Debussy: Orchestral Works

Debussy: Orchestral Works
Pierre Monteux
Catalogue No.

This generous disc brings together all of Pierre Monteux’s Debussy recordings for Decca and Philips. Encompassing some of Debussy’s major orchestral works, these performances have a fluidity and atmosphere about them in recordings that have worn their years lightly. Monteux omits ‘Sirènes’ in his recording of the Nocturnes – a practice not atypical of recordings of the work in the 1950s and 1960s


Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
2 Nocturnes
Images pour orchestre
Le martyre de Saint Sébastien: Fragments symphoniques

London Symphony Orchestra
Pierre Monteux

Recording information

Recording Producer: Erik Smith (Prélude, Nocturnes)
Balance Engineer: Kenneth Wilkinson (Prélude, Nocturnes)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, December 1961 (Prélude, Nocturnes); Wembley Town Hall, London, UK, May 1963 (Images, Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien)


‘The orchestra plays beautifully [in Images]’ … ‘As well as the expected orchestral refinement there is an overall sweep – the clouds passing steadily overhead and the Fêtes celebrated with tingling vitality’ (Nocturnes) … ‘Monteux’s reading evokes the cool, classical world of the faun’ (Prélude) Musicweb International

‘Monteux’s Debussy was without peer, comparable to that other great Decca artist, Ernest Ansermet but the recording of the “San Sebastien” fragments was made for Philips and it has been accorded star status ever since its issue in 1963’ Classical Net

‘Monteux’s sensitive, colourful performances reveal his deep immersion in the Debussyian idiom. He [offers a] relaxed interpretation that revels in Ibéria’s Spanish colouring, while Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun passes by like a serene interlude. “Nuages” also flows effortlessly and unrushed, allowing for Debussy’s tangy harmonies to fully emerge, and “Fêtes” sparkles with vibrant energy … The London Symphony … plays beautifully, with impressive tonal and rhythmic precision.’ Classics Today