Debussy was one of the most important and influential composers of the early twentieth century. This recording features two of Debussy’s most harmonically innovative and imaginatively orchestrated works. Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) evokes a pagan world, as the faun of the title takes his ease in the afternoon shade on a summer day. The three symphonic sketches that constitute La mer (The Sea), inspired partly by Katsushika Hokusai’s famous colour woodcut The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, offer subtly nuanced evocations of the sea from dawn to midday, of the waves and of the dialogue of wind and sea.
"...The Prélude is very well done. The solo flute is suitably sensuous, and is ably complemented by the solo oboe. Also, I have never heard the two solo violins, at the end, sound quite as winsome as they do here. The big tune in the middle is allowed to expand as it should and the delicate final pages, with slightly too reticent antique cymbals, is well controlled. La Mer is almost as fine a performance. Starting very mysteriously, Märkl builds up the tension until the music bursts forth with animation. It’s a fine achievement... Jeux is one of Debussy’s most elusive scores ... You’d be hard pressed to find a finer performance on disk..."
Bob Briggs - MusicWeb-International.com - August 2008
"Naxos subtitles their release "Orchestral Works 1", so it is the opening salvo in another Compleat Cycle. Markl and his players acquit themselves admirably, and as one-stop shopping for some of Debussy’s most engaging orchestral works (even if Children’s Corner was actually orchestrated by Andre Caplet), it’s hard to beat... Why do so many conductors insist on recording Afternoon of a Faun? The piece is pure, static atmosphere; this performance is as good as any I’ve heard. Markl makes Children’s Corner a little too sober and studious. It’s not without charm; but more playfulness, high spirits, and whimsy would be welcome. The Lyon ensemble turns in some world-class playing. The slightly cool recorded sound is spacious without losing detail."
Hansen - American Record Guide - September 2008