why Gus loves:
L'enfant et les sortileges
by Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel's short opera L'enfant et les sortileges is for me one of the greatest pieces in the repertoire and one of the greatest works of Ravel. It shows so many different sides of this multi-faceted composer! The genius of his orchestration, from the most miniature to the most remarkable moments of symphonic color, full of humor, tenderness, and magic it is simply...a piece of genius. There is a remarkable recording of this piece conducted by a very young Lorin Maazel with an all French cast of singers. Although it is hard to find many of these singers on other recordings, each is absolutely perfect for this piece and in all ways it seems too good to be true. One can find it as the background music to a ballet version on youtube at the moment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFViB9vrB1E). The dancing in these videos, while very impressive, I find departs too much from the original to be satisfying, but the recording is as terrific as ever.
- Gus Highstein, principal oboe