BBC Music Magazine
To get from the razzmatazz of Gershwin's Cuban Overture to the elevated ecstacy of Wagner's 'Liebestod' requires some dexterous programming. Luckily the compiler's art is alive and adroit at Warner. Gershwin's rumba-writ-large is a natural bedfellow for the Bernstein Dances which sit easily alongside Ravel whose sultry sensuality leads inexorably back to Tristan. They could almost have been made for each other...except that the Gershwin and Bernstein (flagged up as 'First Release 2009') were recorded in 1997, while the Ravel and Wagner date back to '91 and '93 respectively. Used creatively, hindsight is a wonderful thing: here, the resulting programming's actuallymore wonderful than the newly-released performances which have been accorded such as ingenious 'home'. Gershwin's postcard from Havana sounds oddly downbeat and detached; Barenboim almost treats it as a deconstruction of the rumba, a Caribbean La valse without the final cataclysm. The central section languishes self consciously, and there is no mischevious twinkle when the music suddenly shakes off its torpor to readmit the breezy opening.