Related Reviews
Crescendo
« Scottish Ensemble, qui a été fondé en 1969 et qui est, sans conteste, un des meilleurs orchestres à cordes européens. Sur ce même disque figurent en outre trois œuvres de Toru Takemitsu, dont l'étrange et envoûtante Nostalghia composée en 1987 en mémoire du cinéaste russe Andreï Tarkovski, décédé quelques mois plus tôt à l'âge de cinquante-quatre ans. Ce seul morceau d'une douzaine de minutes, parfaitement exécuté. »
more >>
The Strad
'[a] nicely nuanced performance, which [is] helped by the beautifully warm quality of the recording.'
more >>
MusicWeb International
'I rather think Debussy would have smiled on this arrangement of his String Quartet.'
more >>
Hi-Fi News
'Engaging performances all, set in the ambience of Caird Hall, Dundee, with lively channel information.'
more >>
ConcertoNet.com
'Le Scottish Ensemble emporte avec beaucoup de conviction et de ferveur le Quatuor à cordes de Debussy dans l’excellente transcription de Morton...'
more >>
Gramophone
'Toru Takemitsu's Nostalghia, forms the memorable conclusion to this impressive new disc from the Scottish Ensemble. The more poignant for its restraint, this miniature concerto for violin and strings requires just the kind of subtly polished playing that Jonathan Morton and his team provide.'
more >>
Classical CD Choice
'The pieces arranged by Jonathan Morton (who conducts the Scottish ensemble) are done with such musicality and sensitivity here that only the most unbending of listeners will be able to resist their charm...The Debussy items alone are worth the price of admission.'
more >>
Classic FM
'The reason for getting it though is the opportunity it gives to appreciate some rarely heard music.'
more >>
The Sunday Times
'Interleaving Debussy and Takemitsu can't fail.'
more >>
BBC Radio 3 ‘Record Review’
'...thoughtfully programmed, beautifully recorded.'
more >>
iTunes
'Expansive arrangements of Debussy and Takemitsu with a spirited, imaginative rendering.'
more >>
The Guardian
'Nimbleness and rapt eloquence'
more >>
Music for Several Instruments Blog
'Everything is at this very high level of passionate music making. The alternating Debussy and Takemitsu pieces are a kind of multi-cultural dance where each composer illuminates the other. A triumph from Scotland!'
more >>

Scottish Ensemble - Debussy & Takemitsu - American Record Guide


16 August 2016
American Record Guide
Stephen Wright

I think this might be the first recording of Debussy’s Quartet by a string orchestra; at least my scouring of the internet turned up no other. The 17 strings of the Scottish Ensemble play Jonathan Morton’s arrangement with pure, shimmering, glassy timbre and minimal vibrato, coolly detached—antipode to the Amaryllis Quartet’s fierce concentration that I reviewed earlier this year (March/April; Genuin 15373). I like the beefy bass notes of the chamber orchestra—not possible from a single cello—and the interpretation is superficially beautiful but doesn’t plumb very deeply the music’s expressive depths. The two arrangements of Debussy piano pieces take the same approach: beautiful, serene, detached, bloodless.

Like Debussy, Takemitsu was inspired by imagery, especially by movies. The two Film Scores pieces are from his own movie scores, and Nostalghia is a tribute to a director he admired. The latter, last piece on the program, is bleak and expressionistic, a depiction of homesickness—but it’s the anguish of missing one’s home, not a sepia-hued sentimental reminiscence. The language is chromatic, Bergian, with a jagged, wandering solo violin part all through. The movie pieces are more conventionally evocative: funeral music for post-World War II Hiroshima and training day and recuperation music for a Puerto Rican boxer, depicted by a swaggering tango.

The recorded sound is cold, pure, and pristine; the booklet notes are thorough.


Bookmark and Share


Related Links

Jonathan MortonJonathan Morton
Scottish EnsembleScottish Ensemble
Debussy & Takemitsu for stringsDebussy & Takemitsu for strings