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Reviews: Debussy: Nocturnes, La Mer, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun - Järvi

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Reviews: 5

Review by csuzor June 2, 2005 (3 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Excellent recording, the music is imaginative and quite unlike any other. There are tracks which take you into a trance, and others which bring you back with power, and all with finesse. I can't compare to other recordings of these Debussy compositions, but this seems to be a fantastic performance. The surround mix is excellent, very precise and airy, the instruments seem well represented (I'm no expert), well done Telarc!

PS. To counterbalance the negative reviews here, another review by Mark Jordan from highfidelityreview.com :
Paavo Järvi doesnít stand too far off the traditional path, but, like Michel Plasson, he has a concept which recognizes the importance of the traditional French approach to orchestral sound. Thus, the rhythms are lightly sprung, the textures are kept airy and open, woodwinds are never swamped by the strings, and there is a consistent effort to find the center of gravity in each musical phrase, instead of emphasizing all notes more-or-less equally, which to a certain degree is a hallmark of the Germanic approach (and which is why, despite his taste for clarity, Boulez is as much Germanic as French)
...
In sum, Paavo Järvi and the Cincinnati Symphony have given us a fine, perceptive Debussy disc. Telarcís recorded sound works hand-in-hand with the conductorís stylistic approach as well as with the natural sound of the hall to make Debussyís music come to life with its French flavors intact. Järviís ĎNocturnesí is the best to come along in many years, and claims a distinguished place among the many competing recordings. The rest of the program is not quite as sharply characterized, but still fares well in Järviís deft hands.

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Review by ~~Phil~~ June 6, 2005 (10 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This is run-of-the-mill at best....Viktor's review is a bit harsh - but also fairly acurate - I do agree - I've heard much better...I'd personal like to get my hands on a Haitink conducted SACD of these Debussy gems...Bottom line with this SACD - lack-luster performance with good sonics (but then who really cares if the performance is not quite there???)

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Review by mwagner1962 June 18, 2005 (5 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I am going to chime in on this one as well.....

Paavo Jarvi is starting to leave me cold....I cannot understand what is going on here, but this performance is cold, dull, and uninspiring...period.

I have heard many different recordings of these pieces, and the offerings here are simply not on par with any other. After a serious cull of my CD library a few years ago, all I kept for La Mer is a killer redbook with Dutoit and Montreal (Decca) and for the rest, a Solti CD....

I loved Jarvi's Dukas SACD, and his Prokofiev, is pretty nice as well. The Stravinsky Petrouchka is extremely nice, yet his "Rite of Spring" and Nielsen 5th is a bi-polar SACD, with a terrible "Rite of Spring" and a stunning Nielsen 5th. Even his stuff on PentaTone is better than his Debussy SACD.

Telarc's sound is top notch, but that is where the praise stops!!!! If this chilly trend with Paavo Jarvi continues, then I will say bye bye to future Telarc/Jarvi/Cincinnati SACDs, which is a shame as the orchestra is quite good!!!

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Review by sylvian May 25, 2009 (4 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I can compare this release only to previous release by BMG Sony with Tilson and only Nocturnes and La Mer. Les Arts Nouveaux and Belle Epoque are my most beloved epochs in music.

NOCTURNES: Järvi executes them more accurate = short. Tilson Thomas' elaborative attitude and the orchestra on Sony release makes each movement a while longer (third part Sirens by 6 minutes, for example). Cincinnati orchestra plays more disciplined than the LAP.


La Mer is a marvel by composition. My first experience was with Liverpool philharmony under Libor Pesek released on Supraphon. Järvi's rendition is the best that I have heard until now.

Technically it is fair release although I do not feel very content with separation (see below)

On the contrary Faune is the worst track on this release (lack of separationin MC and mind this is DSD recording!) What a disappiontment for me! I have expected more freely playing and also more space!
In further listening I probably skip this one.

Berceuse is neutral.


I know that comparison of SA-CD and RBCD releases is a bit faulty but if compared in stereo I must confirm that I retain Tilison Thomas' rendition for a while then although it is not starry performance (I keep them both). I feel that the soundstage should have been much better on this SA-CD.

Final verdict> NEUTRAL

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Review by M_Dixon April 2, 2012 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Paavo Järviís interpretation of La Mer differs quite radically from the others I've heard. His use of rubato to shape phrases is far more reserved than the others, and he often enters sections where the tempo is incredibly slow, allowing the music to gradually build and decay over relatively long periods of time. This makes for an interesting listening experience, but it doesnít always lead to the best presentation of the musical material.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestraís performance, while credible, leaves me wishing for better intonation, balance and articulation though there are moments where the performers sound as good as anyone.

The Telarc production provides a sound that is more reverberant than most, which causes many of the details from the score to be lost somewhere within the larger overall sound. The effect is not unpleasant though, and many listeners might argue that this type of production offers a more realistic listening experience when compared to live concert listening.

There are better versions of La Mer available, but this recording should be considered a contender as the other works on the release tend to hold up better under scrutiny.

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