Debussy's Preludes

Started by Frankler, August 15, 2008, 07:36:02 AM

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Digging into this set.  There was only one place to start: CD 17, the 1951 recording of Debussy's Preludes.  I have been waiting to hear this recording for over twenty years.  Was it worth the wait?  Kinda, kinda not.  I'll start with the problem: the recording itself.  There's overload and saturation aplenty, especially in Book I.  Fortissimo loses its impact.  It's obvious why the 1954 set is the oft reissued one.  The playing is very fine, as one would expect.  I've long preferred the 1930s recording to the 1954 recording, and in most ways, this is similar to the 1954 recording.  Gieseking is much swifter, nimbler, and flexible in the earlier recording, and here he actually takes some pieces at a slow tempo.  La cath├ędrale engloutie comes in at 7'11", for instance.  Some of the pianissimo playing really sticks out, though, more than my memories of his later set.  And at least once, due to playing and sound, the whole thing's almost a mess.  Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest sounds chaotic, but Gieseking is one of the few pianists who can salvage chaos. Somewhat against expectation, Book II is relatively better than Book I on first listen.  Giesking's Debussy is high quality stuff, but I long ago found that others are even more to my like - eg, Michel Beroff's Denon set.  This is good enough that it may make restart my comps of the seventy-plus recordings of Book I that I have amassed.
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Leo K.

Amazing emotionally cool performances that are right up my alley.

Leo K.

Quote from: staxomega on October 20, 2020, 11:45:39 AMmilk you might like this one:

I am really impressed by this recording with the Pleyel 1873, and wow stunning playing too.