Notes and Editorial Reviews
Barenboim made a lot of forgettable recordings during his tenure in Paris, and he never seemed to have much feeling for French music. This disc, though, represents an exception. It may not be the best Debussy out there. The Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is quite slow and a tad droopy, but there’s a shimmering, atmospheric quality to the sonorities that somehow sounds very “impressionist,” and it makes the performance fun to listen to.
The Nocturnes are particularly successful. Nuages drifts without dragging; Fêtes has plenty of color and fire, while Sirènes has to be one of the most magical on disc. The women’s voices are particularly well balanced against the orchestra, and they have just the right bright
timbre. La Mer also has many evocative moments, especially in the latter half of the first movement. The central “Play of the Waves” has a memorable fluidity (I know, it’s water, but it can sound awfully lumpish in some performances).
The Orchestre de Paris was formerly the Paris Conservatory Orchestra, but by the time these recordings were made (1978) all of those distinctively French timbres had long since been wrung out of the ensemble. Nevertheless, it seems that for these sessions a bit of the old French flair returned, and Barenboim has the good sense to revel in it.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra by Claude Debussy
Written: 1897-1899; France
Length: 25 Minutes 42 Secs.
La mer by Claude Debussy
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1903-1905; France
Length: 23 Minutes 55 Secs.
Be the first to review this title