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Orchestral Music


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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 19 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B00000417P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #57,534 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Berceuse heroique
2. Images: Gigues
3. Images: Iberia: Par les rues et par les chemins
4. Images: Iberia: Les perfums de la nuit
5. Images: Iberia: Le matin d'un jour fe fete
6. Images: Rondes de printemps
7. Jeux: Poeme Danse
8. Marche ecossaise
Disc: 2
1. Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune
2. Nocturnes: Nuages
3. Nocturnes: Fetes
4. Nocturnes: Sirenes
5. La Mer: De l'aube a midi sur la mer
6. La Mer: Jeux de vagues
7. La Mer: Dialogue du vent et de la mer
8. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
9. Dances For Harp And Strings: Danse sacree
10. Dances For Harp And Strings: Danse profane

Product Description

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Bernard Haitink's recordings of the Nocturnes and Jeux were hailed as among the finest available when initially issued. That LP provided rather short measure. Now you can get all of Debussy's most important orchestral music on two CDs for the price of one, and if the remaining performances don't quite reach the exalted level of the Nocturnes and Jeux, they come so close as to make no difference. Haitink was not a very assertive conductor (and he's gotten less so with age), but he was fortunate to have one of the world's best orchestras at the tip of his baton, and their recordings were a true collaborative effort. Their approach works particularly well for Debussy. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Hodges on June 23 2004
Format: Audio CD
It's almost difficult to add to the praise that has been heaped on these recordings. Somehow Bernard Haitink works a very special magic with these scores, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is equally incandescent. Somehow Haitink's relatively laid-back approach really suits Debussy's ebb and flow. As just one example, the climaxes in "Nocturnes" seem to occur naturally, fairly leaping out of the haze, but then the composer lures you back into his shadowy, quiet world -- Haitink captures all this beautifully.
Some say the orchestra was in its glory days under Haitink. I don't quite agree, having heard them do marvelous work under Chailly and others, but in any case, they were playing at their absolute finest here. The shimmering effects actually *sound* that way, and if you've ever heard an orchestra play Debussy badly, you'll know what I mean. The ensemble's renowned woodwind section sounds glorious, and Debussy gives them many, many opportunities to show off.
Dating from the 1970's, these recordings are excellent, and you might not even think about this issue because the sound quality is so superb. Occasionally a very marginal amount of tape hiss can be discerned -- but now we are truly splitting hairs, since these pieces were recorded in the late days of the analogue era.
Like Haitink's Bartok set with the same orchestra (also two discs), this is fairly essential for those who love the composer. And with its reasonable price, this is not only an essential Debussy recording but a bargain as well.
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Format: Audio CD
To recap what an earlier review referred to, the "Man From Delray" below seemed more concerned with crotchety silliness than with musically informed reviewing.
I remember snatching up the original Philips LP's of these Haitink performances when they emerged in the late 70's, and being "wowed" then. Yes, Haitink was not, and is not, a ZIP! ZING! POW! conductor. And, outside of a few moments in "Iberia," "La Mer," or "Jeux," you really don't want any of that in these pieces. Sensitivity to dynamics, orchestral color, and evocative phrasing, just to name a few musical virtues...these are what are called for here, and Haitink offers them in spades. That gossamer shimmer in "Nocturnes", for example. It's so easy to sell the imagery short, or just get it plain wrong. Haitink nails it, aided througout by vintage Philips sound that was a model of naturalness in its day, and still holds up nicely.
Could "La Mer" take just a bit more shaping in its ebb/flow moments? Maybe. Karajan managed that in his early 60s version for DG, but his orchestral seas are clearly the North Atlantic, not the Mediterranean. So, there's room for preferences. I still prefer Boulez' old CBS/Sony performance with the New Philharmonia, except for the bone-dry recording. Fritz Reiner and the Chicago, as well as the Munch/Boston reading, really shine in RCA's Living Stereo remasterings. These are just a few of the classic readings that I wouldn't want to be without.
In sum, I wouldn't want to be without Haintink's thoughts on these scores, as well as the late 50's Van Beinum "Berceuse" that fills out the set. If you're REALLY serious about the music, though, fill out your Debussy shelf with a few of the others.
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Format: Audio CD
When I heard Haitink lead the Boston Symphony on the radio in Brahms' 2nd symphony, I wasn't surprised. He led an exceptionally exciting performance, detailed and invigorating.
Although this may not be the case here, there are colors and intricacies that he got the Dutch players to evoke that even Previn and Ansermet missed out on. I sometimes think that Debussy is conducting this music because during his life he was so indifferent about the musical traditions of his time. Haitink allows the music itself to envelope his players' sensibilities so that what the listener hears is anything but a 'tradtional', orchestral sound, as I would suspect Debussy would have done. After all, this is music, that to Debussy, depicted shimmering waters, passing clouds and tumultuous seas. With all due respect to even Boulez' famous interpretations, Haitink's discs are quite memorable.
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By A Customer on June 14 2000
Format: Audio CD
If there is a better version of the Nocturnes, I would sure like to know about it! Never have I, for one, heard them shimmer so evocatively. Haitink lets the music flow so that it never becomes static. The chorus in Sirenes is completely seductive. I don't wish to single out the Nocturnes at the expense of the other items for everything in this set is presented with a compelling combination of unforced direction, limpid textures and superlative playing. Another highlight is Iberia from Images. Under Haitink, it's as balmy and inviting as a beach on the Mediterranean. The other two movements are also beautifully done. La Mer is brisk and exciting but by no means streamlined. The sound quality throughout is outstandingly vivid and atmospheric. I can't praise this set too highly. Don't miss it!
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Format: Audio CD
If not the very best orchestral collection, it seems to be the best bargain. More specifically, I would recommend it over the similarly priced Martinon collection on EMI because it spite of the idiomatic qualities of those performances, they are compromised by a rather murky recorded sound, and the orchestral playing is just not in the same league.
The Amsterdam orchestra plays everything beautifully, and Haitink is a very sensitive interpreter. I find the Jeux particularly exquisite. The only caveat I would offer is that the La Mer may sound somewhat bland to those who love the more volatile and fiery Munch performance on RCA Living Stereo. However, some listeners may prefer the warm, rounded tone of the Concertgebouw brass to the pointed, rather nasal sound of the Boston's.
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