Debussy: Préludes Book 1; Préludes Book 2

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COMPOSERS: Debussy
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Préludes Book 1; Préludes Book 2
PERFORMER: Krystian Zimerman (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 435 773-2 DDD
Over the past few decades the way pianists play Debussy has changed. At one time his music was made to sound bleached and anaemic, but pianists are now ready to show it in much sharper focus. Krystian Zimerman is a prime example of the modern interpreter who presents Debussy as a composer of sense as well as sensibility. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair is almost a plain Jane here, and the sounds and scents of the evening scarcely linger as impalpable impressions. But the piano playing is superbly brilliant and precise, and the more energetic pieces, like No. 7 of Book 1 (Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest) and the last of Book 2 (Feux d’artifice), are thrilling. The recording is spacious and rich yet clear – a perfect match for the interpretations. If the discs lack magic and mystery, they do confirm that Debussy’s intentions were as definite as any composer’s. Adrian Jack

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