Debussy's richly evocative Estampes takes us through exotic gamelan-like sonorities from East Asia and the strumming guitars of Spain, to end amid the bracing excitement of a violent rainstorm in Normandy. Alexander Panfilov was a laureate at the Premio Jaen competition in 2016, at which Manuel Seco de Arpe's elegantly constructed and complex Anamorfosis was the mandatory work. He concludes this recital with Mussorgsky's supremely descriptive Pictures at an Exhibition, one of the great works of the Russian piano tradition.
Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has devoted many creative energies to Bach, and it shows in this reading of Debussy favorites (and a few less common works): Hewitt's is a rather precise and tempo-consistent Debussy, light on the atmospherics but with technical agility to spare. What you'll think of this may well depend on how you see the nature of Debussy's break with the French Romantic tradition: did it involve a dryness of expression, or is the usual hazy vision the right one?
From the opening notes of “Brouillards,” it’s clear why Alexander Melnikov has chosen one of his own historic pianos for Debussy’s second volume of Préludes. His French Erard piano, from around 1885, possesses a chiming bass, a delicate yet resonant upper register, and a warm middle. It’s ideal for music that so often requires a fine brushstroke. Melnikov obliges, playing with exquisite restraint, control, and voicing as he whisks us to sun-drenched, humid India, the world of illustrator Arthur Rackham’s fairies and to a firework display, full of brilliant, nervous tension. Melnikov is joined by Olga Pashchenko for a thrilling performance of Debussy’s arrangement for four hands of his orchestral suite La Mer.
A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many Harmonia Mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great ‘colourist’ and father of modern music.
March 25th marks the hundredth anniversary of the death of French composer Claude Debussy. His work and life will be celebrated all year with numerous events and concerts dedicated to him. This 4CD compilation gathers rare and great recordings addressed to both specialists and curious consumers. Some of these recordings have been out of the market for years and are now available again, like Mikko Franck and Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra orchestral program (Images, Printemps, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un Faune), which received many awards, or the great Catherine Collard's Préludes (books I and II). Other performers included on this product are Nathalie Stutzmann, M. Tilson-Thomas, E. Pekka Salonen, Günter Wand.
There is no need by now to introduce the Quatuor Hermès, which has become the most brilliant of the young generation of French quartets thanks to its solid track record of faultless yet never flashy performances.