Top positive review
20 people found this helpful
Refined, subtle, and fluid - magical
on 3 March 2011
All of Debussy's generally acknowledged orchestral masterpieces are on these two CDS, along with a couple of short near-masterpieces. Penguin and Gramophone give the performances their highest possible accolades - rosette and gem - which raises my confidence in those two guidebooks. If anything deserves the highest honours it is these two CDs. These works demand subtle, refined and fluid playing, and that is what Haitink and the Concertgebouw deliver without compromise.
There are many demanding parts for soloists in these works, and the Concertgebouw soloists reveal themselves as some of the best in the business. The oboe is melancholy and disconsolate, the clarinets carousing and fluent, the trumpets raucous but musical. Haitink and the strings hold it all together with precision, delicacy, definition, and shimmering fluidity.
I find the four-star reviews overly critical, or at least too ready to drop a star. The shorter works are well worth listening to. Given that the CDs are crammed to the gunnels, they could have easily been left off. A star should be added for generosity!
The only criticism I can think of is the bland cover, a full-cover *actual* reproduction of Hokusai's "Hollow wave" might (just) do justice to the content - but that's nit picking. Never judge a CD by its cover...