Debussy : Afternoon of a Faun
Leonard Bernstein conducting the New York Philarmonic Orchestra (1960)
Columbia MS 6271
Speakers Corner Records : LP 180 gram
Brand New and Sealed Record
Contents & Details
Claude Debussy (1862-1918) :
Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (afternoon of a faun)
Recorded in May and September 1960 at Manhattan Center, New York City.
What exactly is a faun and what does he do in the afternoon? Claude Debussy gives us a musical answer to this question by sending off the lecherous rural deity of fertility to have his pleasure with two sleeping nymphs. The bewitching sound of flutes and harps along with lilting melodies accompany the god while on the hunt. With its delectable, filigree themes, it is hardly surprising that this composition has continued to inspire choreographic interpretations since its conception. Composed, however, as a symphonic poem, the "Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune", with its iridescent tonal colouring and varying moods, is a sheer delight to the ear alone.
“The flute of the faun brought new breath to the art of music.” With these words, the star conductor and composer Pierre Boulez stressed the immense importance of the impressionist key work "Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune". Whether one regards the gentle, mysterious opening on the solo flute as a doorway to the avant-garde or simply as a musical representation of the lasciviously fantasising god of Nature Pan (faun) is neither here nor there. What remains fascinating is the passionate performance of the large orchestra, whom the composer refused to subject to angular cadences and bestowed it instead with continually shimmering, ethereal, well-nigh wistful harmony.
The winds and horns perform with the greatest concentration, finely graded vis-à-vis the strings in the Nocturnes, which are divest of all symphonic form and display a wealth of veiled harmonies in elements which give the work form. Culminating a very successful compositional repertoire, Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic present a fresh performance of Debussy’s final composition "Jeux". This vivacious dance is full of rhythmic arabesques that swirl around a central theme and round off the colourful depiction of Debussy’s free form quasi as a summary.
The "golden age" of recordings was from 1955 to 1965, at the beginning of the LP and the stereo era, where pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings demonstrating unparalleled fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and illumination.
This Speakers Corner LP was remastered using pure analogue components only, from the original analogue studio tapes through to the cutting head, and was pressed with virgin vinyl at Pallas. More information under http://www.pure-analogue.com