DEBUSSY: Images, Jeux, Nocturnes, La Mer, Rhapsody for
Clarinet and Orchestra, Sacred and Profane Dances, Berceuse héroique,
Marche écossaise, Prélude à l'Après-midi
This is a splendid collection of essential orchestral Debussy, masterfully played and very well recorded. Haitink perhaps is not the most atmospheric conductor of Impressionistic music, but he is sensitive to the many nuances, and it is a pleasure to hear this music so well performed. La Mer and Nocturnes are outstanding, and a welcome inclusion is the 1957 recording of Berceuse héroique conducted by Eduard van Beinum, the Concertgebouw's previous music director. It is only of four minutes' duration, but a shining example of the artistry of this unjustly neglected master conductor, whose own magnificent recordings of La Mer, Nocturnes, and Images have just now been issued in Holland on Philips (462 069). Limited program notes on this Philips Duo set, but they are in four languages. High quality here, representing some of the better engineering efforts of the Philips engineers.
R.E.B. (September 1999)