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Fifth volume of FranÁois-JoŽl Thiollier's Debussy piano music for Naxos,
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This review is from: Debussy - Etudes Bks. 1 & 2 - Piano Music, Vol. 5 (Audio CD)
Like the four earlier volumes (Debussy: Piano Works, Vol. 1 Debussy - Piano Works, Volume 2 Debussy: Piano Works, Vol. 3 Debussy: Préludes, Books I and II) of the complete Debussy solo piano cycle that the much under-rated FranÁois-JoŽl Thiollier recorded for Naxos in the 1990s, this final volume seems to have been pretty much been ignored by critics on release. That's not necessarily a bad thing, although I do think that this particular CD did pick up an award in France and MusicWeb has reviewed (in far more detail than I can) the whole "set".
Although Thiollier has been (and remains) a rewarding guide for me to Debussy's piano music, this is, perhaps, the least successful CD of the five in that his free, almost jazzy, approach isn't always quite appropriate in the demanding "Études" that make up the bulk of this disc. Here he is, I think, outplayed by Uchida Debussy: Etudes (in a very different style) and Monique Haas remains a good choice, too Ravel & Debussy : Piano Works. I'm nitpicking here - the performances are very good indeed and will satisfy most listeners!
After the "Ètudes", the disc rounds up seven of Debussy's shorter pieces, all of which are played beautifully by Thiollier who was recored well by JoŽl Perrot in the Eglise St. Marcel, Paris, in April 1997.
There are not very many recording by Thiollier currently available (some Rachmaninov on French RCA Rachmaninov - Piano Works and Ravel on Naxos Piano Music: Miroirs, Gaspard De La Nuit (Thiollier) (a sampler disc)) and that's a pity. Born in Paris in 1943, I think Thiollier is a much under-rated pianist with an almost Romantic, and very distinctive, sound that works brilliantly in these wonderful impressionistic piano pieces. Recommended.