Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Sir Georg Solti, conductor.
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One of the most-played French orchestral works of all time is La Mer, inspired by a famous print by the Japanese artist Hokusai ("The Great Wave off Kanagawa"). Equally famed for another artistic connection is Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, which was danced by Nijinsky and the Ballets Russe.
"The turbulence that is never far from the surface of the music is not only that of the wind and waves, but has an almost erotic tension. The first movement gradually increases in pace as it traces the course of 'Dawn to Midday on the Sea' … and includes a magnificent passage for 16 cellos. 'Play of the waves' is a glittering scherzo, and the final 'Dialogue between the Wind and the Sea' paints a picture of the blues, grays and whites of scudding clouds and a restless sea."—Martin Cotton, 1001 Classical Recordings