New Robert Fripp collaboration and classic Ravel on Society of Sound

Theo Travis and Robert Fripp - Discretion

Fripp originally came to widespread public attention via his group King Crimson but his performance and recording career has spanned five decades including work with Brian Eno, David Bowie and Grinderman.

Flautist and saxophonist Theo Travis is a regular collaborator and Discretion is their third album together. The music follows on from the duo’s previous album releases and combines almost telepathic interplay with a deep understanding of musical texture and space, the building of long slow melodies, and the creation of slowly shifting harmonic soundscapes.

King Crimson fans will also not be disappointed with presence of the melodic theme The Power to Believe from the album of the same name. This opens and closes this album with a very atmospheric version of the tune played on soprano saxophone over moody guitar soundscapes beginning and ending the album in a similar and satisfying way.

The LSO Live recording this month captures one strand of Gergiev’s French-themed season with the LSO in 2009 -2010, bringing together several of Ravel’s dance-inspired pieces, chief among them Daphnis and Chloé. Gergiev is a natural narrator of ballet scores and paces this performance of Daphnis brilliantly.

Despite also having its origins in ballet, Ravel’s Boléro is now regarded as a stand-alone piece for ‘solo’ orchestra – a ritual for the concert hall which, ideally, the conductor animates without seeming to. It’s fair to say that Gergiev gave fairly minimal direction to the players in concert, though perhaps not quite as zen as the direction Ravel is said to have given when conducting the piece in 1930. The LSO’s performance was also captured on a DVD which Bowers and Wilkins has made available as a HD download, so those interested can actually check out Gergiev’s body language in this piece if they wish.

Finally, anyone who thinks the maestro’s musical interests are restricted to big, impactful orchestral works might care to listen to the remaining work on this disc, the Pavane pour une infante défunte. With its hushed dynamics and languid tempi it makes for an unvarnished interlude between the two grander pieces, and shows Gergiev at his most tender and unshowy.

Both recordings are available in studio-quality 24-bit format as well as 16-bit formats.

6 Comments

  • Lee Nixon says:

    I really must stop buying albums. Last three were Portico Quartet, Dub Colossus & Ravel’s Bolero.

    Each one right before it’s release on Society of Sound!

  • Martin says:

    I am becoming increasingly tired of what’s becoming the Mahler appreciation Society. I don’t particularly like Mahler, but I don’t appear to have a choice save to not renew my subscription.

    I will probably go down that route. As an aside I think it would have been fair to say, early on, that the predominant composer was to be Mahler (he has been represented far more, in these recordings than minor composers such as Bach or Mozart).

  • Paul van der Horst says:

    Ravel’s Bolero is wonderfull. Nice piece of music and good quality recording.
    I specially liked the movie since you can see the expressions etc. Played Ravel quite often this month.

  • Mark Weston says:

    The recent album release of Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloe was a welcome one with a fine performance of the LSO and a sumptious recording of their work. However it is marred when movements are not kept in continous flow. Aside from appropriate pauses in the Ravel work, it should be recorded and presented as a whole work. This is a ballet after all. It is very disconcerting when the same last note of one movement is not butted up against the start of the next movement with the same musical note. It sounds like a hiccup and breaks the musical train of thought. Is anybody listening to the entire work for continuity and flow? You did this in your release of Bethoveen’s 5th Symphony, and the hicup of sound was not welcomed. This problem in Daphis et Chloe should fixed and then re-released.

  • Bowers & Wilkins says:

    Hi Mark,

    We don’t change the LSO Live recordings, we offer them exactly as the LSO have created them so unfortunately we won’t be able to re-release the Ravel.

    Kind regards
    Society of Sound

  • Popey says:

    @Mark Weston: Just a thought – the problem you describe with gaps between movements may have nothing to do with the recording. It could be that your player doesn’t support gapless playback.
    I had a similar problem with my Cambridge Audio NP30E, which was fixed with a recent firmware update.

    Cheers

    Popey

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