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Debussy: La Mer / Nocturnes / Jeux / Rhapsodie pour Clarinette et Orchestre


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Audio CD, March 21, 1995
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Frequently Bought Together

Debussy: La Mer / Nocturnes / Jeux / Rhapsodie pour Clarinette et Orchestre + Debussy: Images / Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune / Printemps + Ravel: Bolero/ Ma Mere L'Oye/ Rapsodie Espagnole/ Une Barque sur L'Ocean/ Alborada del Gracioso
Price for all three: $40.37

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

Pierre Boulez made his early reputation as a Debussy conductor, and with good reason. Debussy's reputation as a musical "impressionist" led most people to think of him as a sort of musical Claude Monet--all blurry outlines and fuzzy images--but Boulez changed this perception, bringing an analytical clarity and razor-sharp definition to the composer's musical mosaics. What he has achieved in this second series of Debussy recordings is an additional naturalness and spontaneity of expression. The Cleveland Orchestra is the ideal vehicle for this sort of interpretation, being perhaps the most technically precise band in the world. The result is just about perfect. -- David Hurwitz

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Debussy: Nocturnes - Orchestral Version, L. 91 - 1. NuagesPierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 6:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Debussy: Nocturnes - Orchestral Version, L. 91 - 2. FêtesPierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 6:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Debussy: Nocturnes - Orchestral Version, L. 91 - 3. SirènesLadies of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 9:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Debussy: Première Rhapsodie, L. 116 - Rêveusement lentFranklin Cohen and Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 8:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Debussy: Jeux (Poème dansé), L. 126 - Très lent - Scherzando (Tempo initial)Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra16:11Album Only
listen  6. Debussy: La Mer, L. 109 - 1. From Dawn Till Noon On The Sea (De l'aube à midi sur la mer)Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 8:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Debussy: La Mer, L. 109 - 2. Play Of The Waves (Jeux de vagues)Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 7:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Debussy: La Mer, L. 109 - 3. Dialogue Of The Wind And The Sea (Dialogue du vent et de la mer)Pierre Boulez and The Cleveland Orchestra 7:44$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: Pierre Boulez
  • Composer: Claude Debussy
  • Audio CD (March 21, 1995)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GM5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,276 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By chefdevergue VINE VOICE on February 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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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Hodges on June 19, 2002
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Larry VanDeSande VINE VOICE on June 23, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I join the throng of five-star reviews for this fabulous CD of Debussy specialties including La Mer and Nocturnes. While Pierre Boulez clearly has the training, background, intuition and temperament to define these exquisite works, it is hard to imagine the bad press this CD received when it came out, mainly in England, where one critic said Boulez "eviscerated" the first movement of La Mer.

That's nonsense, of course. Boulez's performances in these four staples from the Debussy repertoire -- Nocturnes, Rhapsodie for clarinet & piano (or orchestra) with Franklin Cohen, Jeux, and the incomparable La Mer -- are the most subtly inflected readings of this music I've yet heard. No conductor reins in the orchestra the way Boulez does to allow Debussy colors and shifting emotions come through simultaneous with the most exposed solo playing on CD.

I've heard many great performances of these scores romanticized by Stokowski and given elegant linear projection by Haitink and I've heard poor performances from big name conductors like Charles Munch and Neemi Jarvi. The thread between them all has been this -- they all treat this music like it is romantic music, especially the closing pages of La Mer where the score gives added weight to the brass and FF markings. Boulez is the only conductor I know that controls the orchestra in these moments and presents this music as the gossamer imitation it is -- French impressionism, where subjects are hinted, not spoken or shouted.

I owned this CD some years ago when I was first seriously investigating these scores.
Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Abbinanti (tusai1@aol.com) on May 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD
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 to music. This is a great synergistic combination. Boulez always brings clarity and precision to his interpretations,always with a deep focused musicianship. Nothing is sacrificed here in Debussy as say in his Mahler. We sense this impassivness less in Debussy because it is more simply bringing timbral clarity and a rhythmic discipline to the music. If these elements are missing in Debussy the result can sound like film music.with obvious emphasis on the melodic shape suppressing the pure colour, and we have heard this numerously."La Mer" here still blinds us with its surging crescendo- brass, the noon sun bursting against the sea Boulez also has no equal in clarifying divisi strings. The "Nocturnes" as well Boulez and Clevelnad bring a compactness of expression. They maintain the characterizations here. Colours are goal-oriented and controlled.This recording will undoubtedly with time be considered the classic Debussy.
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Debussy: La Mer / Nocturnes / Jeux / Rhapsodie pour Clarinette et Orchestre
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