Debussy Piano Music (Vol 3) Review

Album. Released 2005.  

BBC Review

Debussy's second book of Preludes demands the nimblest of musical minds and a...

Andrew McGregor 2006

From atmospheric moodscapes to picture postcards of Andalusia, a homage to Dickens's Mr. Pickwick (complete with send-up of the British national anthem) and a reference to Peter Pan, Debussy's second book of Preludes demands the nimblest of musical minds, fingers that can encompass the most delicate writing as well as the explosive virtuosity, and a technique that can command an orchestral palette of tone colours.

This is volume 3 of Noriko Ogawa's Debussy series (and she's also recorded Book 1 of the Preludes), so it's hardly surprising that all the above boxes are ticked. But we can marvel again at how completely she and Debussy transcend the percussive limitations of the piano without ever romanticising or sentimentalising these miniature masterpieces.

Then there's Debussy's toybox: La boîte à joujoux, a children's ballet where a kaleidoscope of characters glitters before our eyes, and Ogawa almost manages to persuade me that this is as colourful as the orchestral version.

The recording quality is so good you have to remind yourself to think about it - and as Debussy wrote once to Dukas: 'It is unnecessary for music to make people think...it would be good enough if it made them listen'. Well, go on then. What's stopping you?

Like This? Try These:
Debussy: Preludes I and II (Pascal Rogé)
Chopin: Études (Murray Perahia)
Fauré: Chamber Music (Gil Shaham et al)

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