January 3, 2010


(Charles Munch - Widely respected - you could take his Ravel interpretations to the bank)

Today we're dipping into the archives for some of the early "high fidelity" recordings made by Decca (London in the U.S.) Records just after World War 2. Decca had been experimenting with a new process they called Full Frequency Range Recording which promised a much better overall sound to recordings - making them much clearer and cleaner than the rather muddled and constrained sounding discs made before the War.

So beginning in 1946, Decca set out to record a series of sessions using this technique, mostly with British orchestras, but in the case of this recording, a session featuring The Paris Conservatoire who were on tour in the UK, lead by their principle conductor Charles Munch.

One of the first pieces cut during these sessions on October 8, 1946 was Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe Suites 1 and 2. It was issued in the U.S. as set EDA 29 and was given rave reviews and signaled a new era in recording. Less than three years later Decca/London released the first lp's to the market and FFRR became the trademark and the benchmark for high quality recordings.

Although this is a 78 set, and the shellac (the pressing material of the time) was the same as it always was, there is a noticeable difference in sound from purely a dynamic point of view.

At any rate. It's Ravel done by an orchestra and conductor who knew the composer backwards and forwards - and their sound is unmistakable.

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