Debussy: Pelleas Et Melisande

Album cover art for upc 878280000030
Label: GLYNDEBOURNE
Catalog: GFOCD00363
Format: CD

Roux; Duval; Reynolds; Hoekman; Wilbrink; Bredy; Shirley-Quirk; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Vittoria Gui

Wholenote Discoveries - May 2009
At the end of the 19th century French music was under the heavy influence of Wagner and Brahms. A fervent desire for change was in the air and the young Debussy was the right man at the right time to bring it about. With new harmonies and translucent textures he brought in a breath of fresh air with a completely new approach, l’impressionisme. His sole opera Pelléas et Mélisande is a sublime masterpiece and a pinnacle of French art. It is totally different from anything written before yet, to be honest, still owes homage to Tristan and Parsifal which Debussy admired. Its long score is delicate but of the highest inspiration and every phrase is meaningful. It moves in the atmosphere of shadows, in and out of silence, generally quiet, rarely reaching a fortissimo. This Glyndebourne performance from 1963 is an inspired one from the beautifully poetic impressionistic sets by Beni Montresor, through the incisive and sympathetic conducting of Vittorio Gui to the faultless, impressive cast. French soprano Denise Duval is exceptional as the fragile, semi wild creature Mélisande. Dutch baritone Hans Wilbrink with his slow awareness to love and ardent declaration is most memorable. A worthwhile listening experience. Last but not least, an A+ for presentation of these discs: elegantly designed hardcover books, with complete quattro lingual libretto. They will be a treasure for any collector. Janos Gardonyi

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