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Debussy: Preludes

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Brilliant Case (Jewel Case size, Holds 2 CDs)
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Debussy: Preludes
Debussy: Preludes


Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov, recognised as an outstanding advocate of post-Soviet composition - performing Schnittke, Part, and Silvestrov amongst his acclaimed ECM New Series recordings - now turns his talents to Debussy in the year of the 150th anniversary of his birth. On this 2-CD set Lubimov plays both books of Préludes and, with his young student Alexei Zuev, the Trois Nocturnes in Ravel's two-piano transcription as well as a two-piano arrangement of Debussy's seminal orchestral masterpiece, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune.

Debussy decried the concept of musical impressionism because he feared, rightly, that superficial refinement would degenerate into musical mist, concealing the subtleties of a new musical idiom and its structural logic. So, for example, instead of heading his 24 Préludes with programmatic titles, he appended them at the bottom of the individual pieces. Even though their popularity makes it almost impossible, perhaps listeners ought simply to forget about the titles and recall something else that Debussy once said: "Music is a free art gushing forth, an open-air art boundless as the elements, the wind, the sky, the sea." It is in this manner - sans rigeur, as Debussy repeatedly marked his music - that Lubimov performs the Préludes.

Searching for an inspiring special sound - he wanted to hear Debussy in a different timbral guise, cloaked in early 20th-century colours - Lubimov "stumbled on two excellent pianos that truly seduced me and breathed fresh life into the music. The stunning beauty and nobility of their sound and their highly distinctive voices prompted me to find new solutions and gave me new levels of pleasure. I decided to record the two volumes of Préludes on two different pianos: a 1925 Bechstein (clear, sharply etched, translucent and light, even in complex textures) and a Steinway from 1913 (divinely soft in pianissimo, resonant and marvellously suitable for unexpected colours). It is said that the great Polish pianist Paderewski chose this Steinway and played it in his recitals."

Personnel: Alexei Lubimov, Alexei Zuev (piano)


  1. Name
  2. Préludes: Premier Livre (1909/10), Danseuses de Delphes, Lent et grave
  3. Voiles, Modéré
  4. Le vent dans la plaine, Animé
  5. "Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air duoir", Modéré
  6. Les collines d'Anacapri, Très modéré
  7. Des pas sur la neige, Triste et lent
  8. Ce qu'a vu le vent d'ouest, Animé et tumultueux
  9. La fille aux cheveux de lin, Très calme et doucement expressif
  10. La sérénade interrompue, Modérément animé
  11. La cathédrale engloutie, Profondément calme
  12. La danse de Puck, Capricieux et léger
  13. Minstrels, Modéré
  14. Trois Nocturnes, Transcription pour 2 Pianos 4 mains par Maurice Ravel (1909), Nuages
  15. Fêtes
  16. Sirènes
  17. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Transcription pour deux pianos (1895)
  18. Préludes, Deuxième Livre (1911/12), Brouillards, Modéré
  19. Feuilles mortes, Lent et mélancolique
  20. La puerta del vino, Mouvement de Habanera
  21. Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses, Rapide et léger
  22. Bruyères, Calme
  23. General Lavine - excentric, Dans le style et le Mouvement d'un Cake-Walk
  24. La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune, Lent
  25. Ondine, Scherzando
  26. Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C., Grave
  27. Canope, Très calme et doucement triste
  28. Les tierces alternées, Modérément animé
  29. Feux d'artifice, Modérément animé
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