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Boulez/Cleveland Orchestra , CLAUDE DEBUSSY Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
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1. Nocturnes: Nuages
2. Nocturnes: Fetes
3. Nocturnes: Sirenes
4. Premire Rhapsodie
5. Jeux: Poeme Danse
6. La Mer: I. De L'aube A Midi Sur La Mer
7. La Mer: II. Jeux De Vagues
8. La Mer: III. Dialogue Du Vent Et De La Mer

Product Description


Pierre Boulez est sans nul doute l'un des plus grands chefs pour diriger la musique française et celle de Debussy en particulier. Sa parfaite connaissance des partitions ainsi que son acharnement à régler les moindres détails de l'interprétation font de son interprétation un régal de raffinement. La direction de Boulez est à la fois souple et rigide. Il ne cède rien à ses musiciens et entraîne l'orchestre dans un tourbillon de couleurs et de rythmes animé par un souffle passionné. Le tout est d'une précision diabolique ! --Marc Aigneaux

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly exquisite renditions Feb. 17 2004
Format:Audio CD
Even though Boulez is renowned for bringing discipline to his orchestras, I still never cease to marvel at how he pulled off these simply seamless, splendid performances. Discipline is of the utmost importance with Debussy: a brass sections that doesn't have its dynamics perfectly under control can destroy "La Mer" in any number of places. The same can be said of the female chorus in "Nocturnes: Sirenes." We have all heard the wobbly, out-of-control chorus in Sirenes, that demolishes all of the splendid orhcestral work that preceded it.
On the other hand, discipline can go overboard and turn into a rigid mechanical performance, and nobody needs to hear an orchestra going through the motions, hitting every note perfectly, but rendering a performance bereft of any passion whatsoever. The trick is to walk the line perfectly between being disciplined and being mechanical, and Boulez has indeed pulled this off.
It is just wonderful to hear a smoothly modulated brass section playing its part with the right level of nuance, and a woodwind section dealing with Debussy's challenging rhythms with ease and comfort. The string section also play their parts perfectly.
I also must tip my hat to Franklin Cohen for his performance in as fine a Rhapsodie as I have ever heard.
Overall, this is an endlessly pleasing Debussy disc. The casual listener can simply enjoy Debussy's music on its own merits, while the more serious listener can enjoy diving into the intricacies of Debussy's score, appreciating the splendid job that Boulez & the Cleveland Orchestra has done.
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Format:Audio CD
Let's face it: there are many fine Debussy recordings on the market, and "Jeux" and "La Mer" have been recorded often. I especially like Dutoit's recording with the Montreal orchestra, and Haitink's with the Concertgebouw from the 1970's (which as part of a two-disc set is also quite a bargain).
But if you are looking for a version in clear, modern sound, this might be the one. Boulez is just about perfect for this music, with his emphasis on clarity, coupled with a somewhat unsentimental approach.
Deutsche Grammophon's recording is outstanding. Even in the loudest passages of "La Mer" for example, every instrumental strand can still be heard.
The Cleveland Orchestra is, well, the Cleveland Orchestra - an incomparable group that is worth sampling any time, in any repertoire. Their playing here appears so effortless - which of course it isn't - and that illusion only heightens the mood created by the relaxed brilliance of Debussy's writing.
A great recording, for fans of Boulez, the orchestra, and of course these magnificent, glittering Debussy scores.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Boulez's Clinical Approach to Debussy Dec 11 2001
By John Kwok TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I have tremendous admiration for Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra; their recent collaborations on Deutsche Grammophon have been among the finest I have heard on recordings like the Ravel Piano Concertos and Mahler's 4th Symphony. However, Boulez has a tendency of being too cerebral, interested in highlighting a score's orchestral textures without melding them successfully. It's an approach with which he has had some success in his Mahler symphony cycle. Alas this is a major problem with his latest interpretations of Debussy, most notably his conducting of "La Mer" (In stark contrast, listen to Bernstein's recording with the New York Philharmonic or Sir Colin Davis' with the Boston Symphony or perhaps Ashkenazy's with the Cleveland Orchestra.). Still, these are thoughtful, though too introspective, interpretations of Debussy which deserved to be listened. The Cleveland Orchestra's performances are exemplary. And of course, Deutsche Grammophon's sound quality is exceptional too.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and drama June 5 2000
Format:Audio CD
Pierre Boulez must be numbered among the greatest conductors of the twentieth century. In these recordings he does a magnificent job. In four stylistically different pieces by Claude Debussy, he draws beauty and drama from sometimes conflicted music.
Boulez has just the right gentle touch in his conducting to make the Nocturnes soothingly lyric without being too mellow.
The premiere Rhapsodie is a wonderful intrigue. Franklin Cohen plays the clarinet lead of this piece with style.
The Jeux is delightfully entertaining. I especially like the Cleveland brass on this piece. Weaving in and out of the background of the strings, it paints some great musical images.
La Mer is for me the high point of the disc. Its representation of the power of the sea is stunning. Tossed to and fro between tunes, never clinging to one too long, it becomes a masterpiece in the able hands of Boulez.
At 70.58, there is not an uninteresting moment on this recording. Boulez shows here why he is the master of this repertoire. I recommend this disc.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not great July 21 1999
By j
Format:Audio CD
Let me preface this review by saying that I am a trumpet player.
This is definitely a "good" Debussy album, but there are a few points that keep it from being "great." First, in "Nocturnes: Fetes" the trumpet fanfares are a little sloppy. The slower sections of Nocturnes are exceptionally beautiful though. The strings and chorus in Sirenes are heavenly.
In Jeux, I also find the brass slightly lazy. Other than that, It is a wonderful performance.
As for La Mer, I found the climax of "De l'aube a midi sur la mer" unexciting. I thought the tempo was a little slow, the percussion including the tympani and gong had not enough impact, and the players seemed to be holding back. Also, in the final moments of the peice, I find a lot of inner detail missing which is odd considering that Pierre Boulez is known for bringing out inner detail. For a better recording of "La Mer," I recommend the recording by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as his original recording but exploratory
no it doesnt have near the clarity that boulezs original with the ny philharmonic has, but he didnt try to repeat himself and so deserves credit fort he effort. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Best La Mer
This is wort its price because of this version of La Mer. Boulez as a native frenchman understands this better than most and sound is amazing.
Published on April 9 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably the greatest Debussy recording ever
Ravishingly beautiful and nearly technically flawless ... once you have this you can forget any other recordings of these works. Read more
Published on June 22 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Great playing
The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the best in the world and they play the music on this disc wonderfully. Pierre Boulez conducts with great style and sense of the French music. Read more
Published on June 12 2001 by a clarinetist
3.0 out of 5 stars No no no no no.........
Boulez' capacity to elicit the inner workings of a score can be stupendous at times. With this particular disc, this skill becomes the problem. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2001 by Timothy Mikolay
4.0 out of 5 stars the way to go
Salonen too cool, Martinon too impressionistic; I think Boulez is in between and got exactly right.
Published on Oct. 25 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Pierre Boulez's Recording of Debussy
Pierre Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra were just great! The orchestra and the chorus sounded good! As a French conductor, (Debussy's French too) Boulez is excellent! Read more
Published on June 29 2000 by Shota
5.0 out of 5 stars Boulez,Cleveland and Debussy represent classic synergy
Boulez has had a long association with The Cleveland Orchestra.George Szell discovered the young Boulez and was one of the first to recognize his talent, his intellectual approach... Read more
Published on May 16 1999 by Rachel Abbinanti (tusai1@aol.com)
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