- La Mer, symphonic sketches (3) for orchestra, L. 109
- Nocturnes, for female chorus & orchestra, L. 91
- Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), for orchestra, L. 86
Since Claude Debussy's classic orchestral works "La Mer," "Nocturnes," and "Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune" are masterpieces of diaphanous color, muted shadings, and continually changing dimensions, it takes a light and careful touch to bring off their extremely subtle effects without making them sound like Impressionistic daubs and smears, and more than a little sensitivity and imagination to give them a sense of mystery and magic. The London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, seem to approach Debussy's works with sufficient respect and comprehension of his evolving textures and kaleidoscopic orchestration, yet their polish and occasional heavy-handedness tend to make these pieces seem more like clichéd film music than is palatable. Orchestral depth and atmosphere are lacking in these slick performances, and the sense of passing from one level into deeper layers is missing in these flattened interpretations, particularly in "Prélude." One might fault the sound quality, but these 1989 digital recordings actually have a wide frequency range and seem clear and focused enough to capture a nuanced performance. Unfortunately, the conductor and the orchestra merely provide professional readings that deliver the notes with efficiency and some flair, but which feel too glossy and shallow to get excited about.