Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

in the first division

extraordinary by any standards

An excellent disc

a new benchmark

summation of a lifetime’s experience.

Piano Concertos 1 and 2
Surprise Best Seller and now

A Garland for John McCabe


DIETHELM Symphonies

The best Rite of Spring in Years

BACH Magnificat

Brian Symphs 8, 21, 26

Just enjoy it!

La Mer Ticciati







CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline


Claude DEBUSSY (1862–1918)
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1892/1894) [10:12]
Trois esquisses symphoniques: La Mer (1903/1905) [24:53]
Jeux: Poème dansé (1913) [19:25]
Suite: Children’s Corner (1906/1908) (orch. (1910) André CAPLET (1878-1925)) [18:36]
Orchestre National de Lyon/Jun Märkl
rec. July 2007, Auditorium de Lyon, France. DDD
NAXOS 8.570759 [73:06]


Experience Classicsonline

There are times when a disk drops through my letterbox and, after tearing the wrapping off the parcel, I look at the CD and despair, wondering do we really need yet another, in this case, recording of Debussy’s popular orchestral works? Then I play the disk and am pleasantly surprised. So it is with this disk. M
ärkl’s up against very stiff competition – Ansermet, Barbirolli, Boulez and Martinon to name but a few – but he’s his own man and gives us his own view of the music. 

The Prélude is very well done. The solo flute is suitably sensuous, and is ably complemented by the solo oboe. Also, I have never heard the two solo violins, at the end, sound quite as winsome as they do here. The big tune in the middle is allowed to expand as it should and the delicate final pages, with slightly too reticent antique cymbals, is well controlled. 

La Mer is almost as fine a performance. Starting very mysteriously, Märkl builds up the tension until the music bursts forth with animation. It’s a fine achievement. However, when the second part of the first movement begins, with cellos in eight parts, it’s too reticent and lacks the momentum required to push the music forwards. When Satie first heard this movement, From Dawn to Midday on the Sea, he quipped that he especially enjoyed the bit at a quarter to eleven. Strange as this may seem I think I know the moment he means – at four bars after rehearsal number 13 there is a static section where cor anglais and two solo cellos play a long breathed theme over sustained chords, it’s a magical moment which prepares us for the build up to the climactic final bars. Märkl makes these few bars quite magical and the calm is quite stunning. The coda is well built but the final three chords – which should beat us about the head with their power – fail to completely satisfy. The scherzo, Play of the Waves, is too heavy handed and the important colouristic glockenspiel part all but inaudible. The tension and suspense of the final movement, Dialogue between the Wind and the Sea, is very well done. The climaxes are well developed and the changes of mood and tempo very well handled. There is one strange moment – at rehearsal number 53 the horns play a triplet, followed, in the next bar, by two minim chords. In this recording we are treated to an extra triplet chord! I’ve played this moment several times, thinking my ears were deceiving me, but no, it’s there, an extra triplet beat. As it’s an exact repeat of what they played six bars earlier I’m mystified by what happens. Why is this extra chord there and what is the purpose? I doubt it’s an editing error so the conductor must have heard it as the horns played the passage. Curiouser and curiouser. Better news is that four bars after rehearsal number 59, under the big chords for winds and strings, Märkl plays the brass fanfares which, more often than not, are ignored by conductors as not being in a real Debussy style. Perhaps they are somewhat unsubtle for Debussy, and for this moment, but without them the music suddenly stops dead, it seems empty, something has to be played there and if these fanfares are all we have then we have to have them. It’s a good performance but it lacks that final insight, that ultimate injection of energy which makes the Hallé/Barbirolli recording so memorable and compelling. 

Jeux is one of Debussy’s most elusive scores (it was his last orchestral work). It’s a ballet which concerns a lost tennis ball and a boy and two girls who look for it, as they play hide and seek, try to catch one another, quarrel and sulk without cause. Their games are interrupted when another tennis ball is mischievously thrown in by an unknown hand which surprises and alarms them and they disappear into the nocturnal depths of the garden. The story isn’t important. Debussy’s music is. It receives an excellent performance here – Märkl fully understands what is going on in the music and leads his players through the myriad tempo changes, keeps the ever changing orchestral colouring alive and generally makes clear music which so often sounds confused and muddled. You’d be hard pressed to find a finer performance on disk. 

André Caplet was a close friend of Debussy and worked on the orchestration of the latter’s incidental music for Gabriele D’Annunzio’s play Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien and the ballet La Boîte à joujou. He also made two, superb, reductions for two pianos, four hands and six hands, of La Mer,  and made orchestral transcriptions of several piano works. Children’s Corner is a delightful six movement suite for solo piano; it’s light hearted, full of fun and several of the movements have become popular independently of the suite – The Little Shepherd and Golliwog’s Cake-walk in particular. Caplet’s orchestration has always struck me as being rather heavy handed – odd for so skilful an orchestrator – but here he has met his match with perfect piano music which does not lend itself to orchestration. Märkl does his best but, ultimately, it’s still too heavy and much of the humour is lost.

Apart from Jeux, which is superb, I would not put these performances of La Mer and the Prélude ahead of other recordings which are currently available - those conductors listed above - but they are very serviceable and if you’re on a tight budget, or just wanting to dip your toes in the Debussian water for the first time, then at the bargain price you’ll get much from these atmospheric readings.

Bob Briggs


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.