The Hallé and Sir Mark Elder follow their previous highly acclaimed Debussy albums, with a stunning orchestral collection including a world premiere recording.
This collection features works from across the composer’s career, from his early winning of the Prix de Rome, as a result of which he composed the delicate cantata La Damoiselle élue in 1887. Recorded following the highly acclaimed Proms performance and featuring stand-out soloists Anna Stéphany and Sophie Bevan, hailed by reviewers “Bevan’s operatic credentials were in full bloom, as her supple vibrato invited an expressive quality to the ethereal setting of Debussy’s cantata.” Bachtrack
The enigmatic Nocturnes date from 1897-9 and show the composer at the height of his orchestral powers, in music that is highly evocative of mood and which displays deft instrumental writing.
Mastery of instrumental writing is further evidenced in the technically demanding Première Rapsodie, which calls upon the full range of emotions from the soloist; here the Hallé’s Principal Clarinet, Sergio Castelló López.
The album features a world premiere recording of Colin Matthew’s orchestration of the piano piece Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon, unknown until its discovery in 2001. This arrangement follows Matthews’ universally acclaimed orchestrations of the Debussy Preludes.
This is an album to delight students of Debussy's work who wish to hear exactly all the ingredients to his orchestration and how he deploys his instruments. Though compiled from four different sessions, Mark Eider's vision here remains constant: the playing is cool-headed, precise and sonically beautiful with carefully calibrated ensemble, all sympathetically recorded with just enough acoustic not to obscure any detail…
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE