on 13 August 2014
To some extent I would echo what another reviewer has said about some critics having been a bit caught up in Lubimov's choice of pianos.
That said, this set does sound satisfyingly different to, say, a more modern Steinway, and the additional pieces with Zuev (Ravel's transcription of Trois Nocturnes and Debussy's own transcription of Prélude a l'apres-midi d' un faune) are well worth a listen and contribute to the appeal of this set.
Much as I like this one, it doesn't replace Gieseking or even Bavouzet as my first choice in the Préludes.
on 8 February 2013
This attractively packaged disc from ECM has received very positive reviews from critics. As well as exploring Debussy's Preludes (you get both books, not just the first one) there are also versions for piano of Nocturnes and Apres Midi D'un Faune. The piano versions of orchestral pieces are generally stronger and more consistent than the Preludes, which suffer from undue fascination with the tones of the two pianos chosen for the recording. The result is that the playing can seem heavy-handed at times; though at others, the persuasive simplicty of the performances and the very upfront reverberations of the piano create some moving effects, without any sense of artifice.
This disc would be a good buy for someone who already had these pieces, but wanted to look at them afresh. I guess ECM wanted to convince music lovers who already had these pieces to buy another version. If that was their aim, then they've done their work well. If you don't have the Preludes yet, choose another version. If you do, then this disc is worth considering.