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.
…Dedova is an artist of the highest caliber and she takes the listener on this journey through Debussy’s landscape as a knowledgeable and confident guide…
Taken from the best Debussy cycle to appear in the CD era, these repackagings gather the items that one-disc-at-a-time buyers tend to miss. Playing combines flair, care, and great musical enjoyment. High points include the superb Anne Queffélec as solo pianist in the Fantaisie and some rare items: the Rapsodie for alto sax, the whimsical orchestration of La plus que lente featuring cimbalom, and piano pieces scored by other hands. The Ulster Hall acoustic is spacious but clear.
This collection contains all Debussy’s works for orchestra as well as many orchestral arrangements of his piano music. Together these display a rich panorama of Debussian sound and a remarkable insight into the composer.
French pianist Monique Haas recorded the piano works of Debussy and Ravel twice, once in the late '50s and early '60s for Deutsche Grammophon and again in the late '60s and early '70s for Erato. The later recordings are released here in this six disc set from Warner Classics. As on the earlier set, Haas' performances are elegantly stylish, technically impeccable, consummately musical, and quintessentially French. Pick any piece by either composer at random, and you'll see. Try her bright but sensual Suite Bergamasque with its ravishing Clair de lune or her brilliant and visionary Études with their astounding concluding Pour les accords. Or try her recklessly virtuosic Gaspard de la nuit with its frightening Scarbo or her sweetly swaying Valses nobles et sentimentales with its heartrending Épilogue. There are only two meaningful differences between Haas' recordings: in the earlier performance, she is more passionate and impetuous while in the later performances she is more measured and thoughtful.