Ravel Stands the Test of Time

These vintage performances from 1971 sounds as good today as they did then.

Composer: Ravel
Repertoire: Daphnis et Chloé Suites; Mother Goose; Boléro
Artists: Royal Concertgebouw/Haitink; Rotterdam Philharmonic/de Waart
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Orchestral
Label: PentaTone Classics PTC 5186 167

Bernard Haitink cut these performances of Ravel back in 1971, and time has done nothing to downgrade their sonic beauty and conceptual clarity. The opening of Daphnis et Chloé highlights the profound subtleties of Ravel’s luminous scoring, with a dazzling smorgasbord of tiny dashes transforming into a painterly soundscape. Haitink handles the famous Finale with authentic refinement, not pushing the hard-sell too heavily. Mother Goose (heard complete) is perched between whimsy and playfulness, with the Royal Concertgebouw characterfully portraying Ravel’s fairy-tale scenarios. The Boléro is a bonus, but plods aimlessly in de Waart’s colourless hands.