replay: Ravel: The Last Six Compositions (1928-34) Pedro de Freitas Branco, Piero Coppola, Alfred Cortot, Marguerite Long, Charles Munch, Martial Singher (Recorded 1930-1939) (EMI Classics 5 65499 2))
Friday 12 January 1996
As to the Left Hand Concerto, Alfred Cortot makes highly personal poetry of the closing cadenza but tends to fumble elsewhere. Marguerite Long is neat and nimble in the G major Concerto with snappy but occasionally confused support under Pedro de Freitas Branco (and not Ravel, as was originally supposed); Coppola directs a taut and imaginatively inflected Menuet antique; and then there are the vocal items - three songs, Don Quichotte a Dulcinee, composed for a film starring Chaliapin but never used, and the sublime Ronsard a son ame, so powerfully reminiscent of L'Enfant et les Sortileges and, like the Don Quichotte songs, superbly sung by the baritone Martial Singher. EMI's transfers are miraculously quiet and clear.
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