Jun Märkl

Debussy: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2

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Although this disc is titled Debussy: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2, only two of the five pieces, Nocturnes and Berceuse héroïque, are actually orchestral pieces by Debussy. The remaining three are adaptations and arrangements: Clair de lune in its familiar orchestration by André Caplet, plus less familiar orchestrations of three of the composer's etudes by Michael Jarrell, and a synthesis of the orchestral interludes from his opera Pelléas et Mélisande, by Marius Constant. The obscurity of some of these arrangements may attract some fans of the composer, but the quality of the performances makes this a disc of limited appeal. Jun Märkl and the Orchestre National de Lyon seem intent on doing justice to the music, but they lack the insight and finesse to bring it off. The playing is wan and watery, with nowhere near enough power in "Fêtes," or enough cohesion everywhere else. The interpretations are superficial, with Pelléas soupy, "Sirènes" sloppy, and the Berceuse héroïque soporific. There are dozens of better recordings of the Nocturnes available, as well as better versions of the rarities, for example, Martinon's Berceuse héroïque. The sound is thin, but loud, and somewhat grating.

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