Dullish Daphnis From Nézet-Séguin

Review by: David Hurwitz

RavelNezet

Artistic Quality: 6

Sound Quality: 9

Gotta love that cover photo–conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin arms outstretched, mouth agape like a baby bird waiting for mommy bird to fly by and drop in a worm. It’s the most interesting thing about this otherwise wholly unnecessary release. Not that the interpretation doesn’t have personal touches: there are plenty of those. They just work against the music, at least most of the time.

This performance is either very quick, or very slow. The unusually slow bits mostly occur at the beginning, and in the transitional material–especially in the first part–just where the ballet needs to press forward into the next major number. The quick bits involve the episodes that you might expect, such as the scene in the pirate’s camp. As a result of this stop-and-start approach, the work’s symphonic continuity falls apart. At no point does the music achieve the necessary rhythmic point. Accents are consistently weak, dynamics subdued. The brass are backwardly placed, and the entire performance seems to take place through a barrier of gauze. It’s not the fault of the engineering, which is lovely.

There are too many fine performances of Daphnis to waste your time and money on this one. The addition of the Pavane changes nothing. It sounds like it always does. Stick with the reference recordings indicated below.



Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

Reference Recording: Munch 2 (RCA); Boulez (DG); Ozawa (DG)


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