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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA66487
Recording details: February 1991
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: December 1991
Total duration: 14 minutes 5 seconds

Images II, L120
published in October 1907

Poissons d'or  [4'28]

Other recordings available for download
Marc-André Hamelin (piano)   November 2014 Release
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Heavy pounding is banished in the second book of Images, published in October 1907. In Cloches à travers les feuilles, apart from two forte chords in the middle, the dynamics are set at piano and below. Within these narrow confines, Debussy explores the idea of bells sounding through leaves, or at least through some substance that flickers and undulates. Although the title of this piece was, as noted above, already fixed in 1903, it is at least possible, given his rivalry with Ravel, that in composing the piece Debussy took note of the younger composer’s La vallée des cloches, published in early 1906, even if only in the determination to write something as different as possible. The demands on the pianist, in the balancing of lines, are extreme: again, the piece could almost be an Étude—‘Pour les lignes superposées’? The second panel of the triptych, Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut, leads on from Pagodes in the Estampes in its exploitation, not so much of Oriental sounds like the gamelan, though these are certainly present, as of an Oriental stillness and stasis. The first chord belongs, in the Western tradition, as part of a sixteenth-century cadence, achieved through part-writing: Debussy gives it a quite new feeling by treating it as a non-cadential chord with no sense of part-writing whatever, just as a sound in itself. Like the ruined temple, it has survived, but in a new world and with a new function. Finally, Poissons d’or charts the imagined swoops and twitches of two large carp as featured on a Japanese plaque in black lacquer, touched up with mother-of-pearl and gold, that hung on the wall of Debussy’s study. Here indeed we do find him enjoying ‘the most recent discoveries in harmonic chemistry’, and taking the static ‘well motif’ from Pelléas and investing it with piscine acrobatics.

from notes by Roger Nichols © 2014

Other albums featuring this work
'Debussy: Images & Préludes II' (CDA67920)
Debussy: Images & Préludes II
Pre-order CD by post £10.50 CDA67920  3 November 2014 Release  
'Debussy: Piano Music' (CDS44061/3)
Debussy: Piano Music
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'Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings' (APR6010)
Irene Scharrer – The complete electric and selected acoustic recordings
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'Myra Hess – The complete solo and concerto studio recordings' (APR7504)
Myra Hess – The complete solo and concerto studio recordings
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