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Comp Wks For Pno [Box set, Import]

Claude Debussy Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 40.03 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

Disc: 1
1. I. Danseuses de Delphes
2. II. Voiles
3. III. Le vent dans la plaine
4. IV. 'Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir' - Ch. Baudelaire
5. V. Les collines d'Anacapri
See all 24 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. I. Prélude
2. II. Sarabande
3. III. Toccata
4. I. Pagodes
5. II. La soirée dans Grenade
See all 18 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Pour les cinq doigts
2. Pour les tierce
3. Pour les quartes
4. Pour les sixtes
5. Pour les ocatves
See all 19 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Prélude
2. Menuet
3. Clair de lune
4. Passepied
5. Danse bohémienne (1995 Digital Remaster)
See all 14 tracks on this disc

Product Description


These classic performances belong in the collection of anyone who cares about Debussy's piano music. Walter Gieseking's career was a troubled one--his pandering to the Nazi party cast a shadow over his last years, but the greatest irony of all was that this German nationalist turned out to be the greatest exponent of French music of his era. His Debussy playing marries an effortlessly subtle control of the keyboard to a real sense of fantasy. The music truly shimmers in his hands, and despite the limited range of the mono recording, the ear quickly adjusts. This is, in short, one of those classic recordings that critics and music lovers have enjoyed for nearly 50 years. So should you. --David Hurwitz

Product Description

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ALMOST The Greatest June 15 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
In rating this collection a mere four stars, I do so not against all of the other Debussy piano offerings out there (alongside which it would rate a hard-and-fast five stars), but rather against Gieseking's own pre-war standard. Because, deservedly respected as these recordings are, in the words of Yoda to Obi-wan Kenobi, "there is another," and here it sits on this very website in an unassuming little two-disc set from the wonderful Video Arts International label. It is the dazzling, important compilation modestly titled WALTER GIESEKING PLAYS DEBUSSY, and reissues recordings made from 1927 to 1939 (the vast majority are from the late 1930s). In trying to avoid the overstatement which we all are tempted to attach to greatness, I will stop at saying that these are the recordings upon which Gieseking's fame and the public's worldwide love of Debussy's piano works were largely based during the early twentieth century.
As for those who persist in finding Gieseking's interpretations "unromantic" or otherwise "Germanic" in their exposition, I would hasten to quash their criticism utterly on all grounds other than, of course, the final arbiter of personal taste. If certain listeners unfamiliar with the true Romantic Piano Tradition as exemplified on record by the likes of Hofmann, Schnabel, Paderewski, Godowsky, et al., and hence adopted by such devoted musicians as Gieseking, prefer their Debussy presented in formless, meter-less, pedal-heavy miasmatic tides of indistinct sounds, washing over them like a Turner seascape but leaving them knowing nothing about the pieces nor perceiving their true beauties as miniature art works, then by all means, latch on to some nameless modern practitioner painting his murky pictures on a five-dollar "Debussy For A Sunday Afternoon" compilation, and draw your bath.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Save me, I'm drowning... March 10 2002
Format:Audio CD
The watery allusions to Debussy music seem to have been taken far too literally by many pianists as well as piano music fans. Attempting to describe something inexpressible in concrete terms is inherently flawed, and to take an irrational "impression" and attempt to distill it down even further, results in loss of clarity. Though the music may be "softer," and less "rigid" and thus more flexible to subjective interpretation, it is distanced from the artist's first message; the music itself. Debussy's music speaks clearly, without the need for "Gaullic" over-sentimentalizing. I've never understood the arguments about Gieseking's Germanic interpretation, as if genetics and not culture were the main influence in one's artistic make-up. Though other great pianists who have recorded these pieces caress wonderful tones from their instruments, compared to Gieseking's mastery and control of colors and his tonal variety they sound overly warm, mushy even. Listening to Gieseking playing Debussy is to be at the water's edge, sight unimpeded by any mist rising from the surface of the pond, gazing upon a reflection of the moon that is not hazed in by clouds. After him, listening to other recordings is like peering at the same lunar image from the bottom of the pond. Save me Gieseking, I'm drowning...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pittsburgh, again Oct. 5 2001
Format:Audio CD
Now that I've received the album I can provide a first-hand review. I'm so glad I purchased this reissue. Thank you for having it available.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good memories Sept. 22 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
No, I haven't heard this exact album but I have enjoyed portions of it on the original mono which was the first album we purchased as newlyweds. The album remained our favorite but eventually it disappeared from our shelves; many times we have tried to replace it. Lo and behold, on a rainy Saturday in Pittsburgh, I discover that Amazon.com has a The Complete Works of Debussy by Walter Gieseking! Halleluh!
I have heard other pianists work through Debussy's music but none seem to have the crisp tartness, or the tender caressing that Gieseking intersperses throughout the recording. German rendition? How amazing that some of your other reviewers apparently can asertain nationalities through listening to their artistry. All I know is that I will thoroughly enjoy having this old friend return to my home. ...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice recording if it wasn't in mono ! Nov. 27 2000
Format:Audio CD
I was very excited to get Walter Gieseking's performance of Debussy's complete piano works, and I was as much disappointed when I listened to it the day I received it.
I actually wanted to enjoy my favorates in Debussy's piano works, which are: "Jardins sous la pluie", "Arabesque no.1", and "Claire de Lune", but I was dissapointed by the fact that they were in mono, and that some pieces like "Jardins sous la pluie" were played too fast that some consecutive notes sounded sort of overlapped.
Overall, Gieseking's performance wasn't bad, but it didn't sound as good as I desired. Maybe, it's just a matter of taste, but I wanted to give you my opinion so that some of you avoid regretting the purchase of this collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still fresh after nearly 50 years. Oct. 13 2000
Format:Audio CD
Walter Giesking's Debussy recordings are nearly 50 years old yet they still continue to pleasently surprise listeners. There is a warmth and freshness to his playing of these works that have the ability to make it seem you are hearing them for the first time. Gieseking's secret? Well there isn't one as he pointed out in numerous interviews over the years. Debussy, he said, probably made more notes on his scores as to how the music should be played than any other composer. He, Debussy, very clearly laid out how his music should sound and to Gieseking that appears to be enough. There are still those who hold the old prejudice about the allegedly scholarly German musician playing the delicate piano works of Debussy but a few bars of any the works here will put that ridiculous and non-sensical argument to rest. While the Preludes were previously available CD this is the first CD release of all the Debussy EMI recordings he made. Recorded in the early 1950's the sound is excellent mono and it has been finely remastered. At mid price it is a bargin.
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