Enchanting rethinking of Debussy's best

Conducting wizard Jun Märkl leads Orchestre National de Lyon to sublime heights with this collection of Debussy classics

Composer: Debussy
Repertoire:  Suite Bergamasque; Petite Suite; Symphony; En blanc et noir
Artists: Orchestre National de Lyon/Jun Märkl
Rating:  5/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: NAXOS 8.572583

The Music: Some of Debussy’s most enchanting music heard via skilful orchestrations, including those by Henri Büsser sanctioned by Debussy (Petite Suite, Printemps) and Robin Holloway’s inspired 2004 rescoring of En blanc et noir.

The Performance: If trying to rethink Debussy’s sublimely idiomatic piano writing in orchestral terms isn’t challenging enough, to make it sound like an orchestral original borders on the impossible. Yet miraculously, this is just what Jun Märkl achieves in this enchanting collection, as witness magical performances of the Suite bergamasque and Petite Suite that appear to float free of musical gravity. He makes En blanc et noir sound even more alluring than in its two-piano original, while an early symphonic movement that originally never got beyond piano duet scoring emerges like liquid gold.

The Verdict: Jun Märkl’s outstanding Debussy series makes every piece sound like one of the most cherishable masterworks in the repertoire.

Want More? All five previous volumes in this Naxos Debussy series are must-haves.

Why You’ll Love This

•    Small Is Beautiful
No one has ever captured the sense of a small boat creating gentle ripples on a lake in the early morning mist (‘en bateau’ from the Petite Suite) as magically as Märkl and his gifted Lyon players.

•    Revitalised Symphony
American composer-arranger Tony Finno’s inspired orchestration of Debussy’s early Symphony comes thrillingly to life in exemplary sound from gifted engineer-producer Tim Handley.

•    In Colour
If you have ever wondered what Debussy’s En blanc et noir (a reference to the piano keyboard) might sound like fleshed out in full colour, conducting wizard Jun Märkl provides the perfect answer.