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Debussy: Preludes For Piano, Books 1 & 2 / Paul Jacobs

Release Date: 05/07/1992 
Label:  Nonesuch   Catalog #: 73031   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Claude Debussy
Performer:  Paul Jacobs
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 23 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Even though Paul Jacobs' classic 1978 recordings of Debussy's Préludes, Books I and II were made just before the dawn of the digital era, they have superb audio reproduction with almost no traces of tape hiss, and this ADD package sounds almost as clean as many all-digital recordings. With that concern put to rest, listeners may relax and absorb these splendid performances without distraction, the perfect state to listen to such subtle and carefully crafted music. These Nonesuch reissues are widely liked for Jacobs' sensitive handling of Debussy's atmospheric timbres and textures, but they are especially admired for the firmness of the lines and clarity of rhythms, without which many of the softer Préludes can deteriorate into Read more mush. In Jacobs' balanced readings, the structure of each piece is carefully supported, and the melodic and rhythmic shapes are always clearly maintained, even when blurring them might have been a viable option. The pieces are therefore less hazy than might be expected, and more objective, because Jacobs was clear-headed about Debussy's intended effects, and he never let his own expression dissolve into impressionistic mistiness or romantic sentimentality. Yet the quiet emotions of the Préludes come through as authentic, with a refinement that is ideal for Debussy's understated music. Highly recommended.

-- Blair Sanderson, AllMusic.com


Often regarded as the epitome of Impressionism, Debussy’s Preludes for Piano were written at the midpoint of the composer’s career, displaying an evolution in both musical technique and outlook between the two books. Both books are included here in performances by Paul Jacobs described by the New York Times as “absorbing,” and “sensuous in the most refined way.”

Paul Jacobs's 1970s recordings of Debussy's Preludes for Nonesuch were included in The NPR Classical 50 list of essential recordings. On the show, critic Ted Libbey called them "quite remarkable" and dubbed Jacobs "the gold standard for the piano music of Debussy." Said Libbey of the Preludes: "What you hear is so extraordinary." Read less

Works on This Recording

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

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Top-Flight Debussy Preludes March 23, 2019 By Joseph  F. (Stamford, CT) See All My Reviews "I owned this recording when it first came out many years ago on LP. I bought these recently on CD, because I gave away my LPs when I moved into a Manhattan apartment in the late 1980s, I still miss them. Anyway, the Debussy Preludes (especially Book I) performed by that great pianist, Paul Jacobs who died too young, are at about the top of all interpretations, along with those of Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. I can not really explain what it is about these recordings, but Jacobs and ABM play this music as perfectly as it can be played. Their stylistic choices and inflections; form and shaping of the Preludes, and the piano sound, in my mind, could not possibly have been any better. They are close in some ways, but where Jacobs is a bit less than perfect, Michelangeli shows the way; similarly, one or two times Jacobs either has a slightly better sense of the Prelude, or his take is just slightly more exactly "right". This music might seem easy to play, but it is almost infinitely difficult to play perfectly. While I have collected many versions, I love the Jacobs and Michelangeli best--and equally." Report Abuse
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