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The fourth volume in Naxos’s highly praised series of Debussy’s Orchestral Works presents music drawn from three of his theatrical ventures and from one of his Prix de Rome entries.
The prelude, fanfares and four symphonic fragments from Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien were taken for concert performance from Debussy’s incidental music for Gabriele D’Annunzio’s scandalous mystery play.
While rarely heard today, the ‘danced legend’ Khamma, set in ancient Egypt, and incidental music for Shakespeare’s King Lear, provide suitably atmospheric music, as do the Cortège et air de danse from The Prodigal Son, the cantata which gained Debussy the Prix de Rome in 1884.
Claude Debussy: Le martyre de St. Sebastien: Fragments symphoniques
No. 1. La cour de lys (from Act I: Prelude)
No. 2. Danse extatique et Final (from Act I)
No. 3. La Passion (from Act III)
No. 4. Le bon pasteur (from Act IV)
Claude Debussy: Le martyre de St. Sebastien: Act II. La chambre magique: Prelude
Le martyre de St. Sebastien, Act II. La chambre magique: Prelude
Claude Debussy: Le martyre de St. Sebastien: Act III: Le concile des faux dieux: 2 Fanfares
Fanfare No. 1
Fanfare No. 2
Claude Debussy: Khamma (arr. C. Koechlin)
Claude Debussy: Le roi Lear (orch. J. Roger-Ducasse)
Le sommeil de Lear
Claude Debussy: L'enfant prodigue
L'enfant prodigue: Cortege et Air de danse
“Played like this, with every phrase pulsating with life-enhancing radiance and choreographic intensity, these magical scores caress the senses as rarely before...Märkl is a master Debussyan, who captures the magical half-lights of these scores with a rare instinct for colour and texture.”
9th September 2010
“Märkl refuses to settle for the familiar Symphonic Fragments [from Saint Sébastien], and includes additional numbers from the second and third acts in a performance that is austere and raunchy by turns...Its companion piece is the 1912 "danced legend" Khamma...The Orchestre de Lyon play it handsomely”
25th September 2010
“While [Khamma is] well played here, it is overshadowed by the much more confident Martyrdom of St Sebastian, in which the music’s sensuous colouring shows Debussy inspired, the orchestral playing echoing his finesse.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.