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Debussy: Orchestral Works / Deneve, Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Debussy / Royal Scottish National Orch / Deneve
Release Date: 05/29/2012 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 5102   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National OrchestraWomen Of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This is Debussy in the great French tradition, the sort of playing and conducting that used to be associated with national schools of performance. Of course, Stéphane Denève comes from the right school, but you have to care enough about it to cultivate the aesthetic, and for much of the 20th century French musical institutions did their best to trash everything that was great in the pre-War style. The situation with orchestras was even worse. Not that French orchestras were great in a technical sense; largely they were not, but they were distinctive in a way that was particularly well suited to French repertoire, and they contained superb individual players. This is why orchestras with
Read more a similar sonority, such as the Czech Philharmonic, with lean strings and prominent, colorful winds, often with a touch of tangy vibrato in the brass, play the music so well to this day.

What Denève has done is recreate this sonority in his Debussy performances, and the result is marvelous. This is no mean feat. Today’s orchestras do not naturally take to this style of playing, but this less blended, more individual approach was in fact the “authentic” sound of the late 19th and early 20th century. Debussy orchestrates in layers, and however fuzzy or “impressionistic” the resultant sonority, these layers should remain distinct. This means that woodwind timbres must often balance the strings, as they do in this performance of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, with tellingly supple results. Jeux, that miracle of slithery half-tints and suggestions, really speaks in this performance; it becomes a genuine dance drama rather than a mere abstraction.

Much of Denève’s success also stems from his consistently lively, flowing tempo choices. These Nuages float across the sky with a welcome sense of purpose and emotional point. The concentration of the Scottish wind players here, and throughout the three Images, is particularly impressive. Iberia’s three movements cohere as a single span—clearly Debussy’s intention, but something we seldom actually hear either in concert or on disc. And as for La Mer, well, it’s just as exciting as hell. Try the closing bars in the sample below. The art of playing loud while retaining the integrity of Debussy’s carefully balanced textures is another of those virtually lost arts happily recaptured here.

Chandos has provided terrific SACD multichannel sonics for this production, which may well be headed straight for reference status. A major achievement.

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

1.
Printemps by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 15 Minutes 12 Secs. 
2.
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1892-1894; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 10 Minutes 14 Secs. 
3.
Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Women Of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897-1899; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 24 Minutes 13 Secs. 
4.
La mer by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 23 Minutes 58 Secs. 
5.
L'enfant prodigue: Cortège et Air de danse by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1884/1908; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 3 Minutes 25 Secs. 
6.
L'enfant prodigue: Cortège by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1884/1908; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 0 Minutes 45 Secs. 
7.
L'enfant prodigue: Air de danse by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1884/1908; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
8.
Jeux by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 17 Minutes 32 Secs. 
9.
Images for Orchestra by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1912; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 35 Minutes 55 Secs. 
10.
Marche écossaise sur un thème populaire by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 6 Minutes 32 Secs. 
11.
Berceuse heroïque by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Stéphane Denève
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; France 
Date of Recording: 10/2011 & 02/2012 
Venue:  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Images: No. 1. Gigues
Images: No. 2. Iberia: a. Par les rues et par les chemins -
Images: No. 2. Iberia: b. Les parfums de la nuit -
Images: No. 2. Iberia: c. Le matin d'un jour de fete
Images: No. 3. Rondes de printemps
Jeux: Prelude
Jeux: Du fond, a gauche, apparaissent deux jeunes filles craintives
Jeux: Une des deux jeunes filles danse seule
Jeux: On apercoit le jeune homme au fond, a gauche, qui semble se cacher
Jeux: Ils dansent ensemble
Jeux: Le jeune homme a suivi cette derniere danse par curiosite
Jeux: Dans l'emportement de leur danse, ils n'ont pas remarque
Jeux: Pourtant, le jeune homme intervient en ecartant leurs tetes
Jeux: Ils dansent desormais tous les trois
Jeux: Une balle de tennis tombe a leurs pieds
Nocturnes: No. 1. Nuages
Nocturnes: No. 2. Fetes
Nocturnes: No. 3. Sirenes
La mer: No. 1. De l'aube a midi sur la mer
La mer: No. 2. Jeux de vagues
La mer: No. 3. Dialogue du vent et de la mer
Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune
Marche ecossaise sur un theme populaire (version for orchestra)
Printemps (arr. H. Busser for orchestra): I. Tres modere
Printemps (arr. H. Busser for orchestra): II. Modere
L'enfant prodigue: Prelude
L'enfant prodigue: Cortege
L'enfant prodigue: Air de danse
Berceuse heroique (version for orchestra)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 I love this music March 1, 2013 By J D  Blatchford (Mill Valley, CA) See All My Reviews "I and my wife have listened to this several times. It is first-class." Report Abuse
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