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This CD is the fifth and final installment of Maurice Ravel’s Orchestral Works, bringing to a close the highly acclaimed cycle by the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart and its chief conductor Stéphane Denève. Ravel's opera L'enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells) is the second of his two operas and is considered a neglected masterpiece. The libretto is by the famous French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. The recording features a first-class cast of young singers. Slipcase with neutral cover artwork.

Stéphane Denève has produced many outstanding CDs with his Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, among them Poulenc's complete score for Les biches, and orchestral works by Ravel, including L'heure espagnol. He now presents the final installment of the five-part Ravel cycle which includes Ravel’s second opera L'enfant et les sortilèges. Denève selected a first-class cast of young singers, who give a highly enjoyable performance of this lyrical fantasy.

In response to the libretto by Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, L'enfant et les sortiléges teems with imagination, as with so many of Ravel's orchestral works, including his first opera. Ravel creates magical soundscapes, responding to the libretto's surreal subject matter in a highly original manner and with great stylistic freedom. A big inspiration for him was American operetta, an early form of the musical, which was slowly finding its way to Europe at that time. Ravel got to know this style in the musical revues of the Parisian music halls and vaudevilles. He was fascinated both by the “concert salades” of the pianist Jean Wiener, with their colourful mixture of classical and modern music, and by the first jazz bands who appeared in Paris pre-1914 and were enthusiastically received by the French arts scene.

The programme is completed by Ma mère l'oye, 5 pièces enfantines, originally a work for piano four-hands which Ravel orchestrated in 1911 before developing it one year later into a ballet (see installment 93.325)

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