First published in the Guardian on 14 September, 2017
Debussy/Faure: La Mer/Pelleas et Melisande
If you’re used to hearing Robin Ticciati with the fleet-footed Scottish Chamber Orchestra then the pure heft of this recording — his first as music director of Berlin’s Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester — might take a bit of getting used to. It’s exciting, and it bodes well. The orchestra has a powerful engine that always feels on the verge of breaking loose, but Ticciati harnesses the depth and drive of that energy and adds some gorgeously febrile stuff. Maybe some of the corners aren’t as nimble as they’ll become a few years into his new job, but Faure’s Prelude to Penelope surges and sweeps, Faure’s Pelleas et Melisande suite has a rich, sombre beauty and Debussy’s La Mer sounds robust, brooding and vast. Magdalena Kozena sings Debussy’s Ariettes oubliees (as orchestrated by Brett Dean) with a steely grandeur.