Discussion:
Debussy's "La Mer" 3rd mvt. Fanfares
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Kerrison
2018-08-18 21:17:51 UTC
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The new (September) Gramophone features a survey by Rob Cowan of recordings of "La Mer" that raises a question doubtless touched on here before but still interesting nonetheless. It concerns the brass "fanfares" which suddenly come in towards the end of the finale that are heard on several recordings but not on most others.

They were in the first printed edition of the score but omitted by Debussy in in the reprint for reasons which are not apparently very clear. Cowan writes that their excision "is a great shame, as they suggest a desperate alarm amid the storm."

For easy reference, try Munch and his Bostonians on this You Tube upload from his 1957 recording at about 21 minutes in ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BppVlpagweo

This upload is of just the finale with Stokowski and the London Symphony where the fanfares come in at about 7 minutes in ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=965cTnY--3I

In this 'live' Boulez/NYPO DVD, he leaves them out, at about 22 minutes in ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mGqLaD_zaU

There's little doubt that once you've heard them, you miss them when they're omitted. So whose versions do you have in your collection and which of them have those striking fanfares near the end of the finale and which do not?
g***@gmail.com
2018-08-19 05:17:55 UTC
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On Saturday, August 18, 2018 at 11:17:53 AM UTC-10, Kerrison wrote:
> The new (September) Gramophone features a survey by Rob Cowan of recordings of "La Mer" that raises a question doubtless touched on here before but still interesting nonetheless. It concerns the brass "fanfares" which suddenly come in towards the end of the finale that are heard on several recordings but not on most others.
>
> They were in the first printed edition of the score but omitted by Debussy in in the reprint for reasons which are not apparently very clear. Cowan writes that their excision "is a great shame, as they suggest a desperate alarm amid the storm."
>
> For easy reference, try Munch and his Bostonians on this You Tube upload from his 1957 recording at about 21 minutes in ...
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BppVlpagweo
>
> This upload is of just the finale with Stokowski and the London Symphony where the fanfares come in at about 7 minutes in ...
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=965cTnY--3I
>
> In this 'live' Boulez/NYPO DVD, he leaves them out, at about 22 minutes in ...
>
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mGqLaD_zaU
>
> There's little doubt that once you've heard them, you miss them when they're omitted. So whose versions do you have in your collection and which of them have those striking fanfares near the end of the finale and which do not?

The following may be of interest:

http://www.orchestralibrary.com/Nieweg%20Charts/Debussy-LaMer1905BrassInserts.pdf
Kerrison
2018-08-19 09:37:41 UTC
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> > There's little doubt that once you've heard them, you miss them when they're omitted. So whose versions do you have in your collection and which of them have those striking fanfares near the end of the finale and which do not?
>
> The following may be of interest:
>
> http://www.orchestralibrary.com/Nieweg%20Charts/Debussy-LaMer1905BrassInserts.pdf

I don't know about modern recordings but for older ones, the conductors who adopted the fanfares included Ansermet, Karajan, Monteux, Reiner, Ashkenazy, Haitink and Tilson Thomas, while those who did not included Toscanini, Koussevitzky, Barbirolli, Giulini, Szell, Ormandy and Bernstein. Cowan's survey seems to imply that it's more or less 50-50 as to who includes them and who does not, so you pays your money and takes your choice!
RiRiIII
2018-08-19 11:07:11 UTC
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Very interesting thread.

Krivine's brand new recording for Erato is without these fanfares, but includes a 2min track demonstrating the excerpt with the fanfares.
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