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Debussy: 24 Preludes / Philippe Bianconi

Debussy / Bianconi
Release Date: 10/09/2012 
Label:  La Dolce Volta   Catalog #: 7   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Performer:  Philippe Bianconi
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 14 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

DEBUSSY Preludes , Books 1 & 2 Philippe Bianconi (pn) LA DOLCE VOLTA LDV07 (74:38)

Since winning the silver medal at the 1985 Van Cliburn competition, the French pianist Philippe Bianconi has enjoyed an active international career and, along the way, collected impressive praise from music critics and audiences alike. Although this is my first encounter with his artistry, I have no trouble understanding Bianconi’s success: He has a refined, luminous sound that never turns Read more brittle; a well-drilled technique that never sounds strained; and a keen sense for proportion and vertical balance, which I believe is indispensible in music as complex as that featured on this recording. Put to the test, Bianconi’s talents result in a reading that, in many respects, is a master-class in how Debussy’s Preludes ought to be performed.

A lyrical artist whose personality never attracts attention to itself, Bianconi is at his best in Debussy’s contemplative works—most notably “Voiles,” “Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir,” “Des pas sur la neige,” “Feuilles mortes,” and “Les terrasse des audiences du clair du lune.” In these works, Bianconi clarifies Debussy’s mysteries but, correctly, never quite resolves them, and impresses with his hypnotic pacing, intelligent pedaling, and remarkable control of dynamics. I am equally impressed with his somewhat unorthodox take on “La Puerta del Vino” and “Feux d’artifice,” which are delivered with uncommon refinement and sensitivity. My only reservation concerns Bianconi’s treatment of some of the most extroverted scores, for instance “Les collines d’Anacapri” or “La danse de Puck,” where a certain sense of whimsy and humor appear to me to be missing. Put differently, ever the serious artist, Bianconi seems slightly out of his element here.

The quality of the recorded sound is excellent. Bianconi plays a beautifully-voiced Yamaha concert grand. Pianos made by this Japanese maker have a lot of detractors, but the best of them are no doubt world-class instruments. While he will not displace my affection for Samson François, Steven Osborne, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, and Sviatoslav Richter, Bianconi obviously has much to say about this repertoire. I doubt that anyone who hears this disc will forget his insights.

FANFARE: Radu A. Lelutiu
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Works on This Recording

Préludes, Book 1 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Philippe Bianconi (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909-1910; France 
Préludes, Book 2 by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Philippe Bianconi (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912-1913; France 

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