Debussy¥Stravinsky

COMPOSERS: Debussy,Stravinsky
LABELS: KML
ALBUM TITLE: Debussy,Stravinsky
WORKS: Concerto; Five Easy Pieces; Three Easy Pieces; Ragtime; The Five Fingers – three movements; Valse des fleurs; Tango
PERFORMER: Katia and Marielle Labèque (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 1112-3
This Debussy and Stravinsky programme is only the second release from Katia and Marielle Labeque’s KML label, but their innovative intent is already clear. In most cases where a CD is accompanied by a DVD, the latter contains either some filmed performances, or interviews and rehearsal footage. Here the DVD presents a set of interlocking, semi-abstract films by Tal Rosner to complement the music. The visual element reflects the characteristics of individual movements, while also emphasizing the cogency of the programme as a whole.

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That said, it is the CD that the vast majority of people will play most often. It contains some additional pieces, not least Stravinsky’s

arely heard Valse des fleurs. The performances are, as might be expected, of a very high order, with only the brisk tempo in the second movement of Stravinsky’s Concerto seeming out of kilter. En blanc et noir is incisive with unsentimental beauty, underlining the influence of Debussy on early Stravinsky. Clearly audible vocalisations from the pianists are periodically disconcerting, and it is odd that booklet texts on the works are in French or English, not both. A shame, then, that such niggles prevent an unreserved welcome for this imaginative set.

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Christopher Dingle