With this release Håkon Austbø completes this recording of all pieces for solo piano by Claude Debussy. On this disc we hear the young Debussy’s works.
Impressionism in the making
Claude Debussy spent many years in developing his musical idiom. On this disc we find the works of the young composer in a period of great development, starting with Suite Bergamasque (1890) and ending with Pour le Piano (1902). In the shorter pieces one hears how the young Debussy explores several routes in his creative search.
Suite Bergamasque is regarded as Debussy’s first great and important work for piano solo. Of the suite’s immortal D flat slow movement, ‘Clair de Lune’ itself, there is little to say except that it is a miniature of the utmost perfection and an intense unanimity of feeling. Although his technique developed further in sophistication (in the Estampes, Images and Préludes) but the imaginative visions of those later masterpieces are rooted in this trance-like inspiration. 15 years passed before the Suite Bergamasque was published. Over that same period, Debussy refined and perfected a more focussed, more virtuosic, successor to it: the suite Pour le Piano. The concluding Toccata is a scintillating exercise in keyboard virtuosity.
Austbø’s Debussy series has received much praise. Austbø’s excellent hand with the various colours and temperatures in this familiar music overwhelms all listeners – indeed his readings must be called revelatory.