Pianist Marita Viitasalo’s solo album on Ondine is a program focused on works by Claude Debussy (1862–1918). Préludes, Book II was composed during 1912–13 and represent the composer’s late style. Suite bergamasque, published in 1905, is one of the most well-known pieces in classic piano literature. It inclundes Claire de lune, possibly Debussy’s most famous piano piece. Marita Viitasalo studied first under Professor Timo Mikkilä in Helsinki. She continued her studies in Rome (Rodolfo Caporali) and in Vienna (Dieter Weber). Viitasalo is award-winning concert pianist and respected accompanist who has performed, among others, in Vienna, Salzburg, Berlin, Paris, London, Edinburgh and New York.
In many ways, Debussy’s piano music finds its rightful home on the harp. Apart from the distinctive textural and colouristic elements in the writing itself, we have contemporary accounts of Debussy’s piano-playing that refer to his ability to make you forget a piano even had hammers. Of course, this doesn’t allow for dreamy, “impressionistic” interpretations; rather, it makes clarity and precision absolute imperatives – which qualities we find in abundance in this recital by Xavier de Maistre and friends.
Complete Piano Works offer listeners more clarity and detail than ever before. The expert engineers at Abbey Road Studios who remastered the original EMI recordings on Hybrid Super Audio CDs have breathed new life into these iconic catalog recordings. Each title in the Signature Collection is beautifully presented in a full-color illustrated hardback book. The liner notes explore mot only the rich music but also the story behind original LP covers. Also included are never before seen photographs of the original master tapes.
The music now moves to a more playful strand in Debussy’s compositional career, with generally shorter pieces of the salon genre, including the two famous collections Children’s Corner and Suite bergamasque. In addition to these well-known works are several that are more rarely heard. Two such are La plus que lente, which seems to look ahead to the Études of 1915, and Élégie. Roger Nichols describes the former as ‘one of his most delightful pieces… the harmonic turns are particularly sophisticated and enchanting’. The Élégie was written in 1915 following the composer’s move …….
Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt has devoted many creative energies to Bach, and it shows in this reading of Debussy favorites (and a few less common works): Hewitt's is a rather precise and tempo-consistent Debussy, light on the atmospherics but with technical agility to spare. What you'll think of this may well depend on how you see the nature of Debussy's break with the French Romantic tradition: did it involve a dryness of expression, or is the usual hazy vision the right one? If your answer tends toward the former, you're likely to find Hewitt's playing a revelation here. Even if you don't, there are many nice moments, like the perfectly balanced grace of Clair de lune (track 9) and of the lesser-known Deux arabesques (tracks 12 and 13).
2012 marks the 150th anniversary of Claude Debussy's birth. On this occasion, Universal Classics is proud to re-release, on the Decca label, the complete piano works recorded by Philippe Cassard between 1989 and 1993. The four volumes of which this cycle consists are now being brought together for the first time as an attractive box set at an equally attractive price, with the addition of two pieces unpublished at the time of the initial recording and recorded in June 2011: 'Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon' and 'Pour le Vêtement du blessé'.