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John Whitmore
MusicWeb International, May 2013

Peter Breiner has been involved as an arranger and orchestrator with Naxos on a number of their previous issues. It is clear from his orchestration of Debussy’s complete preludes for piano that he has done his homework. The orchestral versions he has given us on this disc capture the spirit and sound-world of Debussy’s own orchestral works very well indeed.

The orchestral playing is exemplary and the sonics are first rate. There’s just enough resonance to deliver a true Debussian sound to the listener but all the inner details can still be clearly heard. Both conductor and orchestra were in splendid form during this session. Well worth having and hearing… © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, May 2013

…I’m inspired to see just how Slovak conductor and composer Peter Breiner approaches the task of orchestrating these works…

Naxos’s recording is crisp and colorful, matching the music. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Chang Tou Liang
pianomania, March 2013

The 24 Préludes of Debussy represent an ultimate test for the pianist in crafting a palette of colours on the keyboard, yet they positively beg to be orchestrated. These arrangements by Slovak composer Peter Breiner…are both idiomatic and evocative…the sonorities he creates come close to the spirit of Debussy’s own style.

He conjures up a pastoral mood for The Girl With The Flaxen Hair, raises a tempest-tossed vibe for What The West Wind Saw, and fulminates explosively in the final prelude Fireworks. For Spanish-inspired numbers, such as Interrupted Serenade and The Wine Gate, the deft use of percussion and the rhythms lends the music an exotic flavour. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra is every bit as sympathetic and incisive in its playing, making this a welcome addition to the recorded orchestral canon. © pianomania Read complete review

James Miller
Fanfare, March 2013

…Breiner’s orchestrations…take Debussy seriously and surely are intended as enhancements of the originals; I enjoyed listening to them and do not doubt that many of Fanfare’s readers may feel the same way…If you are interested in this music, it might be well worth exploring. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, November 2012

Volume 8 in Jun Märkl’s cycle of Debussy’s orchestral music is memorable for more than one reason. Besides living up to the standard of interpretation Märkl has achieved in this project and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s high reputation for musicianship, it is also the first time, to my knowledge, that anyone has successfully orchestrated all 24 pieces that comprise the two books of the Préludes for Piano. That distinction belongs to Peter Breiner…Whether Breiner’s imaginative orchestrations will earn a place besides the ones that Ravel made for Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition remains to the judgment of history, but it is undeniable that they are remarkably effective in bringing to life in the symphony hall pieces that were clearly conceived for the resources of the piano.

…Le Danse de Puck is charmingly rendered by a duet of flutes with transparent strings for accompaniment, and General Lavine—eccentric is a provocative portrayal for orchestra of a certain comedian whose act consisted of a sensational cakewalk on high stilts.

there is real magic in Breiner’s realization for orchestra of such a prelude as the enchanting La fille aux cheveux de lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair) with its sparing but effective use of clarinet, harp and strings to create an indelible impression of a girl whose natural beauty is beyond artifice. And Bruyères (Heather) is such an atmospheric evocation of its subject… © 2012 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

Robert Benson, November 2012

The new Naxos disk offers all of the preludes orchestrated by Peter Breiner, who has a respected history of orchestrating music of Granados and Tchaikovsky, music for guitar, and many arrangements of light music. He does his usual fine job, and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra directed by German conductor Jun Märkl play very well. An intriguing collection, worth investigating. © 2012 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

Debussy’s two books of twelve Preludes for solo piano were completed in 1910 and 1913, and have become part of the staple keyboard repertoire. They were essentially pictures of scenes and people, and as such call upon the pianist to colour them as best as they can within the limits of a percussive instrument. They have been subsequently orchestrated, both in part and as a whole, and some are well-known in that format, La fille aux cheveux de lin, being one particular example. Now we have another arrangement of all twenty-four offered by the Czech-born composer and arranger, Peter Breiner. He has not fallen into the trap of pastiche, though many have the fingerprints of Debussy’s orchestral style, and maybe it is in those moments where Breiner is most successful. Where there is no existing similarity, we find Breiner almost recomposing rather than orchestrating. The result is something of an interesting patchwork, where one moment you are hearing Debussy and the next it is Breiner. He never strays as far from the original as Ravel in his orchestration of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, and in his use of strings the long lyrical lines take on a new expressiveness…the project is pleasing, and with the excellence of the Royal Scottish National and conductor, Jun Märkl, this premiere recording should generate much interest. Good sound quality. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, September 2012

Most classical music aficionados like to complete their collections with the major works by favourite composers, but there is a new syndrome at work—one connected to the orchestrator (and composer) Peter Breiner. So splendid is his work rendering orchestral suites from a variety of sources that he now has a dedicated following, eager to see what orchestral magic he will work on some other favoured piece. This time it is the piano preludes of Claude Debussy. That composer may well have taken a very different approach had he chosen to orchestrate his own pieces, but Breiner’s are a masterclass in orchestration, with a kaleidoscopic range of colour that constantly tickles the year. Real delight. © 2012 Classical CD Choice Read complete review

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