Debussy: Images & Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

Debussy: Images & Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune

The Hallé and Mark Elder have worked their way through Debussy’s orchestral music for some years, and this installment is a gem. They are completely inside this elusive soundworld and, unlike some performers, they never succumb to the temptation of making everything too diaphanous. This Debussy has muscle, too, and nowhere more so than in the gorgeous sound pictures that make up Images. There’s fiber, wonderful textures, and vivid, brightly colored life—“Ibéria” simply explodes. The “Prélude a l’après-midi d’un faune” is ravishing and Colin Matthews’ orchestration of one of the piano Images is characteristically exquisite. A ravishing album.

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