A short review of Francesco PIemontesi’s CD of Debussy preludes.

Debussy’s first book of 12 Préludes appeared in April 1910; Book 2, with a further 12, was published exactly three years later. Among them are some of the piano’s most popular (and certainly most important) works including ‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’, ‘La cathédrale engloutie’ and ‘Feux d’artifice’.

Francesco Piemontesi reveals that he has had access to his teacher Cécile Ousset’s copy of the Préludes, which once belonged to her teacher Marcel Ciampi… who worked with Debussy. ‘The score,’ he writes, ‘is simply overwhelming: remarks, phrasings, fingerings are written in different colours and layers over every note and every chord.’ One reason for this disc’s success is that Piemontesi has gone into the studio with something important and personal to say about this music. Another reason is that, having absorbed Debussy’s detailed markings (and, presumably, the further information in Ousset’s copy of the score), the performances sound like improvisations.

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