Friday 04 November, 2022

The Basque National Orchestra and Robert Trevino launch to the international market their new album, ‘Ravel 2’

The Basque National Orchestra and Robert Trevino launch to the international market their new album, ‘Ravel 2’

The Ondine record label signs this album that includes the world's first recording of the orchestration by Pierre Boulez for the work ‘Frontispice’, as well as a complete recording of the ballet score ‘Ma mére l’Oye’.

It has already received the recognition of "excellent album" in the prestigious Gramophone Magazine. The album is available on all the main digital platforms.

Ravel 2 arrives after the huge success achieved with the first album dedicated to the composer from Ziburu. The first recording, focused on his more Basque production, included his most well-known works and has received the highest praise and glowing reviews in specialised media across the world. Ravel 2 focuses on the French side of this composer's work. The album, like the previous one recorded with the Ondine record label, includes the world's first recording of the orchestration for Frontispice by French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez, as well as a complete recording of the ballet score Ma mère l'Oye. Valses nobles et sentimentales, Menuet Antique and Shéhérezade (Ouverture de féerie) complete this new recording launched on 4 November to the international market. This recording, with a duration of 70 minutes, was made in December 2021 at the Basque National Orchestra's headquarters in Miramon.

Ravel 2. Grabazioa / Grabación. Robert Trevino

As described by the chief conductor of the Basque National Orchestra, Robert Trevino, in the booklet of the new album: “The first Ravel album I recorded with the Basque National Orchestra concentrated on the works that show the composer's Spanish-Basque facet. In this volume, the music material is not so explicitly Basque, in terms of the tempos or having been written in Basque towns or cities. However, it is the continuation of our exploration of the work by a great Basque composer, with whose music the Basque National Orchestra has had a long relationship. This time, the repertoire shows Ravel’s French side to a larger extent” (see Robert Trevino’s complete notes below).

Since he began his role as chief conductor Robert Trevino has sought to explore in depth Ravel’s Basque identity, and share with the world what the Basque National Orchestra knows and understands about this composer’s language. And he has been doing this throughout his five years at the helm of the orchestra. To mention a few milestones linked to Ravel during his tenure as chief conductor, Trevino and the Basque National Orchestra have presented Ravel's music in several Season programmes, as well as at the prestigious Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, where the orchestra made its first performance in early 2020. Now, these two recent recordings with Ondine are also joined by a tour in Poland planned for March 2023, where the chief conductor and orchestra will travel to with Ravel's Boléro.

 

 

International success of the recordings with Ondine

 

This is the third recording that the Basque National Orchestra and Robert Trevino make together with the prestigious Finnish Ondine label, which belongs to the Naxos group. The prestigious classical music magazine Gramophone has already published the first review received by this new record and has described it as an “excellent album”.

The first album, Ravel, received praise and acknowledgements such as ‘Recording of the Month’ from the main media in places such as Japan, Australia, France and the USA; as well as five-star reviews in reputable publications such as Classica and Classics Today. Later, the orchestra made another recording with Ondine entitled Americascapes and focused on little-known American composers. This recording has also received similar recognition, including a nomination for the Gramophone for ‘Best Orchestral Recording', ‘Recording of the Year 2021’ from Presto Music (United Kingdom), ‘Recording of the Month’ from PhonoForum, ‘Recording of the Month’ from Limelight and five stars from Classics Today and Classica. Alex Ross, from The New Yorker, praised both albums as "surprisingly excellent” and “superb”.

 

 

Where to get the album ‘Ravel 2’

 

The album can be obtained in physical format upon request at retailers and is available on the main digital platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, etc.

 

 

Complete notes by Robert Trevino on ‘Ravel 2’ 

 

In my first Ravel album with the Basque National Orchestra, we focused on works that display the Spanish-Basque side of the French-Basque composer (Ravel was born in Ciboure, in the French side of the Basque Country, and many of his works incorporate aspects of Basque culture). In this volume, the musical material is not so explicitly Basque – In terms of specific Basque rhythms, or having been written in the Basque towns or cities. But it is a continuation of our exploration of an oeuvre by a great Basque composer, with whose music the Basque National Orchestra has a long relationship. The repertoire this time around represents much more of the French side of Ravel’s French-Basqueness; from Ma mère l ´Oye being expanded into a ballet, and Shéhérazade being composed in an ornate, French impressionist style.

Frontispice is a particularly interesting inclusion in this respect, because it’s a very unusual three-minute piece, originally for two pianos, which is really conceptual, modernist French music, in many ways much closer to the music of Messiaen than to Debussy. And this arrangement that we’ve recorded was orchestrated by that preeminent Ravel champion and great French conductor, Pierre Boulez.

So whereas our first album was a statement of Ravel’s Basqueness, this one respects the fact that he is also French. The Valses nobles et sentimentales is another good instance – In contrast to the savagery of La Valse, which was included in volume one, Valses nobles et sentimentales is a rambunctious but extremely elegant set of waltzes, of the kind that one might have heard in Paris, with influences pouring in from Vienna. When I listen to this work I always feel that I am somewhere around Montmartre!

Incidentally, this complex mesh of French and Basque influences in Ravel is echoed in the Basque Country itself – where we feel a great kinship with the French (if you boat down the canal in San Sebastian you could easily find yourself reminiscing about the Seine, with its grey rooftops to your side) – and in our orchestra, many of whose musicians were trained in Paris. So naturally the French tradition from the Paris Conservatoire is felt in the orchestra, and in Basque composers such as Ramon Lazkano or José Maria Usandizaga. Many of our musicians also live across the border in France and commute across this very dynamic frontier between France and Spain. Ravel operated in that same space, feeling the same gravitational pulls of the Iberian Peninsula and France. And even at his most French, Ravel’s music often still has a directness, a concision and a solidity that I find rather Basque in nature.

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