20 essential Debussy recordings

592 views
Skip to first unread message

Bozo

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 1:41:32 PM2/19/18
to

HT

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 2:43:14 PM2/19/18
to
Op maandag 19 februari 2018 19:41:32 UTC+1 schreef Bozo:
Rogé's complete set for piano solo is excellent but certainly not essential. Bavouzet is, and so is Ogawa.

Henk

graham

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 3:33:19 PM2/19/18
to
and I would add Peter Frankl.
Graham

Frank Lekens

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 3:51:56 PM2/19/18
to
HT schreef op 19-2-2018 20:43:
Yes, those are terrific.

--
Frank Lekens

http://fmlekens.home.xs4all.nl/
https://franklekens.blogspot.nl/

Bozo

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 7:15:09 PM2/19/18
to
>On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 2:33:19 PM UTC-6, graham wrote:
> and I would add Peter Frankl.


AGREED.

Ed Presson

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 9:05:32 PM2/19/18
to


"Bozo" wrote in message
news:27707cb5-9670-45d5...@googlegroups.com...
I once had the Haitink 2-CD set of Debussy orchestral works, and the are
exquisite and - to my ears-exquisitely wrong.
Only the Deneve/Chandos set leaves me so divided. Both performances that
are perfectly embalmed, but not alive.

To try to understand my preferences, I listened to Iberia from both these
sets, then listened to recordings by Reiner, Stokowski,
and Munch--all very different, but alive! Many other reviewer have praised
Deneve and Haitink, but I remain
unconvinced. YMMV.

Ed Presson


Raymond Hall

unread,
Feb 19, 2018, 11:20:51 PM2/19/18
to
-To try to understand my preferences, I listened to Iberia from both these 
-sets, then listened to recordings by Reiner, Stokowski, 
-and Munch--all very different, but alive!  Many other reviewer have praised 
-Deneve and Haitink, but I remain 
-unconvinced.  YMMV. 

-Ed Presson 

Ed, what do you reckon of the Martinon Debussy box?

Ray Hall, Taree

Andy Evans

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 10:30:03 AM2/20/18
to
> Ed, what do you reckon of the Martinon Debussy box?
> > Ray Hall, Taree

Martinon is good but not necessarily the best. Worth a listen.

My Debussy favourites:
La Mer/Nocturnes - Van Beinum
Images, Nocturnes, Prelude a l'Apres Midi - Munch
Piano works - Gieseking + Paul Jacobs + Samson Francois
Vln Sonata - Grumiaux/Castagnone
Quartet - Belcea + Melos

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 1:02:49 PM2/20/18
to
Concerning Munch's PRELUDE..., do you prefer the 1st one or the 2nd?

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 1:10:19 PM2/20/18
to

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 1:12:28 PM2/20/18
to

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 1:31:33 PM2/20/18
to
On Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 5:30:03 AM UTC-10, Andy Evans wrote:
> > Ed, what do you reckon of the Martinon Debussy box?
> > > Ray Hall, Taree
>
> Martinon is good but not necessarily the best. Worth a listen.
>
> My Debussy favourites:
> La Mer/Nocturnes - Van Beinum
> Images, Nocturnes, Prelude a l'Apres Midi - Munch

Did Munch's NOCTURNES include "Sirenes"?

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 1:59:11 PM2/20/18
to

Ed Presson

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 2:50:09 PM2/20/18
to


"Raymond Hall" wrote in message
news:19f51ccb-b0fa-4d29...@googlegroups.com...
I failed to mention Martinon's Debussy. I find it very good indeed, fresh
and
vigorous. I find Martinon a more "objective" interpreter than the three I
mentioned, and therefore I rate his Debussy (and most other recordings I've
heard) down a half-step from my favorites.

Ed Presson


Ed Presson

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 2:55:41 PM2/20/18
to


wrote in message
news:f8fa3bb2-a6fc-4dd5...@googlegroups.com...
But the RCA recording of Munch/BSO did not.

Ed Presson


Ricardo Jimenez

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 4:56:58 PM2/20/18
to
On Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:50:01 -0800, "Ed Presson" <pe...@comcast.net>
wrote:
There is a 9 disc Naxos set by Jun Märkl leading Orchestre National de
Lyon that contains not only the complete orchestral works of Debussy
but orchestral arrangements of his music by other composers. Some
rarities there like an early symphony in B minor. It's on Spotify.
Anybody familiar with this set?

Raymond Hall

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 11:25:36 PM2/20/18
to
-I failed to mention Martinon's Debussy.  I find it very good indeed, fresh 
-%and 
-vigorous.  I find Martinon a more "objective" interpreter than the three I 
-mentioned, and therefore I rate his Debussy (and most other recordings I've 
-heard) down a half-step from my favorites. 

-Ed Presson 

Same impression here, but nothing truly distinctive to these ears. I much prefer Haitink's Duo Debussy disk, which has more vivid projection. Baudo isn't truly distinctive either, but well played. Szell like Haitink, is more interesting, however 'wrong' it might be.

I've still got Boulez's Cleveland disk to play yet, maybe this week. Previn/RPO on EMI Eminence is also worth a hearing imho, with two items of Debussy and two of Ravel.

Debussy needs projection imho or else his music sinks into a grey bog of nothingness.

Ray Hall, Taree

Ed Presson

unread,
Feb 20, 2018, 11:31:37 PM2/20/18
to


"Ricardo Jimenez" wrote in message
news:c16p8dpkqkj97ba7h...@4ax.com...
I bought Volumes 2, 3, and 4 on a Naxos sale after reading favorable
reviews, but rarely return to them.
Why? I couldn't remember, so I sampled them this evening. Good, sensible
performances by a
very good French orchestra in good, but
not exceptional sound. Even as I listened, I struggled to identify what
was, for me, missing.

Phrasing. I recalled a YouTube video of Stokowski rehearsing the American
Symphony Orchestra.
As he kept correcting the players over and over to get what he wanted, he
kept saying, "Phrasing,
phrasing, phrasing..." As a result of his coaching, bland passages began
to come to life, to be exciting.

And phrasing, really vital phrasing is what I found lacking in Markl's:
passages that go by almost
unnoticed in these performances become vital in Munch, Stokowski, and
Reiner. I really hope I
can find modern performances to equal or exceed these models. If they are
out there, I hope I'm
around to hear them. So, as good as these Naxos CDs are, I probably will
eventually sell them.

Ed Presson


Andy Evans

unread,
Feb 21, 2018, 1:34:03 PM2/21/18
to
> Debussy needs projection imho or else his music sinks into a grey bog of nothingness.
>
> Ray Hall, Taree

He talks very highly of you, Ray....

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 25, 2018, 2:24:09 PM2/25/18
to
On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 9:43:14 AM UTC-10, HT wrote:
> Op maandag 19 februari 2018 19:41:32 UTC+1 schreef Bozo:
> > Again, from WQXR :
> >
> > https://www.wqxr.org/story/20-essential-debussy-recordings
>
> Rogé's complete set for piano solo is excellent but certainly not essential. Bavouzet is...

Recent Youtube upload:

Debussy: Children's Corner (Crossley, Bavouzet)

Raymond Hall

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 12:44:39 AM2/26/18
to

-He talks very highly of you, Ray..

As he should Andy. ;)
He is one of the greats of course.

While doing some searching, I came across a forum that had carried out some pretty exhaustive blind listening by different groups in the UK, France, and elsewhere, of many of the recordings of La Mer up to circa 2012. The results were very interesting, especially given the stringency which seem to have been applied.

Ashkenazy/Cleveland came out top of the heap. Bernstein/NYPO also figured highly. Boulez/Cleveland got high marks too, and rated third. I have the Boulez, but have been searching Amazon for copies of the Ashkenazy and the Bernstein (both seem oop) and only used copies can be located at this moment.

Anyway, courtesy of this forum (GMG Classical Music Forum), I'll print their list. The forum is well worth a visit for more detail.

Ray Hall, Taree


1. E1 - Vladimir Ashkenazy, Cleveland Orchestra (Decca, 4/1986) 3/1
2. G4 - Claudio Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra (DG, live 14/8/2003) 3/2
3. C3 - Pierre Boulez, Cleveland Orchestra (DG, 3/1993) 3/3
4. H4 - Michel Tabachnik, Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO, 6/2010) 3/4
5. D2 - Carlo Maria Giulini, Los Angeles Philharmonic (DG, 1980) 3/5
6ea. A2 - Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic (Columbia/Sony, 16/10/1961) 2/2/1,92
6ea. C2 - Charles Dutoit, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal (Decca, 1989) 2/2/1,92
8. B4 - Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker (DG, 9-10/3/1964) 2/2/2
9ea. D1 - Pierre Monteux, Boston Symphony Orchestra (RCA, 19/7/1954) 2/2/2,1
9ea. E4 - Michael Tilson Thomas, Philharmonia Orchestra (CBS, 1982) 2/2/2,1
11. H1 - Bernard Haitink, Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam (Philips, 12/1976) 2/3/2
12. B3 - Jean Fournet, Česká filharmonie (Supraphon, 27/10/1963) 2/3/2,08
13. G2 - Serge Baudo, London Philharmonic Orchestra (EMI, 1/1986) 2/3/2,15
14. F1 - Jean Martinon, Orchestre national de l'ORTF (EMI, 1973) 2/3/2,2
15. A4 - Evgueni Svetlanov, Orchestre national de France (Naïve, 25/1/2001) 2/3/2,3
16ea. F2 - Eduard van Beinum, Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam (London, 5/1957) 1/2/2,56
16ea. F3 - Sergiu Celibidache, Münchner Philharmoniker (EMI, live 1992)  1/2/2,56
18. E3 - Charles Munch, Boston Symphony Orchestra (RCA, 1956) 1/3/2,44
19. H2 - Jean-Claude Casadesus, Orchestre national de Lille (Harmonia Mundi, 1993-1994) 1/3/2,6
20. G1 - Igor Markevitch, Orchestre des Concerts Lamoureux (DG, 5/1959) 1/3/2,64
21. A1 - Michel Plasson, Orchestre du Capitole de Toulouse (EMI, 1987-1988) 1/3/2,67
22ea. B2 - Alain Lombard, Orchestre philharmonique de Strasbourg (Erato, 10/1975) 1/3/2,75
22ea. C4 - Charles Munch, Orchestre national de la RTF (Montaigne, live 1962) 1/3/2,75
24. D4 - Ernest Ansermet, Orchestre de la Suisse romande (Decca/London, 1964) 1/3/2,78
25. A3 - Serge Koussevitzky, Boston Symphony Orchestra (RCA Victor, 1938-1939) 1/4/2,75
26. F4 - Piero Coppola, Orchestre de la société des concerts du Conservatoire (HMV, 1932) 1/4/2,89
27. B1 - Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht, Orchestre national de la RTF (Montaigne, live 1962) 1/4/3
28. C1 - Arturo Toscanini, BBC Symphony Orchestra (HMV, live 12/6/1935) 1/4/3,25
29. H3 - George Szell, Cleveland Orchestra (Columbia, 11-12/1/1963) 1/4/3,3
30. E2 - Roger Désormière, Česká filharmonie (Supraphon/Ultraphone, 10/1950) 1/4/3,33
31. G3 - Arturo Toscanini, NBC Symphony Orchestra (RCA, 1/6/1950) 1/4/3,36
32. D3 - John Barbirolli, Orchestre de Paris (EMI, 12/1968) 1/4/3,44

And, to answer karlhenning's questions, 32 versions were selected but I listened to almost 100 to prepare this comparison. It was not easy to decide in the end, I did probably made avoidable choices (Barbirolli for instance), but I guess a more limited selection would have meant no Tabachnik for instance, or no Baudo... 
In the end this is only kind of a game. The Ashkenazy version is only the best version of this comparison made in 2012 with these precise 32 versions. It is not a definitive result, just an indication about what versions could be interesting to know and eventually buy (and I'm happy to see that many among participants have decided to buy versions whcih are actually not always finalists, and I completely agree about the value of some of them, as Koussevitzky, Coppola, Bernstein, Svetlanov...)

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 2:41:44 AM2/26/18
to
Shouldn't that list have included Paray?

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 3:50:26 AM2/26/18
to
According to the following:

- ... The most fascinating is Paul Paray, a quintessentially French conductor who transformed the Detroit Symphony into a quintessentially French ensemble. Their 1955 La Mer (Mercury) is elegant, crisp, richly detailed and thoroughly engrossing.

http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics/lamer.html

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 3:58:57 AM2/26/18
to
On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 8:41:32 AM UTC-10, Bozo wrote:
> Again, from WQXR :
>
> https://www.wqxr.org/story/20-essential-debussy-recordings

The following list recommends Monteux's IMAGES:

http://www.classicfm.com/artists/london-symphony-orchestra/guides/15-lso-best-ever-recordings/debussy-images-pierre-monteux/

Raymond Hall

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 4:23:57 AM2/26/18
to
-Shouldn't that list have included Paray? 

Maybe, but you would have to ask them.

Ray Hall, Taree

Andy Evans

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 5:38:07 AM2/26/18
to
I'd be happier turning the whole list front to back - I've no idea what those guys were listening for but it's not what I hear. Munch and Van Beinum half way down the list? I don't think so.

graham

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 10:02:04 AM2/26/18
to
The Barbirolli version used to be very highly regarded. It still is as
far as I'm concerned.
Graham

gggg...@gmail.com

unread,
Feb 26, 2018, 1:03:25 PM2/26/18
to
On Monday, February 19, 2018 at 8:41:32 AM UTC-10, Bozo wrote:
> Again, from WQXR :
>
> https://www.wqxr.org/story/20-essential-debussy-recordings

New Debussy bio:

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.music.classical/WT7hS3GFWaI

drh8h

unread,
Feb 28, 2018, 2:24:32 PM2/28/18
to
Seems skewed toward modern recordings, suggesting sound quality may be more important than interpretation for many. And can we be sure the Ansermet was really the 1964 version? Decca has mixed it up with the 1957 many times, and only authentic CD issue I know of.


DH

gggg gggg

unread,
Jul 31, 2021, 4:06:18 PMJul 31
to
On Sunday, February 25, 2018 at 9:44:39 PM UTC-8, raymond....@gmail.com wrote:
> -He talks very highly of you, Ray..
>
> As he should Andy. ;)
> He is one of the greats of course.
>
> While doing some searching, I came across a forum that had carried out some pretty exhaustive blind listening by different groups in the UK, France, and elsewhere, of many of the recordings of La Mer up to circa 2012. The results were very interesting, especially given the stringency which seem to have been applied.
>
> Ashkenazy/Cleveland came out top of the heap. Bernstein/NYPO also figured highly. Boulez/Cleveland got high marks too, and rated third. I have the Boulez, but have been searching Amazon for copies of the Ashkenazy and the Bernstein (both seem oop) and only used copies can be located at this moment.
>
> Anyway, courtesy of this forum (GMG Classical Music Forum), I'll print their list. The forum is well worth a visit for more detail.
>
> Ray Hall, Taree
>
>
> 1. E1 - Vladimir Ashkenazy, Cleveland Orchestra (Decca, 4/1986) 3/1

Ashkenazy's recording has over 1 million views and over 300 comments on Youtube:

Claude Debussy - Nocturnes

JohnGavin

unread,
Jul 31, 2021, 7:26:09 PMJul 31
to
I’m listening to the Preludes played by Steven Osborne on Hyperion. One of the finest. A nice companion to Michelangeli’s cooler carved in ice, colorful perfection.
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages