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  • Debussy: La Mer / Ravel: Ma Mère L'Oye / La Valse
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Debussy: La Mer / Ravel: Ma Mère L'Oye / La Valse

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Audio CD, April 10, 2012
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung
  • Composer: Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel
  • Audio CD (April 10, 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0058UN8A6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,348 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Alfred Rony Situmorang on January 31, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Myung Whun Chung is regarded for these 20 years as the forefront conductor of French orchestral works, from Berlioz to Messiaen (remember his monumental 'Illumination' records with DG as well). But most he did all of them with European Orchestras. After listening this CD for a month, I think this recording is more monumental, because he did this flagship French works with Asian orchestra (Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra). And the result is: For 'La Mer', this is the most intricate and details orchestral works, especially for string players. SPO successfully played all instruments without any distortion (or even any 'mispitch' which commonly happened when playing this very difficult work).And same with 'Ma mere l'oye', and finally..The crown should be given for the performance of 'La Valse'. I never heard any orchestral performance with full of details and subtlety before this. They played live with perfect agogic and same musical direction (thanks to maestro Chung).Yet after caring all details the orchestra still sounds amazingly blend and solid. For me what maestro Chung did here surpassed his predecessors like Dutoit, Celibidache, or even Boulez. This is a perfect gift for the 150th anniversary of Debussy in this year 2012..The music here is far more worthy than the expensive price of the disc..
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Dixon on February 2, 2012
Format: Audio CD
A towering figure in Korean music, Myung-whun Chung has won numerous awards not only in music, but also as a supporter of humanitarian causes. He has conducted throughout Europe and Asia, and since 2006 he has been the music director and principal conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.

The rise of Asian orchestras has been a welcome addition to the global discourse on classical music. In this recording, the orchestra displays a level of polish and finesse that places it easily within the top tier of orchestras across the world. Responding to a deliberate, unhurried and nuanced interpretation by Chung, the orchestra presents a lush and multihued depiction of Debussy's masterwork. The Ravel fared just as well, with a remarkable display of orchestral color. The sound quality was captured with remarkable clarity and depth by the Deutsche Grammophon engineers, providing a wonderful listening experience with this CD release.

This review was originally written for reichelrecommends.com.
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Format: Audio CD
I am a great admirer of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra after seeing them live at the Edinburgh Festival recently and am pleased that they have a good recording contract with DG. On this CD they have recorded Debussy's La Mer and Ravel's Mother Goose Suite plus his La Valse. These atmospheric works are perfect for their fine quality sound, which has also been developed by Myung-Whun Chung, their Music director since 2006. His interpretation of La Mer is careful but very expansive in style, with the Orchestra responding with moments of real power and refinement.
Also very special is their fine sensuous playing in Ravel's Mother Goose Suite, with the Seoul Philharmonic strings, woodwinds and brass blending beautifully.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
As one of those lucky people addicted to "La Mer," the nearly, maybe completely, universal praise for Myung Whun Chung's new recording was like catnip. Like everyone else, my library contains plenty of much anticipated disappointments. This is not one of them. The "La Mer" and the entire disc live up to their advance notices. Debussy's masterpiece totally enchanted me, a rare combination of superb playing, pacing, interpretation and sound. The sound belongs among the best I have heard for this work, comparable to Giulini, Previn, Martinon and, the typically underrated, Ormandy. [I also love Berstein's later, DG, recording in this instance typically controversial.]
Some may find the interpretation, which the sound faithfully serves, too clinical, allowing every detail to register clearly. Such people may prefer a more blended sound like Giulini's. I love Giulini and Previn--a compromise maybe--but the interpretation and sound on Chung's disc utterly captivated me in the Debussy and the Ravel. The "Ma Mere," too, being among the best I've heard.
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Format: Audio CD
Since the Korean War ended, that country's close ties with America led the way to an economic miracle and the infusion of Western culture. Nyung-Whun Chung, who began as a piano virtuoso and member of the Chung trio with his equally famous sister, the violinist Kyung-Wha Chung, stands at the top of the country's musical elite. With a prominent career in Paris and abroad, he has nothing to prove. But Asian orchestras still do, and with DG's decision to record the Seoul Philharmonic comes a stamp of approval form the eminent record label. Or are they cashing in on the Asian market because of the financial success of Chinese superstar pianists like Lang Lang and Yundi, who both began their recording careers on DG?

This CD of French orchestral favorites doesn't decisively answer the question for me. A top caliber orchestra requires that the home country produce conservatory graduates across the spectrum, a hard thing to accomplish. I have no idea how Seoul's music schools are doing, but the Seoul Phil. doesn't play with distinction here, and despite Chung's reputation, his interpretations skirt the cautious at times. Perhaps he takes the first movement of La mer so deliberately, with such a lack of lightness and atmosphere, to make a point. If so, it doesn't register. This performance simply sounds dull, and in the case of the woodwinds, often tentative. (Japan's NHK orchestra could probably do just as well, and probably's the Osaka Phil.) I can't complain about ensemble, but where an ideal La mer is mysterious and foreboding in the opening of the third movement, this one is blunt, without any kind of evocation.

The four numbers from Ravel's ballet, Ma mere l'Oye, also suffer form a lack of delicacy and refinement. The players put one foot in front of the other, which isn't enough.
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