Robin Ticciati & DSO Berlin - Debussy: Nocturnes – Duruflé: Requiem - American Record Guide
I have listened to the Berliners several times and can say that theirs is one of the very best performances of this piece with orchestra. The chorus and orchestra are superb in every way, displaying an extraordinary dynamic range and a perfect balance between the chorus and orchestra—often missing in performances with full orchestra. They sing and play with flexibility and a subtle expressive nuance, infused with an obvious understanding of the essence of this piece—Gregorian Chant. According to the notes, the Nocturnes are paired with the Requiem because the two composers “drew on related sources and their music belongs to a continuous French tradition dating far back to the polyphonic treatment of plainsong by the late 12th Century Notre Dame school”. Debussy was attracted to plainsong because it was metrically and rhythmically fluid, countering what he railed against as “the tyranny of the barline”. What is outstanding in this performance is the vivid color and the extraordinary pppfff dynamic range one rarely hears from orchestras. A marvelous performance in all aspects. Extensive and perceptive notes on the music, performers, orchestra. Texts and translations. This has become a favorite recording.