Debussy, Ravel, Schumann

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Debussy,Ravel,Schumann
LABELS: BBC Legends
WORKS: Suite bergamasque; Pagodes; La soirée dans Grenade
PERFORMER: Walter Gieseking (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: BBCL 4030-2 ADD mono
This is a disc to challenge modern assumptions about artistry. While by no means technically perfect – wrong notes and rushing abound and there is a terrible squeak (the pedal?) through Kreisleriana – Gieseking’s musical convictions are fabulously compelling. Although there are some superb modern recordings of the Debussy pieces (Kocsis for example – see above), Gieseking ventures boldly where certain modern pianists fear to tread: he is never too shy to provide Debussy with the hedonistic steaminess that oozes from every pore of ‘La soirée dans Grenade’ and L’isle joyeuse – both are volcanically sensual. In Schumann’s Kreisleriana, the nightmare demons he conjures up feel even closer to this work’s eerily haunted spirit than that other great historical favourite, Cortot. Argerich’s magnificent Ravel Sonatine, admittedly, would be serious competition – but then Gieseking’s is not a disc to listen to for definitive, perfect performances, but rather for his individual strength of spirit and deep, passionate musical understanding. Jessica Duchen

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