DEBUSSY Pelléas et Mélisande Abbado 4353442

This is a superb issue that challenges even the finest so far. The warmth of the VPO strings in the very first bars holds out a promise that is never disappointed: the orchestra, always subtle but positively glowing, is responsive to every one of Debussy's dynamics and rises to the most intense of climaxes in the emotional high spots of Act 4. Abbado directs a sensitive and flexible reading, rather faster than usual in some places - impelled by the dramatic situation, he pushes ahead when Golaud flares up on hearing that Melisande has lost his ring, and in that terrible scene when little Yniold is made to spy on his stepmother.