Colin Clarke

Debussy: Prélude de l’après-midi d’une faune; La mer. Stravinsky: Le sacre du printemps

8:00, 22nd February 2018

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra/Danielle Gatti
RCO 17111 79 mins

While Gatti and the Concertgebouw disappointed at last year’s Proms in Bruckner, this repertoire clearly plays to their strengths, the Debussy in particular. Some might find the continuous change of camera angle a distraction in the languorous Prélude (not always highlighting the logical person, either), but the recorded sound is fabulous. Emily Benyon’s flute contributions are a continual joy. La mer is, if anything, even finer: listen to the burnished cellos, or the glistening textures of the work’s central movement.

While Gatti’s Debussy is revelatory, his Stravinsky Rite is not quite up there. It is intelligent and displays textures of superb clarity, but there is an upholstered element that detracts from the work’s inherent rawness. Put another way one was reminded more of Firebird than Petrushka.

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