A Basque Orchestra playing Ravel

In the simply titled Ondine CD Ravel Robert Trevino conducts the Basque National Orchestra in La Valse, Alborada del gracioso, Rapsodie espagnole, Une barque sur l’océan, Pavane pour une infante défunte, and Bolero.

In the extensively annotated accompanying booklet Trevino shares his insights on the music of Ravel:

“Ravel embodies many different labels – French, Basque, he also wrote Spanish music. The Basque National Orchestra too has different facets. It is headquartered in San Sebastian just a few kilometers from the French border, where there is a confluence and flow of French, and of course Spanish, influences in the area.”

“Many of our musicians live in France and travel across the border every day and this fluidity makes sense for us… Yet for all this fluidity, the orchestra is unmistakably of the Basque people and culture. “

The Basque National Orchestra sounds marvelous under Trevino’s baton and Trevino draws from them a wonderfully idiomatic performance, taking deliberately slow tempi that allow the musicians plenty of breathing room to play with the necessary suppleness to bring out all the orchestral color that Ravel injected into his music.

Particularly in La Valse the orchestra and its conductor mine the danceable quality of the music – precisely what Ravel conceived it to be: a ballet celebrating the waltz as a celebration of life.

Interestingly, Trevino gives the melancholy Pavane pour une infante défunte a reasonably moderate tempo, rather than that of a funeral dirge.

Elsewhere in the CD the orchestra delivers fiery renditions of Alborada del Gracioso and Rapsodie espagnole both quintessentially Iberian works, rather than French music trying to be Spanish.

The CD is beautifully engineered and produced.

Rafael de Acha             ALL ABOUT THE ARTS