Hyperion Records

Pour le piano, L95
composer
1894-1901; first performed by Ricardo Vińes in January 1902

Recordings
'Debussy: Suite bergamasque, Estampes, Children's Corner & Pour le piano' (CDA66495)
Debussy: Suite bergamasque, Estampes, Children's Corner & Pour le piano
MP3 £5.25FLAC £5.25ALAC £5.25Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA66495  Archive Service   Download currently discounted
'Debussy: Piano Music' (CDS44061/3)
Debussy: Piano Music
MP3 £15.00FLAC £15.00ALAC £15.00Buy by post £41.97 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDS44061/3  3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service  
'Debussy: Solo Piano Music' (CDA67898)
Debussy: Solo Piano Music
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99Buy by post £10.50 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £9.00ALAC 24-bit 44.1 kHz £9.00 CDA67898  Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Michael Zadora – The complete recordings' (APR6008)
Michael Zadora – The complete recordings
MP3 £7.99FLAC £7.99ALAC £7.99 APR6008  2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only  
'Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings' (APR7501)
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7501  5CDs Download only  
'Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings' (APR7502)
Eileen Joyce – The complete Parlophone & Columbia solo recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7502  5CDs Download only  
Details
Movement 1: Prélude
Track 14 on CDA67898 [4'23]
Track 5 on CDA66495 [4'04] Archive Service
Track 5 on CDS44061/3 CD1 [4'04] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Track 8 on APR6008 CD2 [3'09] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Movement 2: Sarabande
Track 15 on CDA67898 [5'31]
Track 6 on CDA66495 [5'33] Archive Service
Track 6 on CDS44061/3 CD1 [5'33] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Movement 3: Toccata
Track 16 on CDA67898 [4'12]
Track 7 on CDA66495 [4'15] Archive Service
Track 7 on CDS44061/3 CD1 [4'15] 3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
Track 9 on APR6008 CD2 [2'58] 2CDs for the price of 1 — Download only
Track 6 on APR7501 CD1 [3'46] 5CDs Download only
Track 17 on APR7501 CD4 [3'43] 5CDs Download only
Track 22 on APR7502 CD3 [4'04] 5CDs Download only

Pour le piano, L95
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
From the early works to the suite Pour le piano is a big jump. Right away we hear the difference in the writing. It’s brilliant, virtuosic, at times very sombre—with terrific pianistic effects. The Prélude begins with the opening theme hammered out in the bass, followed by a long passage over a pedal point. When the theme comes again, this time with fortissimo chords in both hands, it is joined by glissandi that Debussy wanted to be dispatched like ‘d’Artagnan drawing his sword’. No rubato here. There’s a beautiful shimmering middle section over a high A flat pedal in the left hand in which the right hand daubs colour on the canvas. A ‘Tempo di cadenza’ takes up the last page with glissando-like flourishes divided between the two hands.

The Sarabande was written several years before the other movements, and Debussy revised it for inclusion in the final suite. Marked ‘with a slow and solemn elegance’, he said it should be ‘rather like an old portrait in the Louvre’. Émile Vuillermoz said Debussy played it ‘with the easy simplicity of a good dancer from the sixteenth century’. Indeed, it sounds both antique and modern at the same time—and it is one of my favourites among his piano works.

The final Toccata makes a triumphant ending to the suite. Debussy didn’t want speed to be the ultimate goal—to him, clarity was much more important. But there also had to be music. There is a telling story of him hearing a famous pianist play it in 1917, and, when Marguerite Long asked him about the interpretation, he replied: ‘Dreadful. He didn’t miss a note.’ ‘Shouldn’t you be happy then?’ she queried. ‘Oh, not like that’, he replied. Ricardo Viñes, who had learned of the suite from his friend Ravel, was entrusted with the premiere in January 1902. The title of the work is modest, but its importance and effect is anything but that. Many French pianists of his time commented on how important it was to approach Debussy’s piano music with the same diligence and rigour that one would apply to a Bach fugue—something that is often overlooked.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2012

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDA66495 track 6
Sarabande
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-91-49506
Duration
5'33
Recording date
24 March 1991
Recording venue
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Debussy: Suite bergamasque, Estampes, Children's Corner & Pour le piano (CDA66495)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: February 1995
    Deletion date: February 1995
    Archive Service
  2. Debussy: Piano Music (CDS44061/3)
    Disc 1 Track 6
    Release date: February 1995
    Deletion date: June 2004
    3CDs Boxed set (at a special price) — Archive Service
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