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  • Britten: Piano Concerto / Debussy: Fantaisie
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Britten: Piano Concerto / Debussy: Fantaisie

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Audio CD, April 15, 1997
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1. Fant: Andante Ma Non Troppo; Allegro Giusto
2. Fant: Lento E Molto Espressivo
3. Fant: Allegro Molto
4. Pour Le Pno: Prld: Assez Anime Et Tres Rythme
5. Pour Le Pno: Sarabande: Avec Une Elegance Grave Et Lente
6. Pour Le Pno: Toccata: Vif
7. Con Op.13: Toccata: Allegro Molto E Con Brio
8. Con Op.13: Waltz: Allegretto
9. Con Op.13: Impromtu: Andante Lento
10. Con Op.13: March: Allegro Moderato, Sempre Alla Marcia

Product Details

  • Performer: Barry Douglas
  • Orchestra: ORTF Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Marek Janowski
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten, Claude Debussy
  • Audio CD (April 15, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003FVQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,314 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By jt52 on August 3, 2012
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This 1997 release is something of a grab-bag, but the bottom line is that the piano and orchestra performances are very successful. Northern Ireland's Barry Douglas has a strong interest in Debussy and joins forces with the talented Marek Janowski and his Radio France orchestra in Claude Debussy's early Fantasy (1890). This is a sensitive and expressive interpretation of the attractive three-movement composition. Janowski in particular paces the music with grace and flexibility. I have heard several performances of the Fantasy over the years (although not the apparently excellent Zoltan Kocsis version), and this collaboration may be the best of them.

More problematic is Douglas' recording of "Pour le piano", for solo piano. The individual phrases are expressive, but there is a baffling lack of continuity here. I have firsthand knowledge that in the 1990s BMG was assembling final recordings from different takes, a process that is both expensive and counterproductive, and to which I attribute the structural incoherence of this "Pour le piano." (This does not seem to afflict the Fantasy and the Britten Concerto - perhaps because the label had fewer takes to work with.)

As with the Fantasy, I found the performance of Benjamin Britten's 1939 Piano Concerto to be very strong. This is a virtuosic piece and Douglas plays his part with panache and an assured technique. My reservations concern the Concerto itself, which strikes me as a shallow effort by the British master. In four movements, Britten replaced the third movement in the mid-1940s with a passacaglia, which may reveal the composer's own misgivings about the work. But if you like the piece and are interested in a modern performance of the Concerto, Douglas and Janowski's effort can be recommended.

The engineering is decent in terms of pure sound, although I am suspicious of the editing, as my comments show. 4 stars.
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