Pelléas et Mélisande

Pelléas et Mélisande

by Serge Baudo


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Pelléas et Mélisande

Maurice Maeterlinck's 1892 play "Pelléas et Mélisande" provided inspiration for an opera by Claude Debussy, a tone poem by Arnold Schoenberg, and incidental music by Gabriel Fauré and Jean Sibelius. This Supraphon double-disc compilation invites side-by-side comparison of these interpretations of the famous Symbolist drama, and listeners will find they share brooding and tragic moods that fit Maeterlinck's story of forbidden love. Yet each retelling of the story unfolds in a dramatically different musical style: Debussy's five-act opera, represented here as an orchestral "symphonie" arranged by Marius Constant, is one of the masterpieces of Impressionism, while Sibelius' suite is cast in his passionate post-Romantic vein; and though Schoenberg's intensely chromatic and harmonically unsettled work anticipates the expressionism of his atonal period, Fauré's four-movement suite (source of the popular Sicilienne) conveys fin de siècle sentiment with neo-Classical poise. These live recordings by Serge Baudo and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra date from 1989, and were previously issued as separate albums in 1991, though releasing them together in this twofer seems to reflect the artists' actual intentions. Even though the performances are better than adequate for most purposes, with sympathetic interpretations, competent playing, and fine sound quality, there are enough distracting audience noises to make this set a second choice. Depending on which "Pelléas et Mélisande" is needed, you may prefer to pay full price for a first-rate recording rather than settle for less with this middling reissue.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/27/2007
Label: Supraphon
UPC: 0099925389925
catalogNumber: 3899
Rank: 232184


  1. Pelleas et Melisande Symphonie (after Debussy)
  2. Pelléas et Mélisande, incidental music for orchestra, Op. 46
  3. Pelleas und Melisande, symphonic poem, Op. 5
  4. Pelléas et Mélisande, incidental music and suite for orchestra, Op. 80

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