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Debussy: Orchestrated - Rophé

Debussy: Orchestrated - Rophé

BIS  BIS-2622

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Debussy: Petite suite, La Boîte à joujoux, Children's Corner

Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire
Pascal Rophé (conductor)


With the present disc, Pascal Rophé and his Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire pay tribute to their great countryman, Claude Debussy – but not with the standard orchestral fare. Debussy Orchestrated paints a portrait of a light-hearted composer, seen through the eyes of two of his collaborators, Henri Büsser and André Caplet, who transferred the works recorded here from the keyboard to the orchestra. In Petite Suite, composed for piano four hands in 1899, Debussy makes allusions to Fêtes galantes by Paul Verlaine, the poet who so often inspired him. Büsser’s orchestration of this light and pleasant suite was made in 1907, and obviously pleased Debussy, as he later entrusted him with making an orchestral version of Printemps.

As for Children’s Corner and La Boîte à joujoux, it is probably fair to say that the composer’s main inspiration was his own daughter, Claude-Emma, born in 1905. Both works are dedicated to her, and it is easy to imagine that some of the characters that appear in Children’s Corner had their counterparts among her toys. Letting toys come alive in a ballet was the idea that illustrator André Hellé a few years later presented to Debussy with La Boîte à joujoux. The piano version of the piece was published, with Hellé’s illustrations, in time for Christmas in 1913 and Debussy began orchestrating it the following year, but died before he could complete the task. His friend André Caplet – who had already orchestrated Children’s Corner – took over and the ballet was finally premièred in December 1919.

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Comment by Herbert Frei-Schindler - February 22, 2022 (1 of 2)

Lovely, idiomatic performances by one of the lesser known French orchestras. The sound is natural and spacious, somewhat warmer than on other BIS SACDs I own. Recommended. However, playing the SACD Stereo track, there is an annoying continuous noise which can be heard during very quiet passages. This noise does not appear on the CD track. Has anyone else experienced this noise?

Comment by breydon_music - February 23, 2022 (2 of 2)

I too look forward very much to this release, the third of mainstream French music for BIS. Their Roussel traversal was superb in every way and has been one of my favourite discs since its release. I do not have the Dutilleux concert, but trustworthy people on this site have spoken highly of it and I readily accept their judgement. Sadly for those of us in the U K who insist on physical media it may be a month or two yet before we can sample it.