Album: Debussy/Matthews, Préludes/Jeux – Hallé Orchestra/Elder (Hallé)

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The Independent Culture

Colin Matthews's vivid orchestration of Debussy's Préludes reverses the technique used in Stephen McNeff's chamber orchestration of 'Pelléas et Mélisande'.

The instrumentation is French and of the period, yet Debussy's large-canvas colours sound unwieldy when applied to piano miniatures. The furtive sparkle of "Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses" and "Voiles" is brilliantly captured but "Des pas sur la neige" acquires an oddly urban oiliness. A detailed performance of "Jeux" amplifies the peculiarity of this experiment.

Pick of the Album: Matthews's edgy orchestration of 'La sérénade interrompue'