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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Debussy: Complete Orchestral Works (Naxos: 8.509002)
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£28.97+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 26 February 2013
The first thing you notice about this set is the number of discs, Jean Martinon's classic EMI recording of the complete orchestral works is on four discs, which includes the usual orchestrations by other composers, yet here we have nine discs! So why the extra discs, well for me, and this is this sets real selling point, this set contains a lot more piano works which have been orchestrated by others, Colin Mathews masterly orchestration of the complete preludes. This is not to say the authentic orchestral music is to be ignored, no there are some fine recordings here, I just can't see them ever supplanting Martinon or Pierre Boulez in my affection! This is not to say that they have nothing to offer the listener, they fine recordings in their own way, and however, they just lack that little spark of brilliance which would make the equal to my favourite recordings.
So it is the unusual orchestrated works which are the standout feature of this set for me and a real eye opener! To hear works like the Symphony in B minor (an orchestration by the American, Tony Finno, of the early piece for piano duet which Debussy had sent to Nadezhda von Meck), En blanc et noir, Petite Suite or Ansermet's orchestration of the Six épigraphes antiques, makes you appreciate just what fine works these are! If only Debussy had orchestrated more himself, but failing this, this is a very fine collection of orchestrations all be them in a different hand to the composer.
For anyone coming to the music of Debussy afresh, this is an ideal set with which to appreciate his music, but for those of us with pre-conceived ideals based on years of experience of playing our favourite recordings, you ma, like myself, find it hard to supplant your trusty old recordings. Mind you at the meagre price, it is well worth buying this set for the orchestrations, after all you will be hard pushed to make up a collection like this for anywhere near the price Naxos are offering this set for.
On the whole the recorded sound is good, there are a couple of discs which could have been better, but even here the sound is not that bad. The set is accompanied by an excellent book, with some 33 pages dedicated to the music, as well as an interview with Jun Märkl. A welcome newcomer to the shelf, if not my top choice in Debussy's own orchestrated works.
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on 28 June 2012
This box brings together the nine discs of Debussy's orchestral works, which were recorded by the German/Japanese conductor Jun Markl and the Orchestre National de Lyon between 2007 and 2011. Here is all Debussy's orchestral music, and more. Not only do we have all his works originally written for orchestra and his own orchestration of some of his piano works, but also a considerable number of pieces orchestrated by others: people who were very close to him such as Ravel and Caplet, for example, students and friends, and modern composers such as Colin Matthews (the two books of preludes)and Robin Holloway.

I have been very impressed by this collection and have discovered many things that were new to me. It might be said that there are better performances available of the familiar works such as La Mer, Images, and Le Martyre de Saint Sebastien, and the work which opens the collection, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune, draws from Markel a performance which is languorous in the extreme, but it seems to me that there are far more hits than misses in this collection. Indeed, I have discovered delight after delight. Taken as a whole this collection is, to my ears, a refreshing and illuminating experience, truly a box of delights!

The nine discs are in cardboard sleeves and are contained within a sturdy box. The one hundred page booklet is first class. It has full track listings and recording details, an interview with the conductor, excellent notes on the music by the always dependable Keith Anderson and artist profiles.

Tim Handley's vivid and detailed recordings are quite superb and well up to his usual high standard.
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on 28 August 2012
This 9-CD boxed set is a wonderful addition to my collection - and includes the familiar works he composed for orchestra as well as unfamiliar orchestrations of a lot of his piano music like the Preludes. If you are a completist don't hesitate just buy it! The CDs are package in a robust and elegant card box - its a bit odd that the CDs only about half fill it so it takes up more shelf space than needed.
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on 14 November 2016
Purchased this collection a few years ago now, but it is still probably the best complete recordings of Debussy's orchestral works available today. I was in no way disappointed with the audio quality or performances throughout listening to these great works. The clean and rich recordings remind the listener of Debussy's masterful orchestration skills and effective composition, which have inspired film composers such as John Williams in particular to this day to create colour and atmosphere with various instrumental timbres. There are some new / original arrangements by other composers / conductors here also, which sit well with the rest of the works. The stand out tracks for me would have to include: Pour le Piano II: Sarabande, Suite Bergamasque and the Preludes (most notably La fille aux cheveux de lin and La cathedrale engloutie).
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on 17 July 2014
This Naxos set of Debussy is the very best and I have collecting his works for many years and it it on a par with the Naxos PELLEAS AND MELLISANDE Opera set, really superb and I can recommend them both.
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