Debussy: Complete Works for Solo Piano Vol. 2: Preludes Book 2; Estampes; Children’s Corner

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COMPOSERS: Debussy
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Complete Works for Solo Piano Vol. 2: Preludes Book 2; Estampes; Children’s Corner
PERFORMER: Paul Crossley (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: SK 53111 DDD
Crossley continues along the approachable, straightforward line he took in the first volume of his complete Debussy series. With such elusive and ambivalent pieces as the Preludes, that’s an asset for recording purposes. Sometimes, again, the warmth and spaciousness have the effect of playing it safe (Feuilles mortes); but this time a sort of subtle distancing emerges more readily. Withdrawn lyricism does the trick at the end of Canope. For General Lavine – eccentric a ferocious beginning and end set the prevailing gleeful swagger into ironic perspective. Feux d’artifice has, well, the sparkiest performance on the disc, and makes a fine climax.

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With the more relaxed, earlier music of Estampes, Crossley takes the long view rather than going for violent contrasts in the second, Granada-inspired piece; Jardins sous la pluie then emerges urgent and vivid, a monsoon rather than an English shower.Clear vision, steady gaze and immediate feeling make for a performance of Children’s Corner in which the child is fully alive in the adult rather than a cause for condescension. Robert Maycock