Boston Symphony Orchestra / Charles Münch

Debussy: La Mer; Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun; Nuages; Iberia

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Claude Debussy is a blend of magic and miracles, giving the world his most beautiful works of art at the turn of the 20th century. This great composer of France created scores of music in a fashion as to counter the achievements of his German contemporaries at the time. As an impressionist, he put the world of impressionist art into lush and passionately felt music. This album, released by the RCA Victor label features his work of highest quality, including such tracks as "La Mer," French for "The Sea," and "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." He brought the world of impressionist painting to life, such as the master artist Claude Monet. A must recommendation, this record gives to the listener a solid mixture of what can be established as music of raw beauty, eloquent in nature. The entire package is filled with colorful crescendos, the rising and falling of instrumentation. This compilation is played gracefully by the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the conduction of Charles Munch. The music of La Mer begins very softly, then suddenly builds eerily with a smooth crescendo, yet in subtle fashion. The violas, violins, cellos, and winds all seems to blend together in harmony at times, only to clash during the piece's most intense moments. Taken from the inspiration of a Japanese sketch, "The Wave," Debussy's intent in La Mer was to portray the feeling of ocean waves grabbing and seizing a boat, capsizing it until it plummets into the deep. The three phases of La Mer represent the sea's various moods: calm, the storm to soon come, and finally the majestic power of the storm and its ability to create waves. Though Debussy never experienced the power and sheer magnificence of the sea, he did compose what critics and classical historians view as the most famous piece of "water music" in history. The atmosphere of "Prelude to an Afternoon of a Faun" is awesome in scope and overwhelming in dramatic impact. The music itself is uplifting and capable of being very visually stimulating to the listener. His most famous orchestral work, Debussy's inspiration for its inception was a short poem. "Nocturnes" also reaches the listener emotionally and can provide visual stimulus to those who possess imagination. Only Debussy and his uniqueness of vision and remarkable essence can bring forth music of such eminent value. His music leaves the listener with a rich plethora of vivid detail of both orchestration and storytelling. The Boston Symphony bleeds with crisp resonance, exploring a world of imagery. The melodies are fluid and enriching at times, haunting and dark during others. Listening and feeling his music can almost bring the listener back in time to that period, a romantic period filled with change during the brink of the Industrial Revolution. Certainly, the music of Debussy is grandly imagined, breathtaking, and exhilarating. It is both genuine in form and ingenious in creativity. One will truly feel a sense of pleasure and immediate gratification while adding Debussy to their music collection.