This recording of the complete Daphnis et Chloé came after a run of stage performances at the Bastille last year and it is a shame the production wasn’t filmed as we need a decent staging on DVD. In that context Jordan’s reading would be more satisfying than this audio only account. The needs of choreography have straight-jacketed his interpretation and while some may enjoy its straightforward, unfussy manner, for many it will come across as bland and paradoxically un-theatrical. Limpid textures and restraint are a pleasure in themselves, but the lack of thrust and dramatic gesture stops the performance from taking flight.
That marvellous opening sequence of mounting voluptuousness should make senses tingle but fails to arouse. Dorcon’s dance is hardly grotesque, and the mocking laughter is half-hearted. The pirate sequences are way too careful. The Bacchanale never quite takes off. The burbling brook at Daybreak is lovingly articulated though, and one does get a frisson with an orgasmic Sunrise.
Similar issues plague La Valse. Wonderful moments are glossed over, the opening devoid of mystery, the final breakdown lacks abandon. There are fine textures, but I wish Jordan would just cut loose. Orchestral playing is fine but not outstanding. Recorded sound is rich and transparent. The booklet has a synopsis of the ballet and reproductions of Bakst’s original designs.