Sylvie Nicephor – Debussy: 24 preludes (2018) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Sylvie Nicephor – Debussy: 24 préludes (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:26:35 minutes | 694 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Booklet, Front cover | © Calliope

Composed between 1909 and 1912, these 24 Preludes can be considered as a «pianistic sum» in the work of Claude Debussy, but also more generally in the literature for the instrument. They are part of a tradition which, since the 24 Preludes and fugues of the «well-tempered clavier» of Johann Sebastian Bach continued with Frédéric Chopin, then Serguei Rachmaninov, Alexander Scriabin, Olivier Messiaen.

Written in the period of maturity of the composer, they succeed to “Les Estampes”, “Les Images”, “L’Ile Joyeuse”, and precede the studies (somehow prefigured by “Les Tierces Alternées”, 2nd notebook). They are also contemporary of “Les Images” for orchestra, Claude Debussy who at the time already composed his large symphonic scores.

Seventy years after Frédéric Chopin Preludes on which they are based, these 24 varied parts reveal all the facets of Debussy art. Distinguished from his great romantic predecessor, who makes the prelude a free piece, Claude Debussy suggests to each of them a stealth title which freely refers us to multiple sources of inspiration which fertilize his musical production: nature and its elements, magical or imaginary creatures, antiquity, exoticism, whether Italian, Spanish or English. Beyond descriptive processes, Claude Debussy reveals, as Frédéric Chopin, his states of mind (joy, lightness, humour sometimes cartoonish, seriousness, melancholy, mystery, dreaming, dejection) without excess, using cleverly an art of halftone, and formal balance.

These partitions still surprise us today by their modernity. Debussy harmony frees itself from the laws of classical tonality by using modes, pedal-notes, pivot-notes; it is creative of chords and autonomous sound colorful complexes, venture to atonality but without completely freeing from fundamental harmonic relations (relation tonic/dominant, cadences). Extremely inventive and characterized, the melodies free themselves, heard without accompaniment, or separate from their harmonic context. Rhythms, freed from the regular bar lines, refer to the described object, to the places or situations mentioned.

The form is also open, poetry seeming only guide the composer in a sometimes surprising spontaneity. That music which could be improvised does not exclude the presence of figures, developments, repetitions; unit is present, construction is formal and the direction is noticeable. If the speech is mobile and unpredictable, the architecture (construction by sections, construction in arch form, tripartism) remains classic and stable. Surely a painter, but also a drawer, Claude Debussy also shows his mastery of polyphonic art and counterpoint. Himself a pianist, he has here a keen interest in sound (patterns, resonances, range of intensities), kneading his keyboard, approaching the instrument like an orchestra with multiple timbres.

Claude Debussy Preludes seem to have inherited the clarity, the balance, the descriptive sense, the attention to detail, the art of ornament and the taste for dance which characterized the French harpsichordists. They continue the romantic tradition by the brio, the virtuosity, the effects, the contrasts and the use of all the registers of the instrument. Writing in textures, rhythmic juxtapositions, the exploration of the sounds and the complex use of the pedals deliberately open the way to modern piano, which makes it so important to this work, become vital for pianists.

Claude Achille Debussy (1862-1918)
1. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 1, Danseuses de Delphes 02:51
2. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 2, Voiles 03:39
3. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 3, Le vent dans la plaine 02:31
4. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 4, Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir 03:33
5. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 5, Les collines d’Anacapri 03:11
6. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 6, Des pas sur la neige 03:28
7. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 7, Ce qu’a vu le vent d’Ouest 04:34
8. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 8, La fille aux cheveux de lin 02:45
9. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 9, La sérénade interrompue 03:02
10. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 10, La cathédrale engloutie 06:46
11. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 11, La danse de Puck 03:29
12. Préludes, Livre 1, L. 117: No. 12, Minstrels 02:51
13. 1Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 1, Brouillards 03:46
14. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 2, Feuilles mortes 02:44
15. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 3, La Puerta del Vino 03:33
16. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 4, Les fées sont d’exquises danseuses 04:08
17. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 5, Bruyères 03:07
18. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 6, Général Lavine – eccentric 02:50
19. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 7, La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune 05:04
20. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 8, Ondine 03:48
21. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 9, Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C. 02:55
22. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 10, Canope 03:10
23. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 11, Les tierces alternées 03:11
24. Préludes, Livre 2, L. 123: No. 12, Feux d’artifice 05:39

Sylvie Nicephor (piano)