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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Great Debussy Recital, 26 Sep 2013
By 
S. Mitchell (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Debussy: L'isle Joyeuse, Images Book I, Etudes Book Ii, Estampes (Audio CD)
This CD achieves new heights of distinction in Debussy playing, in my opinion. The hour-long experience of immersion in this artist's original programme (when were 6 Etudes ever before included at the heart of a Debussy recital?) left me absolutely awestruck by the tonal finesse, infinite gradations of sound control, stunning virtuosity and incredible poetry. As a revelation of what vast realms of beauty and drama the modern concert grand is capable of unfolding in the hands of so refined, passionate and stellarly gifted a pianist as Nelson Goerner, well, I don't believe you could top this. The music is ravishing, the recording superlative, and the whole achievement worth many times the outlay asked for this gem of a disc. Surely it must garner awards galore when the year's finest issues once again come to be assessed. Congratulations to all involved, but especially to Mr. Goerner, who I trust will be persuaded to record more Debussy before long. He has surely already joined the greats of that composer's interpreters, like Gieseking, Michelangeli, and many French virtuosi.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Sets the birds softly dreaming in the trees...', 3 Oct 2013
This review is from: Debussy: L'isle Joyeuse, Images Book I, Etudes Book Ii, Estampes (Audio CD)
I first heard 'Pagodes' via a free CD from the now defunct Classical CD Magazine. It was a fast rippling version clocking in at 4' 24. (Samson Francois, perhaps?) A tantalising first encounter. A few years later I stumbled upon a Classical CD shop in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City. A counterfeit disc, naturally, as these things simply didn't exist in Vietnam otherwise then. Here, in a poky little room, I heard 'Pagodes' again, only this time the Gamelan-tinged specks of stardust sprawled over 6 minutes. I had just met Sviatoslav Richter. Yes, it's self-indulgent, but it's also intoxicating in its revelations of an exotic 'audible landscape'. I never thought I'd hear it bettered. This WAS the 'ne plus ultra' of 'Pagodes'.

Now that crown has just been usurped by the Argentinian, Nelson Goerner.

He occupies a happy medium between my first and last loves. 5 minutes. 5 minutes of flawless crystalline pianism. Perhaps even greater dynamic range, afforded by the latest digital recording techniques. Orpheus ripples, coos, and murmurs in mellifluous sonic waves which never become diffuse or opaque through foggy washes of pedalling. Goerner fuses Bavouzet's meticulous clarity with Michelangeli's thoughtful poetry. Wonders emerge. The rest of Estampes is heard with fresh ears, even after all these years! The Etudes hold the attention, as Goerner reveals their musicality (not always a given), and the selection of Images offers another dose of scintillating pianistic pointillism - again sounding, well, new.

Zig Zag Territories is fast becoming a byword for beautifully-recorded, freshly-minted recordings (the Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets, Vol. 1 is another must-buy).

I should add that flawless playing isn't by itself emblematic of a superlative performance (Exhibit A. Paul Lewis plays all the right notes and creates narcoleptics out of lifelong insomniacs), but here, something very special is happening behind the perfection. Feeling. Emotional engagement. A religious act of Transmission.

So all we are left with are Debussy's idylls of sound. The mimosa-scented warm evening air. Silhouetted fronds of palm trees. The first few stars salting the lilac sky. Golden Hour. Or, as Paul Verlaine worded it, 'The calm, pale moonlight, whose sad beauty, beaming, / Sets the birds softly dreaming in the trees, / And makes the marbled fountains, gushing, streaming-- / Slender jet-fountains--sob their ecstasies.'
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CD, 19 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. Hugh T. Churchman (UK) - See all my reviews
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Great cd very relaxing, excellent production, Dubussy at his best, Nelson Goerner is an awsome pianist, he plays beautifully on this cd.
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