Debussy: Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune, Nocturnes: Nuages, Fetes
Ravel: Pavane pour une infante defunte, Rapsodie espagnole
Pierre Monteux, conductor
London Symphony Orchestra
Pressing: FFSS, Blueback
Price range: $26-38, mean $31 on popsike
(Decca SXL 2312 $25-281, mean $92)
Comments: Another one of my favorite London/Deccas. This album is not ranked among Moon and Gray's very top Deccas (they gave it a 7 for performance and 8 for sound), but I love the music, and I think that's what matters. The sound stage is wide on this one, and dynamic range is great. I found this to be most appreciable in Ravel's Rapsodie Espagnole as well as Debussy's Fetes. Debussy's Prelude and Nuages are mesmerizing, with a lush sound from the LSO strings.
In its Blueback FFSS pressing, this album can be purchased relatively affordably. It's the Decca which will set you back should you choose to go for that one. The Prelude and Nocturnes were both released on the limited edition 7 CD Decca Original Masters boxed set of Monteux's Decca and Philips recordings. The Rapsodie espagnole and Pavane can be found on the Decca Originals series paired with Monteux's legendary recording of Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe ballet. All worth exploring if you haven't heard this recording before.