on 24 June 2012
I should say that I entirely agree with Mark Meldon's review. This is Debussy playing of a very high order -- perfectly atuned to the idiom, every piece well shaped, with many exquisite nuances. Even if it is not quite in the top, magisterial rank of (say) Gieseking or Richter, it is playing that with its unforced flow bears (as I have found) repeated, indeed constant, listening -- which more strongly characterized performances do not. I admit that the playing of the two pieces added at the end (La plus que lente and L'Isle joyeuse) falls rather flat. But what I would add is that this is the best performance I have heard of the 'Images oubliees', an early set composed in 1894 and not published till long after the ocmposer's death; it is quite fascinating in the way it anticipates in many respects Debussy's mature piano writing -- more, in fact, than the later 'Pour le piano'. Now this set has not been recorded by the great Debussy players. Not only so, but they inspire Thiollier to some of his best playing -- for example, where in a series of thick chords in the first of them he uses rubato to achieve extraordinary intensity. This makes this CD a recording not to be missed.