the Berlin Philharmonic’s Debussy dazzles also, particularly La mer and Prélude à l’après-midi.