First we have the 18 CD set of the Debussy Edition and now this 6 CD Decca release of recordings that cover a lot of time and territory but all add up to a very fine collection of some of the finest recordings of Debussy's music for piano alone and piano `with friends'. Much of the space is absorbed by Jean-Yves Thibaudet, perhaps the finest interpreter of French music today. Critic Charles Dingle as said, `Thibaudet extracts an almost unprecedented range of timbres, with harmonies often being allowed to merge most intoxicatingly. It is not a matter of Thibaudet simply slamming his foot down but rather his judicious handling of half-pedallings and the third pedal coupled with a virtually obsessive attention to the minutiae of the score... Thibaudet's punctiliousness and ability to evoke an aural kaleidoscope provide countless magical moments.' And that is just the start of the joys to be encountered on this collected set of recordings.
The works contained in this boxed set are as follows:
Jean-Yves Thibaudet : Préludes, Book 1, Estampes (3) for Piano, Arabesques (2) for Piano, Rêverie, Masques, L'isle joyeuse, Préludes, Book 2, D'un cahier d'esquisses, Morceau de concours, Danse bohémienne, Nocturne for Piano in D flat major, Images oubliées, Suite for Piano "Pour le piano, Images for Piano, Set 1 and 2, Children's Corner, La plus que lente, Valse romantique, Tarentelle styrienne "Danse", Mazurka for Piano, Suite bergamasque, Hommage à Haydn, Elégie, Berceuse heroïque, Page d'album, Etudes (12) for Piano, Book 1 and 2, Etude retrouvée, Le petit nègre, and Ballade slave.
Alfons Kontarsky and Aloys Kontarsky , pianos, Kontarsky Duo: Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Marche écossaise sur un thème populaire, L'enfant prodigue: Cortège, Epigraphes antiques (6), Symphony in B minor, En blanc et noir, Lindaraja, Petite suite for Piano 4 hands, L'enfant prodigue: Air de danse, Ballade slave
Anne Shasby and Richard McMahon, pianos: Nocturnes (3) for Orchestra
Zoltán Kocsis, piano, Iván Fischer and Budapest Festival Orchestra: Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra
Philippe Cassard and François Chaplin, pianos, Première Suite
Yes, there are repetitions, but these could also heard as variations in interpretations. In all this is a very satisfying collection. Grady Harp, May 12