Ernest Ansermet (1883–1969) made a series of recordings (with great producers such as Ray Minshull and others) of music by Debussy in the late 1950s and early ’60s that were second to none. Today, these interpretations are still considered a yardstick by which others are judged.
Ansermet worked closely with many of the leading composers of the day, especially Ravel and Stravinsky as he was conductor of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes from 1915 to 1923. He met Debussy in 1917 to discuss revisions to the Nocturnes, and gave what can be considered authentic performances of the composer’s works with his recently established Orchestre de la Suisse Romande.
Ansermet was an outspoken and forward-looking man. His recordings are famed for their clear authoritative tone, and his sensitivity and awareness in recording Debussy.
“Truly he had to work with an orchestra whose playing was less polished and not so homogenous as more famous European groups, but the sounds he created, with the aid of the Decca engineers, have a vividness that I find
compulsive … The Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune begins and closes impressively.”
“Khamma is a rarity; hardly ever performed in theatre or concert hall, this is probably its first recording.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.