Claude Debussy
Classics Today, February 8, 2007
David Hurwitz: www.classicstoday.com

   
Children’s Corner - Orchestral transcriptions by: Caplet, Busser, Ravel, Ansermet, & Stokowski Orchestre symphonique de Québec / Yoav Talmi

There have been recordings of miscellaneous Debussy transcriptions before, but none quite at this level of completeness - or excellence. Caplet's arrangement of Children's Corner, Busser's Petite Suite, and the Ravel orchestrations of Sarabande and Danse are all well known; Ansermet's exquisite scoring of Six Épigraphes antiques deserves to be. The program also includes Busser's take on La Soirée dans Grenade, and no less than two versions of Clair de lune, by Stokowski and Caplet respectively. The former, not surprisingly, has the greater degree of sheer sensuous magic, while the latter is a touch more austere, but not necessarily more respectful of the original. Yoav Talmi and the Québec Symphony Orchestra offer performances that routinely rise to the level of perfection. Note the ideal tempo in the Ballet finale to the Petite Suite, or the deft touches of humor in Golliwog's Cakewalk (and those double-basses in Jimbo's Lullaby, "doux mais un peu gauche", exactly as Caplet prescribes). It's all just marvelous, plain and simple. Gorgeously atmospheric engineering, in both SACD surround and regular stereo formats, makes the entire package absolutely irresistible. If you love Debussy, then you need to add this release to your collection.