- 30 March, 2009
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Recorded in Nashville’s beautiful Laura Turner Concert Hall, Naxos presents the latest recording from the Grammy®-winning Nashville Symphony. Joined by the Chicago and Nashville Symphony Choruses, the Chattanooga Boys Choir and conductor Alastair Willis, the Nashville Symphony performs Ravel’s 1925 opera L’Enfant et les sortilèges, and his beloved cycle for soprano and orchestra, Shéhérazade. Soloists include Julie Boulianne, Genevi ève Després Kirsten Gunlogson Philippe Castagner Ian Greenlaw, Kevin Short Agathe Martel Cassandre Prévost and Julie Cox.
Being released just in time for the 84th anniversary of its first performance, Ravel received the script for L’enfant et les sortilèges from French novelist Colette in 1917 but did not complete the work until 1924. The opera tells the story of an ill-behaved child who meets a rude awakening when the inanimate objects in his nursery and garden come to life and turn on him. The libretto offers many opportunities for the soloists to provide witty depictions of the various objects that seek their revenge on the young child, such as the damaged grandfather clock, the belligerent teapot, the Ragtime singing teacups, the personification of arithmetic (a crazed professor), and the duet by the amusing cats.
Ravel told his friend Hélène Jourdan-Morhange that L’enfant contained many musical styles: Massenet, Puccini, Monteverdi and American musical comedy. In creatively weaving these many moods, Ravel surely found a lighthearted way to convey that message that actions have consequences and that a civilized society would not exist without care for the world around us.
Shéhérazade is actually the title of two works by Ravel. The first is Shéhérazade, ouverture de féerie, written in 1898 for orchestra. The second (Shéhérazade), which is heard on this recording, was written in 1903 as a song cycle for orchestra after three poems by Tristan Klingsor: Asie, La flûte enchantée, and L’indifférent.