Probably my favorite orchestral piece of classical music. Debussy was loathe to refer to it as a symphony, but we use the term much more loosely now than in his era. -Ian!
In the 1950s and 60s, CBS/Columbia (now Sony Classical) had the great fortune to have three of America’s best orchestras and their conductors on its recording roster — Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, and George Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra. Nearly a half-century later, sadly only Leonard Bernstein remains a name that even the non-classical music world knows well. But in the world of the compact disc, this is a wonderful thing, because while Leonard Bernstein analog stereo recordings sell at mid-price, classic performances by Ormandy and Szell are regulated to the budget line. Well, my friends there is justice because the vast majority of these “budget line” recordings are not only amazing, but some are still considered definitive more than 40 years later! This 1959 golden-age stereo recording of Debussy’s “La Mer” by Ormandy and the Philadelphians has to be included in that list. Throw in terrific performances of “Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune,” “Danse” (both from 1959), and the “Nocturnes” (from 1964), and you’ve got a classic disc. Never did something of such high quality come at such a small price. Enjoy!