Debussy: Préludes (Book 2) / La Mer (version Debussy for 4-hand piano)

Debussy: Préludes (Book 2) / La Mer (version Debussy for 4-hand piano) cover
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Debussy: Préludes (Book 2) / La Mer (version Debussy for 4-hand piano)
Alexander Melnikov (piano Erard) with Olga Pashchenko

[ Harmonia Mundi / CD ]

Release Date: Sunday 1 July 2018

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A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many harmonia mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great 'colourist' and father of modern music. Alexander Melnikov is among those pianists increasingly committed to playing the works of the past on the instruments on which they came into being (or could have done so). And so it is on a 'period' piano (an Érard piano ) that he breathes new life into Book II of the Préludes, but also - with the help of Olga Pashchenko - the extraordinary transcription of La Mer by the composer himself.

BBC Music Awards Finalist 2019

"It's special because the playing is so good. Plus his instrument is exceptional...Veiled tones, nimble action; for Debussy this is the perfect French mix as the notes alternately drift and cascade, pursuing not so much clear-cut themes or accepted forms as ever-shifting miracles of textures, moods and emotions. Brilliance can shine through the Érard mist, but the sound is always warm and humane, never mechanical." The Times

"Prepare to be spellbound…This does not sound like an old piano, merely a distinctive one in the hands of a truly remarkable player…It is not only the individual sounds that impress…but also Melnikov's ability to combine seemingly contradictory textures, with sharply drawn detail surrounded by a shimmering haze as if multiple pianos are being used. This is indeed compelling pianism" BBC Music Instrumental Choice August 2018

"The range of colour and attack he conjures from [the Érard] is nothing short of breathtaking… Time and again markings such as 'spiritual and discreet', 'soft and dreamy' and 'voluble' register with uncanny precision, losing any suspicion of whimsy… and I can truly say that the duet version [of La mer] has never so completely made me forget about the orchestra…We'll be lucky if the Debussy centenary throws up any release as distinguished as this one." Gramophone Editor's Choice August 2018


Préludes Livre II

1 I. (… Brouillards). Modéré
2 II. (… Feuilles mortes). Lent et mélancolique
3 III. (… La Puerta del vino). Mouvement de "Habanera"
4 IV. (… "Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses"). Rapide et léger
5 V. (… Bruyères). Calme
6 VI. (… "General Lavine"- excentric. Dans le style et le mouvement d'un Cake-Walk
7 VII. (… La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune). Lent
8 VIII. (… Ondine). Scherzando
9 IX. (… Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C). Grave
10 X. (… Canope). Très calme et doucement triste
11 XI. (… Les tierces alternées). Modérément animé
12 XII. (… Feux d'artifice). Modérément animé

La Mer : trois esquisses symphoniques pour orchestre
Transcription de Claude Debussy pour piano à 4 mains

13 I. De l'aube à midi sur la mer
14 II. Jeux de vagues
15 III. Dialogue du vent et de la mer

Watch via Youtube