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Debussy: Complete Piano Music Vol 1 / Bennett Lerner


Release Date: 03/28/2006 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9186   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Pianists who write about their approach to performance practice usually say one thing and then do another, like Bennett Lerner. He has played and taught Debussy's piano music for a long time, and his annotations stress the importance of rubato and generous pedaling in this repertoire. However, his interpretations of the Preludes Book 2 count among the most literal-minded on disc, and generally sport fast tempos that rarely linger beyond the composer's expressive parameters. Imagine the clarity of Gulda's mono Decca cycle, but with a wider range of color and tonal allure, and you'll infer what Lerner's about--a far cry from the studied, statuesque refinement typifying Zimerman and Michelangeli.

At times I wish Lerner had given
Read more in more to the music's breathing spaces and sexy undercurrents. For example, in La Puerta del vino the brusque oppositions Debussy requests the pianist to address tip more toward violent extremes than sultry passion. And while Lerner takes Ondine's carefully demarcated tempo relationships seriously, he doesn't communicate the variety of soft dynamics to best advantage. Yet Lerner manages to bring the appropriate stabbing quality to the staccato 16th-notes in Feux d'artifice without relinquishing the sustain pedal--a feat easier said than done.

Many slower readings of Feuilles mortes mistake Debussy's "mélancolique" directive for "desolate" or "doom laden", but not Lerner's. Lerner also solves the problem of how to impart a lopsided yet natural-sounding swing throughout General Lavine's eccentric cakewalk. If only Golliwog's Cakewalk from the Children's Corner suite had been less tight-fisted, although the preceding movements are charmingly played. All told, there's much to intrigue and enjoy here, and the best of Bennett Lerner's Debussy augurs well for future volumes.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Danse bohémienne by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1880; France 
2.
Arabesques (2) for Piano by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1891; France 
3.
Intermède by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1880; France 
4.
Le petit nègre by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; France 
5.
Rêverie by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890; France 
6.
Danse in E major by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
7.
Children's Corner by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1908; France 
8.
Préludes, Book 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Bennett Lerner (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 

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