Images (3), for orchestra, L. 122: 2. Ibéria. Par les rues et par les chemins
Images (3), for orchestra, L. 122: 2. Ibéria. Les Parfums de la nuit
Images (3), for orchestra, L. 122: 2. Ibéria. Le Matin d'un jour de fête
Images (3), for orchestra, L. 122: 3. Rondes de printemps
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), for orchestra, L. 86
La Mer, symphonic sketches (3) for orchestra, L. 109: 1. De l'aube à midi sur la mer
La Mer, symphonic sketches (3) for orchestra, L. 109: 2. Jeux de vagues
La Mer, symphonic sketches (3) for orchestra, L. 109: 3. Dialogue du vent et de la mer
This is the Debussy disc to buy if you're buying only one. All of the best and most popular orchestra music is here (the second of the "Images" is the well-known tone poem "Iberia"). Salonen must have the keenest ear in... more » the business--no "impressionist" fuzz here. Musical textures are extraordinarily clear, but never at the expense of the music's natural sensuality. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has been playing at the very highest technical level ever since Esa-Pekka Salonen took over, and Sony has been documenting their work in top-quality sound. There are a lot of Debussy recordings, many of them very good, but it's hard to beat the all-around excellence of this one. --David Hurwitz« less
This is the Debussy disc to buy if you're buying only one. All of the best and most popular orchestra music is here (the second of the "Images" is the well-known tone poem "Iberia"). Salonen must have the keenest ear in the business--no "impressionist" fuzz here. Musical textures are extraordinarily clear, but never at the expense of the music's natural sensuality. The Los Angeles Philharmonic has been playing at the very highest technical level ever since Esa-Pekka Salonen took over, and Sony has been documenting their work in top-quality sound. There are a lot of Debussy recordings, many of them very good, but it's hard to beat the all-around excellence of this one. --David Hurwitz
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It is always interesting to see how many contemporary composers honor the works of Claude Debussy, a composer that is the quintessential impressionist artist and as such has been allowed to shimmer off into the sunset by many conductors today.
Esa-Pekka Salonen continues to grow as a composer of lavish orchestral color and a broad spectrum of timbres and instrumentation and so it seems only logical that he should have an affinity for the orchestral works of Debussy. He consistently programs these works with the LA Philharmonic and by this time it is generally accepted that he is one of the finest conductors of Debussy's large works. His conducting of Debussy's opera 'Pelleas and Melisande' remains a gold standard.
Here, on this singularly splendid recording are three of Debussy's challenging works. Salonen finds all of the transparencies, the tautly woven threads of themes that wash in and out of the orchestral sound, and the brio of the large moments as in 'La Mer' and at all times keeps these fragile sonorities alive and throbbing. The 'Images' pulsate with atmosphere, 'Prelude a l'apres Midi d'un Faune' is sensual without falling into the vulgar, and the 'La Mer' is simply overwhelming in capturing the moods of the sea.
Salonen and the LA Phil are as solid a team as any in the world now and one only hopes they will continue to record and capture the masterpieces of the literature even in the face of downsizing of classical music recordings. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, March 05"
Brett A. Kniess | 05/18/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Debussy, while eternally stereotyped as pretty music or light, airy music, is now portrayed as a composer of substance in this remarkable recording of three familiar Debussy works.Images for Orchestra, is an eclectic suite of landscape pictures, beautifully colored with flavors of spanish music, folk music, and highly rhythmic dance music. The music is very playful, often exciting, and very sensual at times.The middle piece, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, is the filler piece. This is the stereotypical Debussy, with floating harps and strings, and intermittent woodwinds and brass. Salonen, however, adds some great dynamic contrasts to make this piece come alive.The war-horse is La Mer. This is where Debussy becomes aggressive and flaunts a huge orchestra with enourmous brass climaxes in a un-relentless manner. By the end of the third section, Debussy leaves us with an expansive, bombastic (I dare say about Debussy), and majesterial view of The Sea (the title); only to leave the listener breathless.This is Salonen's greatest recording to date, including that of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Once again, Salonen doesn't treat Debussy as background music or wallpaper, but as a serious composer, with as much excitement and fire as Berlioz. The dynamics are extreme and the playing is precise, exquisite, almost daring, though. Check out this CD along with its sister CD of Debussy's Three nocturnes, etc."
"Esa Pekka Salonen is one of these few conductors gifted of that invisible touch of genius that may be felt since the first bars of this exigent composer. He confers this first rate orchestra an incorporeal density, hovered by a variegated blend of textures, suggestive visual landscapes, sensual lyrisicm and accurate expression. And here between you and me I must recognize that only three other conductors are in this reduced list, Arturo Toscanini (with the most radiant version of La Mer ever recorded), Leopold Stokowski and finally the talented director Michael Tilson Thomas from 1971 with the Boston Symphony(Who can match with his version of Prelude?).
Pekka remarked with visible knowledge of the sense of the score those suggestive musical moments, in which the inflections and changes of modulation are so neccesary in case you are really involved with spirit of this imaginative and well gifted composer."
Brett A. Kniess | Madison, WI | 11/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a follow-up to a successful CD featuring lesser-known orchestral works by Claude Debussy, this disk features some of Debussy's most famous works with the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing under Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Images is a three-movement work, the first of which, Gigues, is a calm prelude to the rest of the piece. As the title might suggest, Gigues hints at some danciness, but overall represents a calm with typical Debussy orchestrations. The second movement, Iberia, is divided in three parts (Streets and Byways, Fragrance of the Night, and The Morning of a Festival). There are obvious references to Spain, especially rhythmically and through creative orchestration; but Debussy doesn't sacrifice his sound to overt Spanish-ness. Debussy depicts the bustling streets, the winds and chimes at night, and the awakening of a village for a festival, all with the Debussy touch. The final movement combines the lyrical with the rhythmical to give the entire work a grand conclusion. Debussy's sounds are always lush and intriguing, often calling on harps and bells, as well as special string effects, to create what we consider his "sound". This work exemplifies Debussy at his best.
The tone poem Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun put Debussy on the map. The opening chromatic melody and eventual harmonization is haunting; with modal progressions and interesting orchestrations. A true miniature masterpiece.
Debussy's love of the sea is greatly portrayed in the three-movement work La Mer. Debussy begins optimistically on a calm sea and moves into the second movement with a more joyous and happy jaunt on the ocean. It is not until the extroverted third movement when the seas become more stormy. But still, the view is still upbeat, and the work ends with a feeling of renewed grandeur. A popular work for a reason, La Mer is the epitome of Debussy's expressiveness, descriptiveness, and inventiveness in music portraits.
The Los Angeles Philharmonic again plays excellently; still vibrant and vivid. Salonen pays close attention to detail in the score and the listener can feel the great love the musicians have of the music. You will have to compare on your own this Sony Debussy collection to the series on DG under Pierre Boulez, a consummate Debussy interpreter. Both are good editions to have, the choice is yours. "