£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again


REVIEW


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

AVAILABILITY

Buywell.com

 


Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Douze Préludes: Livre 1 (1910); Douze Préludes: Livre 2 (1910/1913) - excerpts: Danseuses de Delphes (Bk 1 - No.1) [3:40]; La Puerta del Vino (2 - 3) [3:44]; Des pas sur la neige (1 - 6 ) [4:04]; La danse de Puck (1 - 11) [3:26]; La Sérénade interrompue (1 - 9) [2:54]; Le Vent dans la plaine (1 - 3) [2:58]; Bruyères (2 - 5) [3:10]; General Levine - eccentric (2 - 6) [2:57]; Canope (2 - 10) [3:06]; Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest (1 - 7) [3:48]; La fille aux cheveux de lin (1 - 8) [2:47]; Minstrels (1 - 12) [2:31]; La cathédrale engloutie (1 - 10) [6:23]; Ondine (2 - 8) [3:42]; La Terrasse des audiences du clair de lune (2 - 7) [4:52]; Feux d'artifice (2 - 12) [5:07]
Jorge Bolet (piano)
rec. September 1988, Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, USA. DDD
DECCA ELOQUENCE 480 1131 [59:54]
Experience Classicsonline


Jorge Bolet signed a recording contract with Decca Records in 1978. Before that he had only recorded for small companies. Thus he gained his first contract with a major recording company at the age of 63! He was born in Havana, Cuba, and studied at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, where he later taught - from 1939 to 1942. His teachers included Leopold Godowsky, Josef Hofmann, Moritz Rosenthal and Fritz Reiner. In 1937, he won the Naumberg Competition and gave his debut recital. Five years later he joined the US Army and was sent to Japan, where he conducted the Japanese premiere of The Mikado. His career really took off in 1974 with a recital at Carnegie Hall. Harold Schonberg, considered him "a kind of latter-day Josef Lhévinne”. Bolet's health started to fail in 1988, and the following year he underwent brain surgery from which he never fully recovered. He died of heart failure in October 1990, at his home in Mountain View, California. 
Throughout his career Bolet endorsed, and performed on, Baldwin and Bechstein pianos; the former is used on this recording. Many claim that the most perfect piano sound and tone - through expert technical preparation - was to be found on his last Decca solo piano recording, the one under discussion here.

This selection of sixteen of Debussy’s Préludes contain nine from Book 1 and seven from Book 2, mixed up to make a very attractive suite. However, if you’re used to listening to the Préludes from beginning to end, some of the juxtapositions will come as a shock!

So what do we make of this collection? It is true that the piano sound is excellent, rich and rounded, and very well captured by the engineers. But what of the playing? Well … I have to admit that, for me, these performances, whilst technically very good indeed, simply didn’t set me on fire. For instance, where is the incredible wild abandon in Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest? This contains some of the fiercest music Debussy ever wrote, but you’d never know it from this performance. Des pas sur la neige is for me one of the most perfect compositions in all music, seeming, as it does, to sum up everything there is to understand about the human condition - we are all alone, basically. It is played as it is written, but where is the rubato necessary to point the events? Listen to Michelangeli in this and swoon at his use of rubato at the first appearance of harmony in the fifth bar. Truly masterly. Similarly, La cathédrale engloutie fails to reach the big climax of bells as it should. Feux d'artifice - Bastille Day celebrations? - with its faint remembrance of La Marseillaise lacks any festive feel.

I acknowledge that Bolet is a fine and fastidious pianist and there can be no doubting his pianism, it is superb. But what bothers me most about these performances is that they show very little insight into the music. Here are sixteen perfectly formed miniatures, all of which have their own character and personality, but which, here, all seem to be very much one and the same. I have little doubt that there will be many Bolet fans who will vehemently disagree with me, and good luck to them. I write about what I hear, and what I hear here is a good run-through of the notes, which any pianist would do before starting to think about interpretation. And now I have realised my dissatisfaction. These performances are unformed.

And here’s one final point. As Debussy wrote 24 Préludes why would anybody only want a selection of sixteen of them? There can only ever be one choice for Book 1 - Michelangeli (Deutsche Grammophon 413 450 2). This will never be bettered in terms of interpretation. If you want just Book 2 or both books played by one pianist you can do no better than Roy Howat (Tall Poppies TP 164 and TP 123) which forms part of his complete recording of Debussy’s piano music.

Bob Briggs  
 
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.