CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862 - 1918)
Suite bergamasque 15.43
La Soiree dans Grenade 4.14 (from "Estampes")
Reflets dans l'eau 4.39 (from "Images 1")
L'Isle joyeuse 4.55
MAURICE RAVEL (1875 - 1937)
La Vallee des cloches 4.51 (from
ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810 - 1856)
Kreisleriana. Op. 16 29.33
Walter Gieseking (pno).
Recorded BBC Studios, London.
29 Sept 1956 (Debussy, Ravel)
Recorded BBC Studios, London. 6 Dec 1953 (Schumann)
MONO recording. BBC Records. BBCL 4030-2 [79.04]
The Debussy / Gieseking recordings on EMI may be quite well known to many
potential buyers of this disc, as well as the single disc released very recently
by the same company in their "Great Recordings of the Century." So is this
release sufficiently different to the commercial recordings to warrant its
purchase. I would say yes.
The current disc is better recorded than the EMI release, which has a slightly
metallic, artificial sound to it. This BBC issue is very natural for the
Debussy and Ravel offerings. The Schumann, recorded only two years earlier,
has some additional tape hiss which shows how fast technology was moving
at that time.
Gieseking has a very distinctive way of playing the music of his french
compatriots - stylish but also totally unshowy, which I find very attractive.
His technique is put totally at the disposal of the composer and this is
quite clear in all of the works on this disc, including the non french Schumann.
Although Kreisleriana is given a very stylish and warm performance, the
aforementioned tape hiss I found somewhat distracting. It is not that the
level of hiss is particularly high, it is more that the level changes from
track to track during the work. So if you want a recording of Kreisleriana
only, I would look elsewhere, unless you are more tolerant than myself to
There are few enough recordings of Walter Gieseking available at present
apart from live concert recordings and this issue is a major addition to
the catalogue. I enjoyed it very much.
see also review by Harry Downey