DEBUSSY Pelléas & Mélisande Suite / Abbado 4713322

Claudio Abbado . . . conjures . . . some of the most exquisite and detailed playing you could wish for . . . Sheer magic . . . is the performance of the Nocturnes, where the subtle colourings in "Nuages", the coming and going of the procession in Fêtes and the mysterious voices of Sirènes are all superbly evoked and recorded with exceptional clarity. The disc is worth having above all for the inclusion of the suite of extracts from the preludes, entr'actes and postludes taken from the opera "Pelléas et Mélisandes" . . . Wonderfully played and conducted with penetrating insight, this is a Debussy disc of the highest quality.

Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic explore every facet of his work, his colourings and his sense of balance. This is as finely crafted a recording as you're likely to come across.

As always, Abbado's attention to detail is matched by his almost Gallic feel for the music and supreme command of his considerable forces.

Abbado is fully at home in the music's seductive sound-world.

Abbado is, of course, a past master of the opera itself, in the theatre and on disc (his DG recording dates from 1991) and here brings understanding of the music's place in the drama to bear.

As for the Prélude and tlie Nocturnes, I have seldom heard performances of such finesse and tonal beauty.

Claudio Abbado . . . and the Berlin Philharmonic oblige with a concert of Wagner orchestral music that treats line as paramount and warmth of sonority a close runner-up. . . . I'm reminded of an earlier Abbado/BPO recording, equally recommendable [Pellléas et Mélisande] . . .

. . . Claudio Abbado's . . . performances . . . are exemplary.

It's rapturous music played in rapturous style by the late Claudio Abbado and his distinguished orchestra, and I suppose we should count it a blessing we got it at all . . . ["Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune"]: Abbado's interpretation is among the most seductive, lithe, and sinuous of all. I loved it. I found the three Nocturnes impressive, too -- gentle and graceful . . . Abbado gets excellent support from members of the Berlin Radio Choir in the "Sirens" segment. Nevertheless, it's the "Pelleas et Melisande" suite, arranged years ago by conductor Erich Leinsdorf, that carries the day. It is gorgeous in its Delius-like meandering manner, with waves of sound rolling over the listener in sweet profusion like spring breezes on a warm day. The concert suite leaves out much of the overt action of the complete work, contenting itself mainly with the linking material, which is just fine by me for its relaxed tone and romantic atmosphere, especially as Abbado presents it. And then there's the sheer beauty of the Berlin orchestra; it's hard to resist.

Alles hat Rhythmus, Kraft, ein Schweben. Mit den "Trois Nocturnes" gelingt es Abbado vollends, Debussys Orchestergeheimnisse als impressionistische Substanzen zu enthüllen.

Le chef italien cultive le raffinement poétique avec autant de vitalité que de profondeur, autant de couleur que de transparence. Les ressources de l'orchestre sont naturellement pour beaucoup dans l'articulation impeccable et la souplesse des phrasés, mais on admire par-dessus tout ce maniement miraculeux des timbres, cette intuition des nuances les plus secrètes, cette science de la lumière debussyste.