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Bernstein Century - Debussy: The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 14, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

1. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Prologue: 'Gentle People, We Bid You Silence...' 2. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: First Window: The Court Of Lilies - 'First Window, The Court Of Lilies' : Twin Brothers: (Frere, que sera-t-il le monde) 3. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: First Window: The Court Of Lilies - 'Glory! Glory To Christ The King' : Archers Of Emesa: <> 4. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: First Window: The Court Of Lilies - Ecstatic Dance Of Sebastian On The Live Coals: 'Oh, Twin Brothers, Sing Your Hymn...' : Twin Brothers: <> 5. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Second Window: The Magic Chamber - 'Second Window, The Magic Chamber... Within A Vast Elliptical Vault...' 6. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Second Window: The Magic Chamber - Song Of The Virgin Erigone: <> 7. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Second Window: The Magic Chamber - 'And Suddenly A New Voice Sings From Beyond The Magic Door': Celestial Voice: <> 8. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods... 'A Huge Gilded Hall...' 9. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Suddenly, The Emperor Speaks!...' 'Hail, Beauteous Youth.' 10. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Intone Your Hymn!...' : Chorus Of Zither-Players: <> 11. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Caesar, I Refuse Your Lyre...' : The Women Of Byblos: <> 12. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Who Is This Young Man So White...' : Solo Voice: <> 13. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: 'Sing! Exult!' : Chorus Of Syrians: <> 14. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'He Dies, The Archer Of Lebanon.' : Chorus Of Syrians: <> 15. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Fourth Window: The Wounded Laurel - 'But Gentle People... Fourth Window, The Wounded Laurel'

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Prologue: 'Gentle People, We Bid You Silence...'
  2. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: First Window: The Court Of Lilies - 'First Window, The Court Of Lilies' : Twin Brothers: (Frere, que sera-t-il le monde)
  3. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: First Window: The Court Of Lilies - 'Glory! Glory To Christ The King' : Archers Of Emesa: <>
  4. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: First Window: The Court Of Lilies - Ecstatic Dance Of Sebastian On The Live Coals: 'Oh, Twin Brothers, Sing Your Hymn...' : Twin Brothers: <>
  5. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Second Window: The Magic Chamber - 'Second Window, The Magic Chamber... Within A Vast Elliptical Vault...'
  6. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Second Window: The Magic Chamber - Song Of The Virgin Erigone: <>
  7. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Second Window: The Magic Chamber - 'And Suddenly A New Voice Sings From Beyond The Magic Door': Celestial Voice: <>
  8. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods... 'A Huge Gilded Hall...'
  9. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Suddenly, The Emperor Speaks!...' 'Hail, Beauteous Youth.'
  10. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Intone Your Hymn!...' : Chorus Of Zither-Players: <>
  11. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Caesar, I Refuse Your Lyre...' : The Women Of Byblos: <>
  12. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'Who Is This Young Man So White...' : Solo Voice: <>
  13. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: 'Sing! Exult!' : Chorus Of Syrians: <>
  14. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Third Window, The Council Of False Gods - 'He Dies, The Archer Of Lebanon.' : Chorus Of Syrians: <>
  15. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Fourth Window: The Wounded Laurel - 'But Gentle People... Fourth Window, The Wounded Laurel'
  16. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Fourth Window: The Wounded Laurel - 'I Feel In The Palm Of My Hand The Stigmata Burn...'
  17. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Fourth Window: The Wounded Laurel - 'From The Depths, Archers, I Call Upon Your Love!' : Chorus Of Syrians And The Women Of Byblos: <>
  18. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Fifth Window: Paradise - 'A Pearly Radiance Spreads In The Sky... The Fifth Window, Paradise!'
  19. The Martyrdom Of Saint Sebastian: Fifth Window: Paradise - Chorus Of Martyrs: <>


Product Details

  • Performer: Virgina Babikian, Adele Addison, Marlena Kleinman, Joanna Simon, Fritz Weaver, et al.
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Claude Debussy
  • Audio CD (July 14, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000009CYJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,237 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Bernstein's recording of Debussy's work for narrator and/or actors with orchestra has never been one of his most famous recordings; in fact, I never even knew he had made one until it was released on CD as part of the "Bernstein Century" series.
It is the only version of the "Martyrdom" narrated and acted in English, and Bernstein himself did the adaptation. (The sung portions are still done in French, which means Bernstein has wisely not tampered with any of the sung text.) Predictably, the stuffy and oh-so-traditional critics have had harsh words for the narrated and acted portions, some going so far as to call it "unlistenable", and even "homoerotic", while others maintain it is simply over the top.
While it IS more flamboyant than most of the other versions I have heard, and while the French version may stick more closely to D'Annunzio's original text, I still enjoy this version very much, and Bernstein has shown remarkable foresight in presenting his audience with a version of this work that they can easily follow. His wife, actress Felicia Montealegre, enacts the role of St. Sebastien, and while she does sound pretty frenzied much of the time, it does make sense that her portrayal of the martyr should sound as if he were experiencing a wild sense of ecstasy (hence, the accusations of sadomasochism and homoeroticism hurled at this adaptation).
Fritz Weaver is the narrator, and his part has been especially created as a sort of guide to pointing out what we should expect to hear. His narration is restrained, eloquent, and he has plenty of opportunity to display his rich speaking voice.
Bernstein conducts, and the New York Phiharmonic plays, with great sensitivity, and the recorded sound is excellent.
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This is a great work. Debussy's "Saint Sebastien" is for me his best work (many may disagree with me here but I really find this a great masterpiece). The performance is full of passion and the soloists are great in every respect. Bernstein's narration adds to the performance with his deep characteristic voice. All that said I find this interpretation somewhat less memorable than that of Tilson Thomas on Sony too. The narration there is in French and though I do not speak the language I think that it fits better the work than the enlgish translation of the Bernstein's CD. Also Tilson Thomas is very intense(very tough to believe that somebody is more passionate than Lenny, but it's the truth). Finally the digital recording outshines the ~ 40 year old CBS/Sony sound.
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Verified Purchase
I wore out my vinyl disc of this wonderful piece and then the record player died. I searched for other performances by other artists which did beautifully except that the great drama still did not satisfy me because it was in French...it was not Fritz Weaver. Unfortunately, when I first searched, there was no CD version but the moment I saw this reissue, even though it was not DDD, I could not get it quickly enough.
The composition is special but these great actors proclaiming this beautiful text accompanied by Lenny and the NY Phil cannot be bettered. SIX Stars!!!!!!!!!!
S
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