From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of Don Cox
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2003 3:12 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Bolero by Ravel the definitive version?
On 06/08/03, Mike Richter wrote:
> To my knowledge, there is no one performance which can be considered
> definitive of this or any other substantial work. For example, one
> might consider Stravinsky's recordings of his own music "definitive"
> except that the 'definition' changes as his interpretation varies in
> different recordings of the same work.
There may be several excellent recordings of a major work available, but
there are often also several which for one reason or another are not
For a person getting to know a piece for the first time, a fairly
"straight" performance in reasonably modern sound will be best. For
example, I would not direct a beginner to Furtwangler or Mengelberg, or
even to Toscanini. Their great but personal performances, in sound which
does present a barrier, are better appreciated when you already know the
piece fairly well, IMO.
Ravel's Bolero is a special case as it is really a technical exercise
which needs no interpretation, just accurate playing.
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Well, perhaps I should point out that Kurtz Myers started a "Record Ratings"
section in the Music Library Association's "Notes". A accumulation of some
of those was produced in a book by Crown Publishers entitle "Record
Ratings". I don't know if that has been continued, but someone in a music
library could point to these ratings (how the reviewers rated a particular
recording) and these could help.
With regard to Stravinsky's work, "The Fairy's Kiss" performance by the
Mexico City Orchestra with Stravinsky conducting has been sought after,
because in an interview Stravinsky said he thought it was the best rendition
of the piece (at least at the time.) However, there were apparently only
two extant recordings available and one was broken in trying to dub onto
tape, which led to a flurry of research to replace it back in 1965-66.