Halle Orchestra & Sir Mark Elder – Debussy: Images & Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune (2020) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Hallé Orchestra & Sir Mark Elder – Debussy: Images & Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:00:37 minutes | 508 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Halle Concerts Society

The Hallé and Sir Mark Elder follow their previous highly acclaimed Debussy albums, with a stunning orchestral collection including a world premiere recording. Album includes the hugely popular Prélude a L’après-midi d’un faune, alongside the orchestral tour de force Images, a work which fully displays the composer’s mastery, and the world premiere recording of Colin Matthew’s orchestration of Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut, from the 2nd Book of Images for piano.

A somewhat unusual interpretation of Debussy – more lyrical than rhythmic. Here, Sir Mark Elder presents a slightly melancholic version of Images pour orchestre, which stands out from his other well-known interpretations on disc, such as of those of Monteux (Philips), Martinon (EMI) and Tilson Thomas (Deutsche Grammaphon), in an extravaganza of rhythms and colours. The British conductor always pays close attention to the balance of textures, as evidenced by his excellent version of Sibelius’ complete symphonies (Hallé Concerts Society). Here, he conducts an orchestra that is small but still mindful of the combinations of timbres (Gigues). The Hallé Orchestra delights in the frequent harmonic friction of the music – one may even wonder whether Debussy was an elder cousin who led the way for the great English symphonists… Rondes de printemps remains one of the composer’s most advanced works, a miniature study of the later ballet Jeux – something which Sir Mark Elder’s tremendous expertise alludes to in this interpretation. It’s a shame that the recording technique for the albums by the Hallé Orchestra Concerts Society is always a little fuzzy and lacks clarity of timbre and depth as it could potentially sound rather dull to the listener rather than providing a true reflection of Elder’s live performances with this orchestra – which he has been doing since 1999! Nevertheless, this is a perfect and sublimely lascivious interpretation of Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, with two arrangements for piano, one of which is from Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut, and one of which is from Book II of Images for piano, an undisputed masterpiece of the French master. – Pierre-Yves Lascar

1. Images: I. Gigues (08:19)
2. Images: IIa. Ibéria – Par les rues et par les chemins (07:33)
3. Images: IIb. Ibéria – Les parfums de la nuit (08:43)
4. Images: IIc. Ibéria – Le matin d’un jour de fête (04:44)
5. Images: III. Rondes de printemps (08:15)
6. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (Orch. Colin Matthews) (06:20)
7. La plus que lente (06:03)
8. Prélude a l’après-midi d’un faune (10:40)