Which of Ravel's Bolero CD should I get?


I'm looking to buy a CD featuring Ravel's Bolero and would appreciate your input as to which one to get. My system can only play CDs, HDCDs included, and I would like to get a very good quality recording.

I am only beginning to get into classical, so I don't have enough knowledge to appreciate someone's style vs. another director's style.

Thanks much!
Get the Reference Recording "Bolero" with Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra. Its a compilation disc which includes a lot of execllent performances of Bolero and other up-beat/popular romantic classical music. Highest quality recording, also in HDCD. In fact, if you are looking for introductions to other popular, short, dramatic classical pieces, all of which are instantly assessible, don't overlook other compilation CD's by RR, suchg as "Ports of Call", "Exotic Dances from the Opera", Mephisto & Co", and "Reveries", by the same orchestra, conductor, HDCD and sound/performance quality. As far as compilations these may be all you ever need. And, at worst are an excellent starting point to become familar with various composers sytle in music.

Enjoy. BTW, if you want further diversity in compilation disc's TELARC also has some excellent recordings as well.
There is a great recording by Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra on Polygram, B0000041YR,
and includes five other great Ravel works.
You might also want to try Bolero as conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. This is an older excellent recording, circa 1988 and was very highly rated. I have the CD, which is on Telarc and the catalogue number is CD-80171. If you are interested, someone is actually selling one on ebay. Just plug in Ravel Bolero in your search.
I second the recomendation for Lopez Cobos. Actually three conductors with the Cincinnati Symphony did a nice job. I lived in Cincy for a number of years attended probably 50 or so classical concerts at Music Hall and quite a few in the Summer in the Park. Music Hall has some of the best acoustics I have heard anywhere, although not really present on the recordings. Jarvi succeeded Lopez Cobos - his version is on Telarc with some other nice couplings. The sound is very nice, but then I like the Telarc sound. Jarvi's is fast (13'30") Erich Kunzel also has a version on Telarc which I recently picked up and is not bad but it too is fast. For comparison, reference to Von Karajan and the BPO on DG, coupled with Debussy and Mussorsky. Von Karajan's is at 16'08" and probably at the better tempo. That being said, my first choice is Jarvi's.

You mentioned getting started in classical - a suggestion - there are a couple of decent guides - Penguin's is very comprehensive and I bought it for many years. The last few years I have used the Good Guide more often - put out by Gramaphone. Have not been steered wrong yet. Gramaphone magazine is also worthwhile. One difference you will immediately notice is that Gramaphone magazine readly and regularly points out where an interpretation misses the mark, this is in contrast with audiophile equipment magazines where every piece of equipment is 'great.'

There are an enormous number of CD's of classical works. One thing different about classical music listening from, say rock and roll, is a focus on comparing interpretations by various conductors and performances by various artists and orchetras. Thus, one typically ends up with somewhere between 2 and 10 recordings of a given composition. So it is likely that the recomendations you recieve from your posts will all be very good choices.
Thank you guys. Been looking into your suggestions only to find out now I have another problem: choosing just one!

Seems Telarc is an audiophile-type label. Is Decca one too, or is it a classical-type label? I was expecting to see Deutsche Grammaphon as an audiophile-type label, but it doesn't seem to be...or at least I don't seem to come across those CDs.

Will look into the Good Guide too.

Your answers have been so fast and good I'm going to post another question about buying a Mozart CD.

Thank you very much!
Horatio -

Telarc presents itself as an audiophile label, but I've found their recordings to be satisfying sometimes, and not so satisfying sometimes. After you buy yourself a recording of Bolero, I would rush out and buy the Robert Shaw recording of Stravinsky's Firebird on Telarc. I think all of us would agree that's a super recording of a super performance of some very colorful and thrilling music.

Decca does not really bill itself as an audiophile label, but very often produces superb recordings, and Decca has for decades had access to some of the great orchestras and conductors. Dutoit with Montreal is a great combination for either Ravel or Debussy, and there have been some excellent budget multi-CD issues of Dutoit's Ravel and Debussy. Again, if you like Bolero, you'll probably like most of what you hear by Ravel and Debussy.

Most of us were brought up thinking that Deutsche Grammaphon was THE elegant, premier imported record label (and I'm talking about us folks who are busting past 50 years old). Nowdays, DG has a spottier reputation among audiophiles. For example, vinyl collectors will go after Decca and EMI on a "foaming at the mouth" basis, but will often enough yawn at DG titles. There are many fine recordings in DG's vaults, but some say that DG overdid it with multi-miking, such that the sound of recordings DG made 20 - 30 years ago does not hold up as well as recordings some of the other labels made that were handled more simply.

I hope you enjoy your exploration of classical music. If it works for you, it will open up a lifetime of wonder and depth of expression. I will pass on this comment about Haydn from an old music teacher I had: "You will not really understand Haydn until you learn the language. And you will not learn the language until you spend time listening. Once you learn the language, you can then hear the subtleties and nuance of what he is saying." He said that in response to a comment somebody made about finding Haydn boring. (And that somebody may have been me. Within a few years, though, Haydn became--and still is--one of my favorite composers. It just took some real listening.) That comment applies to much in the classical music world.
I like the one with the topless chick on the cover :)
i second newbee's Reference Recording recommendation, & would also recommend the RCA Living Stereo's Revel Bolero by Charles M√ľnch: Boston Symphony Orchestra.