Debussy: Early and Late Piano Pieces
Debussy: Danse Bohémienne, L4; Mazurka, L75; Deux Arabesques, L74 I. Andantino, II. Allegretto Scherzando; Rêverie, L76; Valse Romantique, L79; Ballade Slave 'Ballade', L78; Suite Bergamasque, L82 I. Prélude, II. Menuet, Iii. Clair de Lune, IV. Passepied; Tarantelle Styrienne 'Danse', L77; Nocturne, L89; Images 'Images Oubliées', L94 I. Lent: Mélancolique Et Doux, II. Sarabande, III. Quelques Aspects de 'Nous N'irons Plus Au Bois' Parce Qu'il Fait Un Temps Insupportable; Pièce Pour Piano 'Morceau de Concours', L117; Hommage À Haydn, L123; Debussy: The Little Nigar 'Cake-Walk', L122; Pièce Pour L'uvre Du Vêtement Du Blessé 'Page D'album', L141; Élégie, L146; Les Soirs Illuminés Par L'ardeur Du Charbon, L150. Steven Osborne, piano. Hyperion CDA68390.
In this more recent Hyperion release, however, we find him tackling music of much different character and color, that of the French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). Whereas Rachmaninoff, even though he was the younger of the two, is generally regarded as more of a throwback – a Romantic composer, heart-on-sleeve, a grand melodist in the style of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Russian masters, whose keyboard music tended toward the splashy, flashy, lots-of-notes style (I exaggerate, of course, for purposes of contrast – he was also capable of great tenderness and delicacy, as an audition of Osborne’s recording will readily confirm), Debussy is generally regarded as a musical revolutionary who helped introduce new ways of thinking about harmony that have influenced musicians such as Bartok, Messiaen, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and countless more from the realms of classical, jazz, film, and even pop and rock music. He is often called an “Impressionist,” although he hated the label. (Interestingly enough, as you listen to his music for either keyboard or orchestra – or even his chamber music – the last thing you might think of would be the music of Bach, Bach was the composer whom Debussy held in then highest regard, calling him “the God of music.”)
Hellbound Train: An Anthology
Steve Tibbetts, guitars/percussion/dobro/piano; Marc Anderson, congas/percussion/gongs/steel drum/handpan; with Jim Anton/Eric Anderson/Bob Hughes, bass; Michelle Kinney, cello/drones; Marcus Wise, table; Tim Weinhold, vase/bongos; Mike Olson, synthesizer; Claudia Schmidt/Rhea Valentine, voice. ECM 2656/57 455 7480.