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.
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.
With two critically-lauded releases on Navona Records (NOTTURNO, performing works by Chopin, and a four-CD box set, BEETHOVEN – 8 CONCERTI) pianist Eliane Rodrigues returns with REFLETS showcasing the pianist’s nuanced and thoughtful performances of fifteen works by Claude Debussy.
First recorded collaboration between one of the leading sopranos of our time, Juliane Banse, and the incomparable pianist András Schiff. The programme is a fascinating combination of two different worlds of 'Liedgesang' - in language as well as musical style and historicity.
An actor is playing Claude Debussy in a film about the composer's life, and finds himself identifying with his subject very closely.
In addition to the traditional pairing of the Debussy and Ravel string quartets, the Arcanto Quartett performs Henri Dutilleux's Ainsi la Nuit (1971-1976), a grouping that is becoming increasingly popular on recordings. These are absolutely secure, thoughtful, self-effacing readings of the Debussy and the Ravel. While the quartet doesn't bring particular new revelations to the pieces, the members play with nuanced sensitivity and impeccable musicianship. The haunted quiet they achieve in the first part of the third movement of the Debussy is especially impressive, as is the clarity of their sense of direction and unity in the final movement, the most difficult of the four to pull off. Similarly in the Ravel, the contrast between the serenity of the third movement and the raw athleticism of the fourth is attention-grabbing and invigorating.
French pianist Monique Haas recorded the piano works of Debussy and Ravel twice, once in the late '50s and early '60s for Deutsche Grammophon and again in the late '60s and early '70s for Erato. The later recordings are released here in this six disc set from Warner Classics. As on the earlier set, Haas' performances are elegantly stylish, technically impeccable, consummately musical, and quintessentially French. Pick any piece by either composer at random, and you'll see. Try her bright but sensual Suite Bergamasque with its ravishing Clair de lune or her brilliant and visionary Études with their astounding concluding Pour les accords. Or try her recklessly virtuosic Gaspard de la nuit with its frightening Scarbo or her sweetly swaying Valses nobles et sentimentales with its heartrending Épilogue. There are only two meaningful differences between Haas' recordings: in the earlier performance, she is more passionate and impetuous while in the later performances she is more measured and thoughtful.