Claude Debussy (1862-1918) : Première suite d’orchestre (complétée par Philippe Manoury pour le 3e mouvement « Rêve ») ; La Mer. Les Siècles, direction : François-Xavier Roth. 1 Cd Les Siècles.Live. Référence ASM 10. Recorded in 2012. Booklet in french and english. Duration : 49’44.
The French conductor François-Xavier Roth is the first to record the Suite n°1 by Claude Debussy. The musicologists Jean-Christophe Branger and Denis Herlin rediscovered the score in a library in New-York. They found both versions of the score: for piano and for orchestra. The orchestration of the third movement has not been completed so a new orchestration has been commissioned to the French contemporary composer Philippe Manoury. Debussy composed the Suite n°1 in his last years of studies at the Conservatory of Paris. This Suite slaloms between many references and styles of his time: Chabrier, Gounod, Delibes and a touch of exoticism. The Suite n°1 is certainly not a masterpiece because of too demonstrative effects and a lack of stylish unity. But, its typically « nineteenth-century » charm is appealing. François-Xavier Roth bowdlerizes the plumb effects of the score.
The second part of the CD is devoted to La Mer. The conductor is able to create an ecstatic post-impressionist climate and a firework of instrumental colours. His baton is very expressive in a transparent and shimmering French tradition of conducting. The Orchestra “Les Siècles” is playing with flexibility and a sense of style.
In the segment “Debussy played on period instruments” this album is certainly a must. It’s actually much better than the recent CD conducted by Jos van Immerseel (Zig Zag) which was too blunt and not in style.