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Posted January 11, 2012
This is the seventh volume in the very useful Naxos series of the complete orchestral works of Claude Debussy, containing works for solo instrument and orchestra.
The Fantaisie for piano and orchestra is a relatively early work, though Debussy made revisions to it later in his life. We hear the composer's latest version here. It's a slight but appealing work. I like the way Thibaudet swings this music, and Markl keeps things light and frothy and moving ahead.
The other works on the disc represent the mature composer's greatness in creating beautiful and dramatic soundscapes. Though Debussy had to be dragged kicking and screaming into writing a piece for saxophone, you couldn't tell from the Rapsodie that the composer wasn't completely attuned to the sonorities of this instrument, which contributed so much to the special sound of French modernist music. The works featuring the harp and the clarinet similarly present new sounds that would be taken up by generations of composers who made their way to Paris in the 1920s: George Gershwin, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and so many others. With standout solo work by saxophonist Alexandre Doisy, harpist Emmanuel Ceysson, and especially clarinetist Paul Meyer, and strong support from Markl and the musicians of the Orchestre Naqtional de Lyon, this disc is very highly recommended.