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Jun Märkl

Born in Munich to a German father (a distinguished Concertmaster) and a Japanese mother (a concert pianist), Jun Märkl was familiar with music before he was born. His musical horizons expanded almost from the moment of his birth. Nothing seemed more natural. ‘Music,’ he now reflects, ‘is such an essential way of expressing yourself that it’s really another language that you learn.’ That said, acquiring it was not always an undiluted pleasure. Nor, despite a precocious start, did performance hold many charms for him. At least not at first. ‘I studied both the violin and the piano from a very early age—the violin from when I was four, the piano from when I was five—and I started playing for people when I was seven, mostly for my parents’ guests and things like that. I can’t honestly say I liked it very much. I was certainly no wunderkind, not at all, but as the years went on I began playing for bigger and bigger audiences.’

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Jun Märkl


DEBUSSY Orchestral Works Vol 1 - La mer, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Jeux
Orchestre National de Lyon • Jun Märkl, conductor

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 Lyon ensemble turns in some world-class playing.’
American Record Guide

3 STARS – Ritmo

DEBUSSY Orchestral Works Vol 2 - Nocturnes , Clair de lune , Pelléas et Mélisande-symphonie
Orchestre National de Lyon • Jun Märkl, conductor

Debussy’s orchestral works are much loved for their exquisite orchestrations, poetically nuanced harmonies and almost magical evocations of time and place. He achieved his first significant success in 1900 with Nocturnes , which portrays in three movements clouds reflected in the sea, holiday festivals in the Bois de Boulogne and the fatally seductive song of the Sirens. The Pelléas et Mélisande Symphony was derived by Marius Constant from the orchestral episodes of Debussy’s famous opera, while the Trois Études are heard in a revealing orchestration of the piano originals by the contemporary Swiss composer, Michael Jarrell.

‘one heck of a good performance of the Nocturnes. I liked them enough to order Volume 1, which includes the Afternoon of a Faune, La mer, and the Children’s Corner suite [8.570759].’ – Fanfare

DEBUSSY Orchestral Works Vol 3 – Images, Sarabande, Danse, Marche ecossaise,  La plus que lente
Orchestre National de Lyon • Jun Märkl, conductor

The music of three nations—Britain, Spain and France—inspired Debussy’s Images for orchestra, which occupied him from 1905 to 1912. Originally conceived for two pianos (Images I and II for solo piano are on 8.550253), this third set draws on several folk songs in its outer movements, the tripartite middle movement evoking in musical terms Spanish sights, sounds and fragrances. Vivid orchestrations by the composer or admired colleagues of short piano pieces likewise embrace contrasting moods and national characters. Volumes 1 (8.570759) and 2 (8.570993) in this series have been highly praised.

‘Jun Märkl persuades his orchestra to extremes of vulgarity and tenderness, which is as it should be in the extraordinary Images…there is much here to enjoy.’ – BBC Music Magazine

DEBUSSY Orchestral Works Vol 4 - Le martyre de St. Sébastien, Khamma, Le roi Lear
Orchestre National de Lyon • Jun Märkl, conductor

The fourth volume in Naxos’s highly praised series of Debussy’s Orchestral Works presents music drawn from three of his theatrical ventures and from one of his Prix de Rome entries. The prelude, fanfares and four symphonic fragments from Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien were taken for concert performance from Debussy’s incidental music for Gabriele D’Annunzio’s scandalous mystery play. While rarely heard today, the ‘danced legend’ Khamma, set in ancient Egypt, and incidental music for Shakespeare’s King Lear, provide suitably atmospheric music, as do the Cortège et air de danse from The Prodigal Son, the cantata which gained Debussy the Prix de Rome in 1884.

‘playing and recording of exemplary quality’ – David’s Review Corner

MENDELSSOHN Elias (Elijah)
Ruth Ziesak, soprano • Claudia Mahnke, mezzo-soprano
Christoph Genz, tenor • Ralf Lukas, bass • Luise Müller, treble
Leipzig MDR Radio Choir • Leipzig MDR Symphony Orchestra
Jun Märkl, conductor


RELEASED IN OCTOBER 2010 Mendelssohn’s magnificent oratorio Elijah brings to life the tumultuous times and personal drama of the Biblical prophet in a sweeping series of recitatives, arias and choruses in which the composer’s Romantic genius drew deeply from the wellsprings of Bach and Handel. In this new recording, sung in German, Jun Märkl, one of the most notable conductors of his generation, leads an outstanding cast of soloists headed by Ralf Lukas, and Germany’s longest-standing radio symphony orchestra and its acclaimed choir.

MESSIAEN Poèmes pour Mi, Les offrandes oubliées, Un sourire
Anne Schwanewilms, soprano • Orchestre National de Lyon
Jun Märkl, conductor


RELEASED IN OCTOBER 2010 Love and faith, mortality and eternity are the abiding themes of these three important and beautifully shimmering works by one of the 20th century’s most innovative composers. Les offrandes oubliées, Messiaen’s first published orchestral work, is a symphonic meditation on Christ’s loving sacrifice to redeem the sin of humanity. Poèmes pour Mi sets nine mystical texts which were written as highly personal love songs to his first wife, Claire Delbos, while Un sourire pays homage to what he saw as Mozart’s ever-smiling attitude to life’s many hardships.

RAVEL Daphnis et Chloé , Shéhérazade Ouverture de féerie
Leipzig MDR Radio Choir • Orchestre National de Lyon
Jun Märkl, conductor


Ravel’s masterpiece, Daphnis et Chloé, was composed for the Ballets Russes and premièred in 1912. Ravel described his sumptuous score, for large orchestra, wind machine and wordless chorus, as “a choreographic symphony in three parts…a vast musical fresco…faithful to the Greece of my dreams”. His earliest orchestral work, the “fairy overture” Shéhérazade is all that remains of a planned opera based on The Thousand and One Nights. Ravel conducted the première in 1899, although the score remained unpublished until 1975.

‘This is a valuable and welcome addition to the Daphnis and Chloe discography.’ – 4 STARS Audiophile Audition

‘This is one of the most spectacular of showpieces among ballet scores, and the Lyon orchestra gives a powerful and subtle performance, with the wind and brass soloists outstanding.’ – Gramophone

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1:01:00 PM, 29 November 2015
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