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5.0 out of 5 stars Second volume of François-Joël Thiollier's Debussy piano music on Naxos, 5 Jan 2012
Mr. Mark A. Meldon (Somerset UK) - See all my reviews
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This, the second CD of the five recorded by the French-American François-Joël Thiollier, was recorded in March 1995 in Paris; I think it's every bit as good as the first volume Debussy: Piano Works, Vol. 1. As before, the sound quality has been criticized elsewhere, but I think the church acoustic has been captured rather well and the sound suits Debussy's piano music very well. A small increase in volume from your normal setting will probably be beneficial.

The CD opens with the brief "Little Negro" and Thiollier is quite free and even a little jazzy, an approach that suits this piece. Next we have the oft-recorded "Children's Corner Suite" and here Thiollier reminds me of the classic Gieseking recording Debussy - Complete Piano Works - a piece to sit back and enjoy with the lights low. Thiollier's imaginative approach brings great satisfaction here.

Next we have a relative rarity in the form of the uncompleted "La boite à joujoux", written for a children's play involving marionettes. Much more often recorded in its orchestral version Debussy: Orchestral Works II - Children's Corner, Petite Suite, Danse sacree et danse profane, Fantasie, La boîte à joujoux, Khamma (GEMINI), this is relatively minor Debussy, engaging nonetheless.

Finally, we have "Epigraphes antiques". Originally for piano duet The Debussy Album, these late (1914) Debussy pieces are sad and mournful; perhaps he was by then all too aware of the cancer that was to kill him. Again, Thiollier is a great guide to these less well-known pieces, although I just prefer Arthur Schooderwoerd's recording on a marvellous disc from Alpha Une flûte invisible... (Musique française à l'aube du XXe siècle).

An excellent buy, especially now that the CD can be picked up for pennies on the used market.
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Debussy: Piano Works, Vol. 2
Debussy: Piano Works, Vol. 2 by Francois-Joel Thiollier
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