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Debussy: La Mer
Claude Debussy, Charles Dutoit, Montréal Symphony Orchestra
Debussy: La Mer
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #2


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CD Details

All Artists: Claude Debussy, Charles Dutoit, Montréal Symphony Orchestra
Title: Debussy: La Mer
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Decca
Release Date: 11/9/1999
Genre: Classical
Styles: Ballets & Dances, Ballets, Historical Periods, Modern, 20th, & 21st Century, Symphonies
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 028946021729

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CD Reviews

Ravishing Debussy from a master of French music
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Most of Dutoit's Debussy recordings were released at the beginning of the 1990s and are of the same very high standard of his Ravel and Poulenc recordings, and it is good to have the best-known of them reissued on a well-documented 2-CD bargain set. The sound quality is fantastic. This set comes into competition with Haitink's excellent Philips Duo set, and choice between the two sets will probably be determined by the minor works included. The Haitink set has long been the first recommendation in this repertoire, and the analogue sound is excellent, if not as spectacular as that of the Dutoit set. It should be noted, however, that those who buy the Dutoit set along with Martinon's "Orchestral Works II" set on EMI's Double Forte label will have obtained virtually all of Debussy's orchestral compositions and transcriptions all for not too many dead presidents."
Great interpretations, but the recorded sound is ok
Prescott Cunningham Moore | 08/30/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Charles Dutot's Debussy certainly is not the last word on this music, as there have been many wonderful traversals of Debussy's orchestrated fare, Charles Munch, Pierre Boulez, and Bernard Haitink rising to the top of this lot. However, Dutoit's set will certainly please listeners both new and familiar with this music.

For one, Decca's sound is clean, an improvement on Munch's dated mono or the harshness of DG's early stereo. And in this music, with its depths of color, this is necessary. Secondly, the Montreal players create a wonderfully idiomatic French sound that, while lacking that last ounce of sheen produced by Haitink's Concertgebouw, suits this music quite well. But at the end of the day, its Dutoit's show and much of the magic in these recordings are clearly his doing.

La Mer is a winning performance because Dutoit takes his time to shape the music, creating waves of sound; just listen to the close of the first movement for a wonderful surge from the horns. Dutoit really lets the brass play out in the "trio" (for lack of a better term) of Fetes, while the return of the "fast" music. The Prelude is equally fine, due again to Dutoit's measured, but never slow, unfolding of the music. The early Printemps is quite effective while Jeux is stunningly executed. There are moments in Images and in Sebastian where tension tends to sag (which is as much Debussy's fault as it is Dutoit's), but Iberia is well done and the concluding Spring Rounds are playful without become overly effusive or vulgar.

These are fine recordings. However, Decca's sound, while, as aforementioned, quite clean, can sometimes sound a tad diffuse. Similarly, the Montreal players can sound a bit "tubby" in tutti passages, which robs the music of some textual clarity. Still, there is surprisingly little competition in some of this music, especially from "French" orchestras, and most of the performances are fine enough to warrant a warm recommendation."
La Mer is one of my all-time favorites
Eric S. Kim | Southern California | 01/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There is nothing quite like Dutoit's handling of some of Debussy's timeless masterpieces. All have enormous strength and have clear sound quality. The piece that gives me the shivers the most is La Mer. It has the perfect oceanic feeling that some other conductors forget about. I can just imagine the stormy sea letting out its dangerous but majestic fury when listening to the third movement. Images for Orchestra and Printemps are also fabulous. Highly recommended for those who are interested in impressionistic music."