Víkingur Olafsson - Debussy : Rameau - 180g 2LP

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Víkingur Olafsson - Debussy : Rameau - 180g 2LP
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Olafsson's rendering of this music is distinctive: he plays everything with exquisite clarity, agility, and delicacy. There are no exaggerated dynamics, no italicized flourishes, no 'atmsopheric' pedalings that blur the lines, no showy mannerisms - and the result is revelatory. Rameau's charming dances and evocative musical scenes sound far more modern, more adventurous, more fresh and inventive, than ever before, and indeed make this 80-minute long release well worthwhile for this delightful music by itself. On the other hand, Olafsson's also-beautifully-played excerpts from Debussy's Preludes, Images, Estampes, and Children's Corner suggest a till-now unheard kinship to his great French predecessor. Harmonically searching but sensuous, evocative, and tender, the music of both men seems somehow removed from time, at once modern and ancient - the true hallmark of great art.
-Mark Lehman, The Absolute Sound, September 2020, Music 5/5, Sonics 5/5

Fresh from his hugely acclaimed and multi -award-winning album Johann Sebastian Bach, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s third Deutsche Grammophon recording pairs works by two revolutionary French composers separated by a century and a half: Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claude Debussy.

Debussy is most often called an impressionist. “People get lost a little bit in sound for the sake of sound”, Ólafsson comments. But the composer was also “a real perfectionist... there is this incredibly refined structure at work.” Rameau, “the bad boy of the French baroque”, likewise combined a strong sense of structure with a fondness for breaking conventions: “He broke the rules and paved the way for new ideas, new creativity, new spontaneity.” What unites the two composers, Ólafsson comments, is “a kind of freedom and discipline, juxtaposed”. The album Debussy & Rameau alternates music by the two composers, creating an enthralling dialogue between them. Works are drawn from across both composers’ careers, with the Debussy selection including well-known miniatures such as La Fille aux cheveux de lin as well as the less familiar Prelude to La Damoiselle élue arranged for piano solo.

Rameau’s works are mainly drawn from his Pièces de clavecin collections of between 1724 and 1741. One of the album’s centrepieces is Ólafsson’s own Rameau arrangement The Arts and the Hours. Ólafsson’s album concludes with a piece that connects the two composers directly: Debussy’s Hommage à Rameau from Images book 1, a moving sarabande written as a tribute from one rule -breaking composer to another.

Musicians
Víkingur Ólafsson piano
Selections
LP 1 - Side A:
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
1. LA DAMOISELLE ELUE: Prelude
JEAN-PHILIPPE RAMEAU (1683-1764)
PIECES DE CLAVECIN (1724)
Le rappel des oiseaux
Rigaudons I, II & double
Musette en rondeau
Tambourin
La villageoise
Gigues en rondeau I & II
DEBUSSY
ESTAMPES: 3. Jardins sous la pluie
LP 1 - Side B:
DEBUSSY
CHILDREN'S CORNER
3. Serenade for the Doll
4. The Snow is dancing
RAMEAU
PIECES DE CLAVECIN (1724)
Les Tendres Plaintes
Les Tourbillons
L'Entretien des Muses
DEBUSSY
PRELUDES, BOOK 1: 6. Des pas sur la neige
RAMEAU
PIECES DE CLAVECIN (1724)
La Joyeuse
Les Cyclopes
LP 2- Side A:
RAMEAU / VIKINGUR ÓLAFSSON (*1984)
THE ARTS AND THE HOURS - after "Entree pour les Muses, les Zephyres, les Saisons, les Heures et les Arts" from Les Boreades, Act IV, Scene IV
DEBUSSY
PRELUDES, BOOK 1: 8. La Fille aux cheveux de lin
PRESLUDES, BOOK 2: 8. Ondine
RAMEAU
PIECES DE CLAVECIN EN CONCERTS (1741)
Cinquième concert (Fifth Concert): La Cupis
QUATRIÈME CONCERT (FOURTH CONCERT):
L'Indiscrète
La Rameau
LP 2- Side B:
RAMEAU
NOUVELLES SUITES DE PIECES DE CLAVECIN (1726/27)
La Poule
L'Enharmonique
Menuets I & II
Les Sauvages
L'Égyptienne
DEBUSSY
IMAGES, BOOK 1: Hommage à Rameau

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