This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
A pure delight, with fantastic fingerwork, seductive sonority, and last but not least, style. French they may all be, but each composer for this pianist inhabits a world of his own.
I can't remember ever hearing Satie's Trois gymnopêdies played more slowly than by Cecile Ousset here. Qualified by "douloureux", "triste" and "grave" respectively, each piece is headed lent. But whereas Glazer and Ciccolini in their old recordings melt the melody into fluid vocal phrases. Ousset gives each note a bell-like individuality. In its more static, disembodied way.
I found this approach hypnotically beautiful. Nevertheless, since all three pieces themselves are so much alike, some
listeners may feel that Satie slightly outstays his welcome at this very slow speed. My only other small quibble concerns the middle section of Ravel's "Alborada del gracioso"; here, too, Ousset takes her time—I think with some slight loss of Spanish intensity. But all this is mere carping over trifles. The recital as a whole is pure delight—for fantastic fingerwork, for seductive sonority, and last but not least for style. French they may all be, but each composer for this pianist inhabits a world of his own.
The only piece I thought unworthy of its inclusion was Saint-Saens's Allegro appassionato, written for Paris Conservatoire examination purposes. But it is easy to understand Ousset's almost obsessive liking for his "En forme de valse", yet again thrown off with a wholly seductive, teasing brilliance. She is also irresistible in Chabrier's "Scherzo-Valse" (here her wit and charm go hand in hand with quite exceptional rhythmic verve) and equally in his "Idylle". All these pieces she plays with a pin-point-like clarity of articulation in both hands—my ear was constantly caught by the piquancy of her left hand. For sonority per se nothing in the recital is more magical than Debussy's "Pagodes" (from Estampes): here, her subtle use of the right pedal fills the air with atmospherically evocative sons and perfums while at the same time never obscuring even the slightest whisp of theme. For Faure she finds just the right elusively veiled romanticism. Since this was the first part of the recital I heard, I began by thinking the recording was a little too reticent, the microphones too distant, the sound insufficiently vivid and arresting. But playing the disc at a slightly higher level than usual I very quickly found doubts silenced as my ear tuned in very gratefully to the mellowness of it all. In sum, strongly recommended.
-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [3/1983]
Works on This Recording
Estampes (3) for Piano by Claude Debussy
Cécile Ousset (Piano)
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1903; France
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