Images, Etudes

$38.99

Jean-Yves Thibaudet is not a pianist to be pigeon-holed. Alongside the recordings of his fellow countrymen Debussy and Ravel, he has also recorded a tribute to the jazz giant, Conversations with Bill Evans, and plays on the soundtrack of the film Portrait of a Lady. Perhaps this catholic approach accounts for the freshness of his […]

Jean-Yves Thibaudet is not a pianist to be pigeon-holed. Alongside the recordings of his fellow countrymen Debussy and Ravel, he has also recorded a tribute to the jazz giant, Conversations with Bill Evans, and plays on the soundtrack of the film Portrait of a Lady. Perhaps this catholic approach accounts for the freshness of his Debussy playing. Nor for him the “stick the pedal down and make an impressionistic wash of sound” approach. His playing is clean and refreshing without losing any of the voluptuous sensuality of Debussy at his most beguiling. I challenge anyone to try “Reflets dans l’eau” which opens this set without feeling the stress ebb away. There are lollipops to be found among the extensive repertory on these two discs, including the celebrated “Clair de Lune” from the Suite Bergamasque and the “Golliwogg’s Cake-Walk” from Children’s Corner. The mainstay of the release is the two sets of Images and the two books of Etudes, 12 studies whose demands are not for the faint-hearted. Luckily that excludes Thibaudet, who offers virtuosic and thoughtful performances of pieces which while written to help develop pianists’ technique stand up magnificently as music to be listened to. –Keith Clarke

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