Debussy & Ravel / La Mer, La Valse / Myung-Whun Chung

Audio Samples

>Debussy, Claude : La mer
>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye
>Ravel, Maurice : La valse

Album Summary

>Debussy, Claude : La mer
>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye
>Ravel, Maurice : La valse
Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Deutsche Grammophon presents internationally acclaimed conductor Myung-Whun Chung and his Seoul Phiharmonic Orchestra with a new album. The orchestra is a world class ensemble setting a new standard for orchestral music in Korea and regularly breaking records by playing for largely sold-out audiences.

"Chung takes very much the long view in this work, and his strategic approach pays off... Collectors who are looking for a La Mer and Mother Goose coupling with modern recorded sound will be rewarded for taking a punt on the Seoul Philharmonic... it is extremely competent. The playing is precise and responsive, and the woodwinds and brass are excellent." -MusicWeb-International

"There's a wonderful sense of rhythmic movement and cohesion to Debussy's music, but at the expense of some detailing which I missed...on this showing of the French repertoire, at which [Chung] excels, the orchestra deserves its place on the world stage." -Classic FM

"The playing has precision and delicacy, showcased in the Mother Goose suite." -The Financial Times

"The aqueous glints and flecks of colour in Debussy's La mer are attractively caught in this performance...More than that, though, the playing conveys the surging atmosphere, the fluid movement and the awe-inspiring grandeur of 'De l'aube a midi sur la mer'...The Seoul orchestra's sonority is both ripe and alert to detail, Chung's direction judging the pace and the range of dynamics in the music with a sure sense of its ebb and flow." -Gramophone

"In 2005 [the Seoul Philharmonic] declared its intent to reach world-class status. These three French showpieces demonstrate that, technically at least, it has attained that ambition. The playing is disciplined and beautifully blended. I am struck particularly by the beauty of the sound of the horn section." -The Sunday Times

"This programme of "symphonic sketches" by French Romantics offers a broad platform for the Seoul Philharmonic to demonstrate their impressive grasp of tone and texture...Debussy's "La Mer" is particularly well handled: highly impressionistic (a word the composer himself despised), it was cinematic before the term became commonplace." -The Independent

American Record Guide, September / October 2012
All the above qualities are prevalent in La Valse, but it is a very different piece. Detail, control, clarity, and beautiful playing (particularly in the luscious strings) are admirable, but account must be taken of the work's manic and destructive qualities, and Chung doesn't do that until the end. Until then the performance is so careful that it sounds interpretive ly uncertain, and the reticence of the brass does not help. They do come alive at the end, but it's too late.

The sound is clean and detailed, fitting the performances well. I was working from a press kit, so I don't know if the adequate notes are the ones that will be in retail copies.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Seoul Arts Center (05/20/2010).



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Works Details

>Debussy, Claude : La mer
  • Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung
  • Ensemble: Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Running Time: 24 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1903-1905

>Ravel, Maurice : Ma mère l'oye
  • Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung
  • Running Time: 15 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1908-1910
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Ravel, Maurice : La valse
  • Conductor: Myung-Whun Chung
  • Running Time: 13 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Waltz
  • Written: 1919-1920
  • Studio/Live: Live