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  • Debussy: Images / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Printemps
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Debussy: Images / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Printemps

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Audio CD, February 16, 1993
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Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Debussy: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, L. 86The Cleveland Orchestra 8:54Album Only
listen  2. Debussy: Images For Orchestra, L. 122 - 1. GiguesThe Cleveland Orchestra 7:24Album Only
listen  3. Debussy: Images For Orchestra / 2. Ibéria, L. 122 - 1. Par les rues et par les cheminsThe Cleveland Orchestra 6:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Debussy: Images For Orchestra / 2. Ibéria, L. 122 - 2. Les parfums de la nuitThe Cleveland Orchestra 7:30Album Only
listen  5. Debussy: Images For Orchestra / 2. Ibéria, L. 122 - 3. Le matin d'un jour de fêteThe Cleveland Orchestra 4:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Debussy: Images For Orchestra, L. 122 - 3. Rondes de printempsThe Cleveland Orchestra 7:43Album Only
listen  7. Debussy: Printemps, L. 61 - 1. Très modéréThe Cleveland Orchestra10:23Album Only
listen  8. Debussy: Printemps, L. 61 - 2. ModéréThe Cleveland Orchestra 6:24$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

Debussy: Images / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Printemps + Debussy: La Mer / Nocturnes / Jeux / Rhapsodie pour Clarinette et Orchestre + Ravel: Boléro, Ma Mère L'Oye, Rapsodie Espagnole, Une Barque sur L'Océan, Alborada del Gracioso
Price for all three: $38.06

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Claude Debussy
  • Audio CD (February 16, 1993)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GGI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,787 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Pierre Boulez recorded all of Debussy's major orchestral works for Sony, and those generally excellent performances are still available at mid-price. Like so many conductors Boulez has mellowed somewhat with age--and unlike most conductors, he is the first to admit it. His earlier performances were characterized by an analytical clarity that some found fascinating and uniquely compelling, and which left others cold. These new versions preserve the precision of his earlier ones, but find room for an extra measure of warmth and flexibility. The result is stunning Debussy, and DG's sumptuous recording captures it all in panoramic sound. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
You can hear the smallest of expressions of the orchestra as demanded by Mr. Boulez.
"Iberia" is varied and wonderful music, ranging the big, aggressive dance opening with blaring clarinets to the delicate evocations of Spanish gardens and night.
While Boulez has famously cooled down over the decades since he recorded a number of 20th century composers for Sony, his current style is perfect for Debussy.
Christopher Culver

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By "jdflynnno" on December 6, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If your idea of Debussy is lush orchestration, sensuous moods and seeing a Monet or a Renoir behind every note, then Boulez's interpretations of Debussy won't be for you. Although Boulez first recorded Debussy in the 1960s for Columbia (now Sony and still available; get the 2-CD set if you can find it), his way with Debussy hasn't really changed much. It might not be as detached, but it's wonderful just the same. Basically, Boulez sees Debussy as a great COMPOSER, not just a "Master of Impressionism." Boulez's legendary ear for sonority and balance decongests Debussy's music into something that is more commonly known as the cool, clear Boulez sound. You HEAR every note, every phrase, every progression. So instead of being coaxed into benign sublimity by other conductors when it comes to Debussy, the listener is forced to realize the enormous inventiveness Debussy had to get his musical ideas across. You discover Debussy is not just another cleverly skilled orchestrator, e.g., Rimsky-Korsakov, but one of the greatest composers who ever lived. The DG recording process, of course, is without peer, and the Cleveland Orchestra, naturally, plays superbly. But Boulez's way with his fellow Frenchman is simply uncanny. It might not be as beautfilly done as say Toscanini, Reiner, Karajan or Stokowski would. But if Boulez's real aim is to present Debussy clearly, effectively and without distorted tempis, he has succeeded immensely. Boulez's other recent DG recording with the Cleveland Orchestra with La Mer and Jeux is just as fine.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Austin VINE VOICE on January 6, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Debussy's orchestral works provide some of the most alluring and luscious sounds in all music. Sonority and textual clarity are wonderfully impressive in this recording of three of them conducted by Pierre Boulez. The Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune - occupying from eight to eleven minutes in the various versions in my collection - runs for nearly nine minutes here. Alert listeners might recognize the English folk song "The Keel Row" darting in and out of the dance that opens Images. I especially like Printemps, the earliest known Debussy orchestral work, dating from his 25th year. In this work, the orchestral forces include a piano.

The Cleveland Orchestra under the French conductor was recorded by the German DGG technicians in Cleveland in March 1991.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm not surprised that Boulez's Debussy is greeted with utmost praise by a circle of critics, including Amazon's, who barely seem to have listened to it. Are they really in love with such cool, detached performances? Boulez has a relationship with the Cleveland Orch. that goes back decades, and the precision and clarity of these readings is beyond reproach. So is DG's detailed sound, which applies x-ray vision to Debussy's very beautiful orchestrations.

But this version of Afternoon of a Faun couldn't be less erotic. The solo flute follows Boulez's lead with a straitlaced reading that doesn't remotely evoke the awakening of a pagan creature on a sultry day. It's more like the ice cream truck moving slowly down the street. The expansive canvas of Images has always been a tough sell when performed as a whole. The first two parts are by far the most popular. Gigues vaguely evokes jigs from the British Isles and is based on Debussy's memories of England. Iberia, in three movements, is Spanish filtered through Debussy's very un-Spanish imaginaiton, with delicate evocations of lingering perfume, nights in the garden, and dances heard from a distance. It's the third section if Images, Rondes de printemps, that taxes the listener, its three parts being amorphous, although two are based on actual French folk songs. Even when isolated and programmed on its own, this section offers no real anchor, either to spring or round dances.

In the best performances these impressionistic "images" are fleshed out with drama, color, and strong rhythms. Compared to the superlative James Levine account on Sony with the Berlin Phil., Boulez's England and Spain are too neutral and lack color.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON VINE VOICE on February 3, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Spring is the world reborn according to an exuberant mediaeval Latin poem the Pervigilium Veneris - ver renatus orbis est. For me it is a little bit of a personal renewal, via this record and literally. The spring comes slowly up this way in the Pennine hills, and the time of year thou mayest in me behold is not exactly spring, but the sense of it is here. Included in the music is the Rondes de printemps, the final number in Debussy's orchestral Images, and also a welcome out-of-the-way piece his early 2-movement `symphonic suite' Printemps. The moment therefore seemed right to obtain this disc, especially as the two `springtime' works were unaccountably missing from my collection.

There was something else I wanted to renew, and it was my acquaintance with the work of Pierre Boulez. Years ago I had formed an impression of him as a martinet - very exact and therefore a natural for Stravinsky, but slightly forbidding. Whether this had anything to do with his early personal association with Stravinsky, or with his uncanny resemblance when young to Marlon Brando, or with his own very uncompromising compositions, or whether it was just something that I had been told, I don't now remember. However when I recently obtained his set of The Rite of Spring and Petrushka I was struck indeed with his exactness, but also with the beauty of the works as they came from him. Time to try him in Debussy then, and none too soon as it turns out.

You would expect top-class playing from the Cleveland Orchestra, and you would be right to. You would not be surprised if even in Debussy you heard more orchestral detail from Boulez than you usually do from other conductors, and you will not be surprised in that way here.
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