Claude Debussy - The Complete Works for Piano
Claude Debussy
Conductor Walter Gieseking
Length 136:29
Format CD
Genre General Classical
Index 346
Collection Status In Collection
Track List
The Complete Works for Piano CD 1 70:23
1 Préludes Book I - I. Danseuses de Delphes (Lent et grave)Emmanuel Chabrier 3:16
2 Préludes Book I - II. Voiles (Modéré)George Gershwin 2:43
3 Préludes Book I - III. Le vent dans Ia plaine (Animé)Antonio Vivaldi 1:58
4 Préludes Book I - IV. Les sons et les parfums tournent dans lair du soir (Modéré)Edvard Grieg 3:30
5 Préludes Book I - V. Les collines dAnacapri (Trés modéré)Christian Sinding 2:47
6 Préludes Book I - VI. Des pas sur la neige (Triste et lent)Franz Schubert 3:29
7 Préludes Book I - VII. Ce qua vu le vent dOuest (Animé et tumultueux)Josef Strauss 2:46
8 Préludes Book I - VIII. La fille aux cheveux de lin (Trés calme et doucement expressif)Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky 2:25
9 Préludes Book I - IX. La sérénade interrompue (Modérément animé)Camille Saint-Saëns 2:15
10 Préludes Book I - X. La cathédrale engloutie (Profondément calme)monaural 6:34
11 Préludes Book I - Xl. La danse de Puck (Capricieux et léger)monaural 2:27
12 Préludes Book I - XII. Minstrels (Modéré)Erasmi monumentum 2:14
13 Préludes Book II - I. Broulliards (Modéré)Erasmi monumentum 2:51
14 Préludes Book II - II. Feuilles mortes (Lent et mélancolique)Erasmi monumentum 3:03
15 Préludes Book II - III. La Puerta del Vino (Mouvement de Habanera)In terra pax 2:50
16 Préludes Book II - IV. Les fées sont dexquises danseuses (Rapide et léger)In terra pax 2:47
17 Préludes Book II - V. Bruyéres (Caime)In terra pax 2:33
18 Préludes Book II - VI. General Lavine - eccentric (Dans le style et le mouvement dun Cakewalk)In terra pax 2:28
19 Préludes Book II - VII. Le terrasse des audiences du clair de lune (Lent)In terra pax 3:50
20 Préludes Book II - VIII. Ondine (Scherzando)In terra pax 2:53
21 Préludes Book II - IX. Hommage à S. Pickwick, Esq., P.P.M.P.C. (Grave)In terra pax 2:09
22 Préludes Book II - X. Canope (Trés caime et doucement triste)In terra pax 2:47
23 Préludes Book II - XI. Les tierces alternées (Modérément animé)In terra pax 2:26
24 Préludes Book II - XlI. Feux dartifice (Modérément animé)In terra pax 3:22
The Complete Works for Piano CD2 66:06
1 Pour le piano: No 1. PréludeAssez animé et très rythmé 3:27
2 Pour le piano: No 2. SarabandeAvec une élégance grave et lente 4:42
3 Pour le piano: No 3. TocataVif 3:37
4 Estampes: No 1. PagodesModérément animé 4:10
5 Estampes: No 2. La soirée dans GrenadeMouvement de Habanera 4:19
6 Estampes: No 3. Jardins sous la pluieNet et vif 3:22
7 Images I: No 1. Reflet dans l'eauAdantino molto 5:03
8 Images I: No 2. Hommage à RameauLent et grave 6:26
9 Images I: No 3. MouvementAnimé 3:03
10 Images II: No 1. Cloches à travers les feuillesLent 3:51
11 Images II: No 2. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui futLent 4:52
12 Images II: No 3. Poissons d'orAnimé 3:13
13 Children's Corner: No 1. Doctor Gradus ad ParnassumModérément animé 2:19
14 Children's Corner: No 2. Jimbo's LullabyAssez modéré 3:25
15 Children's Corner: No 3. Serenade for the DollAllegretto ma non troppo 3:07
16 Children's Corner: No 4. The Snow is DancingModérément animé 2:20
17 Children's Corner: No 5. The Little ShepherdTrès modéré 2:07
18 Children's Corner: No 6. Golliwogg's CakewalkAllegro giusto 2:43
Price £ 12.00
Rating 70
Live No
Spars AAD
Rare No
Sound Stereo
Walter Gieseking plays Debussy

Amazingly, it is still possible to hear the greatest French
composers - Debussy, Fauré and Ravel - patronised as light
or middle-brow alternatives to German seriousness. Yet if
finesse is arguably their common denominator, it surely
enabled them to enter and articulate an interior spirit
world that transcends all possible levity.

This is particularly true of Debussy, one of musics
greatest originals and a composer whose range makes
convenient pigeon-hole terms such as impressionist or
pantheist relevant but limiting. Debussy was, after all, a
quietly ambitious man, intent, in his own words, on
expressing the inexpressible.

For him the imaginative life was the only true life and even
his earliest works resolve a multiplicity of influences
(Chopin, Gounod, Tchaikovsky, Fauré, etc.) into an
evanescence sufficiently unsettling to have enraged the
French musical establishment.

The Paris Conservatoire, where Debussy was an outwardly
indolent and indifferent student, was duped by his seeming
compliance. And as his greatest piano masterpieces later
streamed from his pen Estampes, Images, etc.) his audacity
was greeted with a telling derision and hostility. We have
nursed a viper in our bosom was their affronted and
unforgiving cry. The composer who exclaimed in ecstasy,
Music is the expression of the movement of the waters, the
play of curves described by changing breezes, went still
further, adding, I try to free it (music) from the barren
traditions that stifle it: words that hardly endeared him
to the authorities. Terms such as lointain, pianissimo and
sans rigueur, so central to Debussys vision, may suggest
the gentler virtues, but they lie at the very heart of a
genius who changed the musical landscape for ever.

It is, perhaps, one of musics most amusing ironies that the
greatest of all Debussy pianists was German. indeed,
listening to Giesekings virtually complete recording of the
piano music (only the Morceau de concours, Page dalbum,
Eiégie and Images oubliées [the last unpublished until 1978]
are excluded), it is difficult not to feel that composer and
pianist, creator and re-creator are one and the same person.
No pianist in my experience has ever equalled Gieseking in
the outer nonchalance but inner concentration of his
Debussy, in his uniquely luminous sense of colour and
texture. Such quality was achieved by a pedal technique that
worked in such faultless alliance with arms and fingers,
heart and mind, that he could vary the light and the shade,
the chiaroscuro, to a degree unknown to other pianists.
Gieseking was also sufficiently pragmatic to realise that
few composers marked their scores more meticulously than
Debussy. By obeying Debussy at ground level, so to speak,
Gieseking was free to respond to even the most subjective
and elusive terms with an ease uniquely his. For him, twin
directions such as trés égal and comme one buée irisée (from
Cloches àtravers les feuilles) were complementary and
intimately connected.

Not unexpectedly, Giesekings aristocratic strength and
refinement provoked envy. But a too-eager pointing at this
or that momentary lapse, or belittling references by a
famously robust lady pianist to playing more trés joli than
accurate or acute, are little more than the forgeries of
jealousy. The French have never fully forgiven Gieseking
his celebrity.

A piece-by-piece critical evaluation of Giesekings Debussy
would be both laborious and repetitious, so I am offering an
overview which will, hopefully, allow the listener some
space of his own as well as a sense of the glorious whole or
totality of Giesekings achievement. Whatever his failings,
they were momentary and rare and, in the long term, as
relevant as spots on a blazing sun.

Occasionally, very occasionally, Gieseking takes liberties
with the score. is his rapid glide through Voiles (Préludes,
Book I