MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS

Maurice RAVEL (1875-1937)
Histoires naturelles (1907) [19:25]
Ronsard à son âme 'Amelette Ronsardelette' (1924) [2:46]
Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1934) [7:07]
Un grand sommeil noir (1895) [4:47]
Les grands vents venus d'outremer (1907) [2:06]
Sur l'herbe 'L'abbé divague. Et toi, marquis' (1907) [2:16]
Chants populaires (1911) [12:12]
Noël des jouets 'Le troupeau verni des moutons' (1907) [3:15]
Deux épigrammes de Clément Marot (1900) [4:46]
Cinq mélodies populaires grècques (1906) [8:00]
Deux mélodies hébraïques (1915) [6:17]
Gerald Finley (baritone); Julius Drake (piano)
rec. 11-13 July 2008, All Saints, East Finchley, London
HYPERION CDA67728 [73:28] 
Experience Classicsonline

Ravel’s songs are less well known than other aspects of his art. Yet they could be the work of no other composer, while at the same time traversing the widest span of his artistic nature. As such, this collection by Gerald Finley and Julius Drake covers that breadth of style and expression, across the range of the composer’s career, from Un grand sommeil noir (1895) to Don Quichotte à Dulcinée (1934).

As ever with Hyperion, the recording is truthful and beautifully balanced, while the documentation and presentation are second to none. The perceptive insert notes by Roger Nichols are excellent too, an important consideration in this repertoire.

The rich timbre of Finley’s voice suits Ravel’s songs well, and Drake has developed into one of the most sensitive accompanists alive today. The vocal subtleties are abundant and finely judged; not since the great Gérard Souzay (eg Testament SBT 1311) has a recording captured the nuances of this repertoire so pleasingly. For Finley’s French, while clearly not as idiomatic as Souzay’s since he is not French, is characterful and thoroughly excellent.

One of the great challenges in the French mélodie tradition, Ravel’s Histoires Naturelles demands musical responsiveness and linguistic dexterity. Finley has both in abundance capturing the natures of Jules Renard’s bird and insect portraits with unerring imagination. This peacock is proud and full of its own importance the guinea-fowl somewhat aggressive, helped in this portrayal by the splendidly trenchant piano phrasing, and the kingfisher very much at home by the river.

Perhaps the Don Quichotte songs might be more mature and knowing in their portrayal of Cervantes’ famous character, where again Souzay sets the benchmark (in the orchestral version, Testament 1312). But with Drake in his element the Iberian dance rhythms that Ravel loved so much, and created here for the last time. In both the Greek folk songs and this group of four Chants populaires Finley indulges but never overdoes the responses to the texts, again with supreme collaborative insights from his pianist. There are some discoveries to be found too, among the byways that help make this such a generously filled disc. Wonderful music too.

Terry Barfoot 




























Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.