Author Topic: Debussy's Preludes  (Read 27964 times)

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Offline Peregrine

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #40 on: May 11, 2009, 10:37:56 PM »
Favorites for all the major Debussy works is too much work right now.  Suffice it to say that the names I’ve mentioned thus far (Gieseking, Michelangeli, Ericourt, Beroff (on Denon), Bavouzet, and Heidsieck) are all superb.  Richter and ain’t too shabby either.

Yes, Michelangeli is the Debussy interpreter for me, but have been really impressed by the Egorov recordings from that superb EMI box released recently. I'm expecting the Kocsis box to arrive soon with his take on Debussy and will be interested to hear that. Honourable shouts to Richter, Moravec and Van Cliburn for the odds and sods they have recorded. I have owned the Gieseking Preludes on EMI for an aeon, but they simply don't move me... :-\
« Last Edit: May 12, 2009, 12:37:28 AM by Peregrine »
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Offline Peregrine

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2009, 12:56:54 AM »
How about Osborne on Hyperion? This set has had good reviews:

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Offline Todd

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2009, 06:00:24 AM »
How about Osborne on Hyperion? This set has had good reviews:



Superbly played, in outstanding sound, and about as close to the "hammerless" ideal as a pianist can get.  I've yet to warm to it though.  YMMV.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2009, 09:01:40 AM »
How about Osborne on Hyperion? This set has had good reviews:



I love it and, unlike Todd, I have warmed to it-- though I don't love it as much as Michelangeli or Gieseking.

Where I think he really is outstanding is in Book 2 -- he makes Book 2 sound as great as Book 1.

His Ravel disc is good too, by the way.

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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2009, 09:06:33 AM »
Thanks, Todd, nice to read some comments. I've been looking at buying some Bavouzet for a while now, both his complete Ravel set and the Debussy discs, so perhaps I should just go for it and grab that first Debussy disc with the Preludes.

If you want to get some Bavouzet I really recommend his Haydn disc.

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Bulldog

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #45 on: May 12, 2009, 09:25:27 AM »
If you want to get some Bavouzet I really recommend his Haydn disc.

Thanks.  I didn't know Bavouzet had recorded any Haydn.  It appears to be on the Harmonic label but availability is a problem.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #46 on: May 12, 2009, 12:38:20 PM »
Thanks.  I didn't know Bavouzet had recorded any Haydn.  It appears to be on the Harmonic label but availability is a problem.

I know how to solve that problem.

You order it from www.micmacmusic.com

It's a horrible website which takes ages to fire up.

Don't download the MP3 -- it's crap. I insisted on a refund because of the distortion.

Instead click on the link which says something like "to order a CD" -- they will send you the CD with excellent sound for about 15 Euros. It works -- they are a reputable company.


The recording is great -- especially in the slow movements. Altogether elegant playing and well worth having.


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Bulldog

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #47 on: May 12, 2009, 12:51:34 PM »
I know how to solve that problem.

You order it from www.micmacmusic.com

It's a horrible website which takes ages to fire up.

Don't download the MP3 -- it's crap. I insisted on a refund because of the distortion.

Instead click on the link which says something like "to order a CD" -- they will send you the CD with excellent sound for about 15 Euros. It works -- they are a reputable company.

Thanks again.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #48 on: May 13, 2009, 07:45:18 AM »
Thanks again.

Let me know if you have any problems.

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Offline Herman

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #49 on: May 13, 2009, 10:22:55 AM »

It's a horrible website which takes ages to fire up.


That place is a bitch. Every time you switch to cd - mail order the catalogue gets scrambled again.

George

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #50 on: May 13, 2009, 12:28:24 PM »
That place is a bitch.

Bulldog should know how to handle her.  ;D

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #51 on: May 13, 2009, 01:18:55 PM »
That place is a bitch. Every time you switch to cd - mail order the catalogue gets scrambled again.

The link just takes you to an e-mail -- so just e-mail your details and requirements to

 harmonic.classics@club-internet.fr

And they'll get back to you after a few days (maybe a week!) It cost me 15 Euros -- pay by Paypal. It came just a few days after my order. A very good CD with booklet and perfect sound

PM me if the difficulties persist.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #52 on: June 20, 2009, 02:03:26 PM »
I have just spent most of the day listening to Arrau play the Preludes, and comparing recordings of the etudes.

The Arrau was a real revelation at times -- and at times a real downer. I hated his way with the first few preludes, I thought the first really great performances were Des Pas sur la Neige  right through to the end of Book 1. IMO they were really outstanding -- Arrau at his best, with that unique mixture of drama and reflectiveness. In Book Two I thought he was particularly outstanding in the faster preludes.

But it's mostly dreamy Debussy -- not Debussy on acid like Cortot.

For the Etudes, I listened to Uchida, Arrau, Gieseking and Vedernikov. Arrau was good. I need to spend more time with Vedernikov to form a clear judgement, but it's very distinctive, if maybe a little monochromatic. I didn't enjoy Uchida who seemed colourless and bland compared with my favourite -- Gieseking, who seemed to find more music in these pieces that all the others.

I have Bavouzet's Etudes and will listen tomorrow.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2009, 02:09:31 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Air

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #53 on: November 22, 2009, 11:34:56 PM »
What do you all think of Paul Jacobs's rendition of these Preludes?

I just came across them today and it seems to me that many reviewers agree that his Debussy in general (Images, Preludes, Estampes, Etudes, and others) is just mind-blowing, even among the best.   Worth the plunge, perhaps?  ;)

Edit: I did see the posts earlier that mentioned his recordings of these Preludes, but it still would be nice to know HOW it compares instead of "it moved me", or "it was better".  Statements like me don't contribute to my knowledge or help me make my decision.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 11:39:29 PM by RexRichter »
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Offline Todd

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2009, 09:20:51 AM »
What do you all think of Paul Jacobs's rendition of these Preludes?  Worth the plunge, perhaps?



It's quite good, definitely worth the plunge.  He's not as nuanced as Michelangeli or Gieseking, and he's not as smooth and beautiful as Bavouzet, nor as adventurous as Heidsieck or Beroff, but overall the set is almost right up there.
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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #55 on: November 23, 2009, 10:15:51 AM »
What do you all think of Paul Jacobs's rendition of these Preludes?

I just came across them today and it seems to me that many reviewers agree that his Debussy in general (Images, Preludes, Estampes, Etudes, and others) is just mind-blowing, even among the best.   Worth the plunge, perhaps?  ;)

I used to own the Preludes by Jacobs (among other Jacobs Debussy) and never got along with his more "straightforward", almost brittle manner. I prefer the more "hammerless" approach envisaged by Debussy though without smudging the musical line - clean but nuanced.

Jacobs is more "deep" into the keys and sounds as if he's plunging right into the music whereas I prefer subtlety.
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Air

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #56 on: November 23, 2009, 11:25:54 AM »


It's quite good, definitely worth the plunge.  He's not as nuanced as Michelangeli or Gieseking, and he's not as smooth and beautiful as Bavouzet, nor as adventurous as Heidsieck or Beroff, but overall the set is almost right up there.

I used to own the Preludes by Jacobs (among other Jacobs Debussy) and never got along with his more "straightforward", almost brittle manner. I prefer the more "hammerless" approach envisaged by Debussy though without smudging the musical line - clean but nuanced.

Jacobs is more "deep" into the keys and sounds as if he's plunging right into the music whereas I prefer subtlety.

 :-\

I'll probably get them later on then.  Thanks for the descriptions anyways, they really helped.  I prefer subtlety in my Debussy as well.
"Summit or death, either way, I win." ~ Robert Schumann

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #57 on: January 31, 2010, 02:18:15 AM »
I have been playing Koroliov's preludes a lot over the past couple of weeks.

I am convinced by what he does there. No hammers. Slow and hypnotic, without the self consciousness I sometimes here in Zimmerman.



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Offline Todd

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #58 on: June 21, 2010, 09:17:02 AM »



I picked up three new complete sets, and one set of Book I alone recently, and I started by listening to this 1951-1952 Philips recording by Hans Henkemans.  The sound is not so hot, which doesn't help anything, but for me the bigger issue is the playing.  Henkemans plays the works pretty quickly, which is no big deal, but in some cases he seems to be rushing through, and the playing is flat.  The dynamic contrasts just don't seem to be there in many cases, even when (or perhaps especially) when one considers Gieseking's roughly contemperaneous recordings, or any number of others from later on.  Just one example comes in The Engulfed Cathedral, which here lacks all mystery and grandeur.  There isn't much in the way of tone color variation, either, though again, this could be because of the recording.  A disappointing disc.
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Offline Todd

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Re: Debussy's Preludes
« Reply #59 on: June 24, 2010, 07:02:45 AM »



I was able to pick up Francine Kay’s Analekta recording of Debussy’s first book of Preludes, and assorted short works, for only $2 plus shipping, so I figured why not?  I can’t say that this is a great recording, but at the same time I wouldn’t mind finding more. 

Three traits dominate: 1.) Oppressively close microphones; 2.) Slow tempi; 3.) Wonderful tonal palette.  Regarding the second item: Ms Kay takes a leisurely approach to all of the pieces, and for the most part it works.  Nothing is rushed, of course, and everything flows.  There’s no blocky playing in the Preludes, and everything sounds predictably beautiful.  Sure, an eight minute The Engulfed Cathedral may be pushing things, but she maintains musical tension throughout.  In fact, the extra slow tempo allows her to build up the tension until she pounds, but not hammers, out the loudest passages.  Alas, the close microphones allow one to hear too much of the effort involved.  The same holds true for other pieces.  Also holding true for all of the works is her tonal palette.  Nary a wisp of metal is to be heard.  Everything is lovely.  Perhaps not Bavouzet lovely, but lovely nonetheless. 

The short works don’t fare as well.  The Ballade, Masques, Reverie, and L’Isle Joyeuse all suffer from other maladies.  The first is even closer miking than the Preludes!  One can hear not only the pianist’s efforts clearly, but also the piano’s inner working.  Oops.  Kay’s playing is less fluid and graceful sounding as a result, and her generally slow tempi don’t work as well.  At times it’s all trees and no forest; the musical line is lost.  It’s blocky.  Only L’Isle Joyeuse works at all. 

So, a partly good and partly bad disc, hardly the thing that makes one want to hunt down every recording by an artist.  That written, I did some snooping and learned that Ms Kay recorded both books of the Preludes for a Canadian micro-label, and that it was recorded using minimalist miking techniques – a single stereo pair in a small church.  That may be worth sampling. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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