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Care to list your favorite Debussy compositions and performances....?

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  • Care to list your favorite Debussy compositions and performances....?



    I've only recently begun to take Debussy seriously. Previously, I pretty much ignored his stuff. But then, one night a year or two ago, I actually listened closely to that Debussy Album you see in the photo. Columbia. Ormandy. Philly Orchestra. It did draw me in. Dreamy impressionistic stuff.

    While the recording itself is only just acceptible, the performance has substance. And the 2 record set offers a fair sampling of the composer's wares.
    Now I'm playing my other albums with anything Debussy on them just so I can get more of this bewitching music.

    It seems that now is the time for me to embark on a mission to round out my Debussy experience. I need all of it. But where to start. Generally I frequent the Half-Price-Book-Stores in my area and also the Goodwills to pick up classical albums. And this is how I have what's in the picture. However I think now it becomes a hunt. The kind of hunt where you look for a particular work, by a particular orchestra, a particular conductor and on a particular label.

    Suggestions?
    -Steve
    webmaster at The Analog Dept.
    system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

  • #2
    Pretty much anything by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.

    For example Click image for larger version  Name:	Debussy Michelangelli DG 2530 196.jpg Views:	1 Size:	10.1 KB ID:	42018
    Children's Corner is a delight.
    DG 2530 196

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Debussy Michelangelli DG 2531 200.jpg Views:	1 Size:	9.2 KB ID:	42019


    DG 2531 200

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    • #3
      re:Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli.
      Both as pianist and as conductor, I presume.

      I've seen others recommend the "Children's corner".

      I will most certainly hunt this down. Thanks!
      -Steve

      webmaster at The Analog Dept.
      system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

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      • Guest's Avatar
        Guest commented
        Editing a comment
        Cannot speak to his conducting. Fantastic pianist. Try his Beethoven Emperor Concerto.

    • #4
      I can't speaker for LPs but have seen La Mer twice and also the Preludes. La Mer needs a really good system, which can highlight the bloom of the softer passages - else it can sound downright boring. The LSO did a magnificent job at the Barbican, and just last week I was at the Sheldonian in Oxford, my first time there (over an hour from London but my gf's mom lives there, will go more often now), and it became my favorite concert hall for small performances. It cannot do the louder parts well, but the unique seating arrangement makes it ideal for piano and small chamber. The Debussy preludes sounded excellent.

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      • #5
        I generally divide Debussy's music into his piano music (Michelangeli is a top choice and in the mono era, it was Walter Gieseking), his orchestral music, and his chamber music. Debussy was tremendously avantgarde in his day (even today) and very much like Schoenberg, abandoning the old conventions including structure, form and tonality. However, unlike Schoenberg, his music is so beautiful, you don't realize how revolutionary it is.

        In addition to the albums Tima recommends for piano, I would recommend Mitsuko Uchida's Etudes (also Pollini's Etudes - we heard him playing them at the Salzburg Festival almost 30 years ago). Also Ivan Morevec. I play two of the Debussy pieces - the first Arabesque and Reverie. Clair de Lune in Suite Bergamasque is probably his most famous piano composition, and the Engulfed Cathedral in Preludes Book I also up there.

        For orchestral music, La Mer is probably his most famous composition. Nocturnes (recordings sometimes omit the last section, Sirenes because it needs a female chorus), Images (Iberia the second section is a fantastic evocation of Spain, often played separately), and the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (not a little deer). Many fine recordings - Reiner and Munch on RCA (Toscanini is the mono era choice for La Mer). Pierre Boulez did a series of albums for Columbia.

        For Chamber music, his string quartet (only wrote one) and his violin sonata and cello sonatas are wonderful. The string quartet is usually paired with Ravel's only string quartet. Quartetto Italiano on Philips was the one I grew up on.

        Debussy also wrote in other genres - solo instrument with orchestra, one opera, some song cycles.

        Larry
        Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
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        Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
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        Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

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        • #6
          Any easily accessible LP recommendations for a novice classical music fan?
          Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

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          • Guest's Avatar
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            If by 'accessible' you mean something relatively melodic you can get into that is not particularly dissonant or out of the 'Western' tradition, then, yeah, of Debussy's work it's probably La Mer as suggest in 'toy's post below.

          • user510
            user510 commented
            Editing a comment
            The Ormandy "Debussy Album" on columbia masterworks is a nice 2 record set assortment of the composer's works. I show this in the op photo. The album in purple. Presently, while I await more Lps to come in, this Ormandy set is the best I have. And I would recommend it to anyone wishing to get a taste. I was in at a local half priced book store in Lynnwood and found another copy of it. I bought it for $1.99 because it looked cleaner than the one already in my possession. I suspect this one should pop up all over.

        • #7
          Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
          Any easily accessible LP recommendations for a novice classical music fan?
          Chad has LSC2111 La Mer on his RCA reissues. Others are used, I think mostly pretty easy to find, Larry
          Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
          Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
          Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
          Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
          Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
          Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
          Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

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          • #8
            Excellent performance and recording, Super Analogue KIJC 9019.

            Click image for larger version

Name:	Debussy and Revel - Super Analog Disc.jpg
Views:	45
Size:	205.0 KB
ID:	42097
            Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
            Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
            Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
            Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
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            • user510
              user510 commented
              Editing a comment
              I'll look for that SACD. thanks. -Steve

          • #9
            This is getting good. Thanks for the recommendations and please keep them coming.
            So far I've got three categories:
            1. Piano Music
            2. Orchestral
            3. Chamber



            At this point I only have the orchestral pieces and one album with the one string quartet: It is The Pagganini String Quartet playing both Debussy and Ravel quartets. Record: KCL9038 on Kapp records. Sonics aren't remarkable but the performances seem competent.

            La Mer and Nocturnes are most common and usually what is found in the used Lp bins. I can say that I'd listened to La Mer several times prior to that Ormandy album and really did not get the attraction. I think Bonzo75 nails it when he suggests accessibility can be system dependent. However after that one Ormandy album and that particular --manifestation of my perception-- I began to listen to my other Debussy Lps and 'got into' those also. There has to be a willingness to perceive. Another required ingredient.

            In its current configuration, my system renders small ensembles better than full orchestra works. I can put some of that blame onto the Shelter 501-II cartridge in use. Its strengths are in the rendition of acoustic instruments and vocals. However it has never shown more than average abiity to sort the individual instruments from the larger mass in full orchestral works. That much said, some recordings play far better than others, as we all know.

            anecdotal: The extended families I grew up with were greatly affected by the Depression era. Grandparents having been born circa 1900 to 1902...all of them. On either side of the family, paternal and maternal, it was a requirement that every child choose an instrument and learn to play it. All households had a piano. So we all played something. I recall being at family gatherings on the paternal side. Grandfather would set down at the piano and play one of a handful of tunes he'd learned. More often than not it was Claire De Lune. I feel compelled to say he could knock it out pretty well. The melody of it sang true. And that is how I came to know it...in my toddler years.

            Orchestral work: RCA LM-1984. The Virtuoso Orchestra. Munch, BSO. Debussy and Ravel. On the Debussy side there is Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. All else on that album is Ravel...and some really good cuts. Rapsodie Espagnole, Bolero and La Valse. I've heard that there is a stereo version of this Lp but the performances are circa 1956-7 so I don't know the quality of the Stereo version. The mono version listed has good sonics.

            If Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is any indication; his other Preludes must also be magical and haunting.

            I've skimmed through one biography on Debussy. "Claude Debussy; His life and Works" by Leon Vallas . Translated from the French by Maire and Grace O'Brien. The description of Debussy's death is rather touching. He'd been suffering for the past few years with what sounds like one sort of cancer or another.
            Here is a clip from that book:
            "Claude Debussy lived his last sorrowful days to the sound of the bombardment of Paris by airships and long-distance guns. He had not even the strength to allow himself to be carried down to the cellar of his house when warning was given of the approach of the enemy 'Gothas'. He died on the 25th of March 1918, during the last German offensive, when the military situation of France was considered desperate by many."

            My thought is that he knew considerable agony and did not live long enough to see the allied victory in The Great War.

            -Steve

            webmaster at The Analog Dept.
            system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

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            • #10
              which La Mer is better on RCA, Reiner or Munch? and what are the respective catalog numbers? thanks
              Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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              • #11
                Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                which La Mer is better on RCA, Reiner or Munch? and what are the respective catalog numbers? thanks
                Reiner LSC-2462
                Munch LSC-2111 (in my earlier post #7)
                Both are great. You can only get 2111 as a reissue from Chad.

                Larry
                Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,SoundsmithZephyrII+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Doshi3.0,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiPac, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                Speakers-AvantgardeDuosLR,3SolosC,LR,RR
                Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner,AirTightRecordFlat, Scott Rust Interconnects,
                Music-15KRecs(90%classical),1.3KR2Rtapes,50TBrips

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                • #12
                  I have soft spot for his piano works. His complete works for piano by Aldo Ciccolini (EMI) is great. The recent interpretation of the complete cycle by Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (Chandos) is to die for.

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                  • #13
                    what is the correct pronouciation of Debussy?
                    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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                  • #14
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY7qgM_vUyY
                    Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

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                    • user510
                      user510 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Leave it to the French to make the most mundane, common everyday things sound exotic merely by the accent of their pronunciation.

                  • #15
                    I am still listening and thinking about Debussy over here. I have some recent acquisitions coming in. Meanwhile I feel that I made a serious omission when I neglected to highlight one of the Lps in photo of the opening post.


                    Far right; Desormiere conducting the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. It is on an old lesser known label -- "Parliament". Cat # plp110 a US pressing.
                    The recording is mono and does not have a lot of atmosphere or, for that matter, any sense of the recording space. Yet, the instruments are rendered clean and articulate. The playing is first tier. The conductors' interpretation takes us into that sense of being at sea more so than any other performance of La Mer I have at hand. There is a sense of the rhythm of the sea. Of waves moving the boat. I have not sensed this as strongly on any other recording I've yet heard, That's is just one example. This might be a small orchestra because I am picking out the individual instruments quite obviously.

                    The impression, the visions it evokes are strong and more sublime.

                    The record is dated from 1960. My copy is fairly clean. The record appears NM. Perhaps with some more persistent cleaning I can get rid of the occasional click that currently exist on this Lp. I should try an ultrasonic cleaner, me-thinks.

                    Anyway, this is my update. Desormier/CPO on Parliament. One to take home with you should it make itself available. Mine was rescued from the bins of a Goodwill.

                    -Steve
                    webmaster at The Analog Dept.
                    system list:Classe' CAP 151 integrated, Carver TX-11b Tuner, NHT 2.9 Speakers, Thorens TD124 ( plus other Thorens models), Otari MX-5050 BII-2 R2R, Jolida JD100 cd player, ML-9600 digital recorder

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