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Colin Matthews: The Debussy Preludes / Elder, Halle Orchestra

Debussy / Matthews / Halle Orch / Elder
Release Date: 01/11/2011 
Label:  Hallé   Catalog #: 7527   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Claude DebussyColin Matthews
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 36 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Simon Rattle recorded three of these arrangements, drearily, but these performances are far more colorful and appealing. Matthews' orchestrations have many fine qualities, and a few problems. He tends to overuse the harp, which makes a poor substitute for the original piano figuration, particularly in an orchestral context, and he's positively allergic to the upper woodwinds, a most uncharacteristic decision. The result places the timbral emphasis on strings, harp, soft brass (usually in sustained chords), and percussion, and the result is more blurry than the piano originals, a sound that's almost too "impressionistic".

This means that Matthews is best at the most impressionistic pieces: the two "wind"
Read more preludes, Ondine, Fireworks, and anything involving moonlight, night, and so forth. He catches the grotesque humor of General Lavine very well, and the crepuscular, haunting sounds of Dead Leaves (the contrabassoon is the one wind instrument he favors). Puck's Dance, though, is anything but puckish, and The Engulfed Cathedral is surprisingly tacky, with too many bells and not enough majesty. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair sounds more like the Adagietto of Mahler's Fifth (think: strings and harp).

Despite these occasional reservations, which will necessarily be a matter of personal taste, the scoring (idiomatic or not) is always sensitive, tasteful, and carefully thought out. Matthews includes as an encore a piece of his own: Monsieur Croche, a tribute to Debussy that fits very nicely with the preludes. As already suggested, the performances are bold and colorful, and wonderfully played, complemented by first-rate engineering. You may not agree with all of Matthews' decisions, but then that's part of the fun, isn't it? Strongly recommended.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Préludes, Book 2: no 1, Broulliards by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 4 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2.
Préludes, Book 1: no 7, Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3.
Préludes, Book 1: no 12, Minstrels by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
4.
Préludes, Book 2: no 10, Canope by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
5.
Préludes, Book 1: no 4, Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
6.
Préludes, Book 2: no 3, La puerta del vino by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
7.
Préludes, Book 2: no 6, General Lavine - eccentric by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
8.
Préludes, Book 2: no 2, Feuilles mortes by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
9.
Préludes, Book 2: no 11, Les tierces alternées by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
10.
Préludes, Book 1: no 11, La danse de Puck by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 3 Minutes 6 Secs. 
11.
Préludes, Book 1: no 3, Le vent dans la plaine by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
12.
Préludes, Book 1: no 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Date of Recording: 08/02/2006 
Venue:  BBC Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Ma 
Length: 5 Minutes 7 Secs. 
13.
Préludes, Book 1: no 1, Danseuses de Delphes by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
14.
Préludes, Book 1: no 9, La sérénade interrompue by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
15.
Préludes, Book 1: no 6, Des pas sur la neige by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
Date of Recording: 05/04/2008 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 21 Secs. 
16.
Préludes, Book 2: no 4, Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
17.
Préludes, Book 1: no 2, Voiles by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
18.
Préludes, Book 2: no 9, Hommage à S Pickwick Esq P.P.M.P.C. by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
19.
Préludes, Book 2: no 7, La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 32 Secs. 
20.
Préludes, Book 2: no 5, Bruyères by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
21.
Préludes, Book 2: no 8, Ondine by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
22.
Préludes, Book 1: no 5, Les collines d'Anacapri by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
23.
Préludes, Book 2: no 12, Feux d'artifice by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 7 Secs. 
24.
Préludes, Book 1: no 10, La cathédrale engloutie by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; France 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 37 Secs. 
25.
Postlude "Monsieur Croche" by Colin Matthews
Conductor:  Mark Elder
Period: 20th Century 
Venue:  Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 50 Secs. 

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