Loosely translated as "Spanish time", L'heure espagnole, suggests a semi-Tantric deferment of erotic abandon. Every nation has preconceptions about other nations' sex lives, particularly when those other nations enjoy a warmer, disinhibiting climate. Yet the conceit of Ravel's Spanish comedy, now playing at Glyndebourne in Laurent Pelly's double bill, depends on time-keeping that we British would characterise as Swiss in its efficiency. For all the vampish Hispanic chromatics and butch, glittering percussion, it is the tick of three clocks that dominates the French composer's score.
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