Although from different generations and styles, the three works on this disc are a good sample of Madrid’s avant-garde and musical concerns of the last thirty years, preoccupations and creative concepts which, from the traditional and classical reminiscences of Tomás Marco’s Concierto para violonchelo y orquesta (1974-1976), culminate and come to fullness in the perfect and meticulous language of Olavide’s Tránsito (1992) and Adagio con variaciones (sobre un Adagio de Hugo Wolf) by Alfredo Aracil (1997).
Olavide studied composition initially with Victorino Echevarría at the Conservatorio Superior de Madrid, then in Belgium at the conservatories of Antwerp and Brussels. He attended the Darmstadt Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik where he worked with Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio, and later studied with Karlheinz Stockhausen and Henri Pousseur at the Second, Third, and Fourth Cologne Courses for New Music in 1964–65, 1965–66, and 1966–67. For twenty years he lived and worked in Geneva, returning to Spain in 1991. Olavide composed orchestral, chamber, solo, and electronic music. In 1986 he received the Premio Nacional de Música, and in 2001 the Premio Reina Sofia.
After their highly acclaimed recordings of Arriaga's complete works, Paul Dombrecht and his splendid Il Fondamento ensemble bring his orchestral works to us with the same level of performance. With their unique mixture of lyricism and science, breathtaking from such a young composer, the four works assembled here build a most welcome integral recording on period instruments, performed with the most communicative warmth ……
For listeners who prefer their Ravel lushly textured, luminously colored, and luxuriantly impressionistic, this four-disc set of his orchestral music performed by Charles Dutoit and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal will be just the thing. Recorded between 1981 and 1995 in warmly opulent Decca sound and including all the canonical works plus the two piano concerts and the opera L'Enfant et les sortiléges, Dutoit's approach to Ravel is decidedly sensual, even tactile. One can feel the excitement in the closing "Dance générale" of Daphnis et Chloé, sense the energy in La Valse, smell the sea in Une barque sur l'océan, and touch the dancer's flushed skin in Boléro. This is not to say that details are lost in Dutoit's performances – with the superlative playing of the Montreal orchestra, one can assuredly hear everything in the scores. Nor is this to say that Dutoit neglects the music's clear shapes and lucid forms – with a decisive beat and a clean technique, Dutoit's interpretations are models of clarity. But it is assuredly to assert that, for sheer aural beauty, these recordings cannot be beat. With the very virtuosic and very French playing of Pascal Rogé in the two piano concertos plus very characterful singing in L'Enfant, this set will be mandatory listening for all those who love Ravel.