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CHAN 10421
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CHAN 10421
Complete Works for Piano, Volume 1

Debussy: Complete Works for Piano, Volume 1

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2007

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2006


Jean-Efflam Bavouzet



Ralph Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Record Label



Total Time - 79:31
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Complete Works for Piano, Volume 1



Select Complete Single Disc for
  Complete Works for Piano, Volume 1  

Préludes, Book 1

1 I Lent et grave 2:57
  (… Danseuses de Delphes)  
2 II Modéré (dans un rythme sans regeur et caressant) 3:37
  (… Voiles)  
3 III Animé 2:00
  (… Le vent dans la plaine)  
4 IV Modéré (harmonieux et souple) 3:01
  (… 'Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir')  
5 V Très modéré 2:56
  (… Les collines d'Anacapri)  
6 VI Triste et lent 4:21
  (… des pas sur la neige)  
7 VII Animé et tumultueux 3:16
  (… Ce qu'a vu le Vent d'Ouest)  
8 VIII Très calme et doucement expressif 2:25
  (… la fille aux cheveux de lin)  
9 IX Modérément animé 2:50
  (… la sérénade interrompue)  
10 X Profondément calme (dans une brume doucement sonore) 6:08
  (… La Cathédrale engloutie)  
11 XI Capriceux et léger 2:54
  (… La danse de Puck)  
12 XII Modéré (nerveux et avec humour) 2:27
  (… Minstrels)  

Préludes, Book 2

13 I Modéré (extrêmement égal et léger) 3:02
  (… Brouillards)  
14 II Lent et mélancolique 3:18
  (… Feuilles mortes)  
15 III Mouvement de 'Habanera' (avec de brusque oppositions d'extrême violence et de passionnée douceur) 3:26
  (… La puerta del Vino)  
16 IV Rapide et léger 2:39
  (… 'Les fées sont d'exquises danseuses')  
17 V Calme (doucement expressif) 2:48
  (… Bruyères)  
18 VI […] (Dans le style et le mouvement d'un Cake-Walk) 2:42
  (… 'General Lavine' - excentric -)  
19 VII Lent 4:45
  (… La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune)  
20 VIII Scherzando 3:14
  (… Ondine)  
21 IX Grave 2:38
  (… Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C.)  
22 X Très calme et doucement triste 2:59
  (… Canope)  
23 XI Modérément animé 2:32
  (… Les tierces alternées)  
24 XII Modérément animé 4:25
  (… Feux d'artifice)  

'Les soirs illuminés par l'ardeur du charbon'

  Lent et rêveur - Plus lent jusqu'à la fin  
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet unveils his exclusive partnership with Chandos with this release.

This is the first volume in the complete solo piano works of Claude Debussy.

This exciting new recording marks the debut on Chandos of the French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet with one of the summits of the piano repertoire: Debussy’s two books of Préludes, complemented by the only recently rediscovered and rarely recorded late prelude entitled Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon.

For Chandos Jean-Efflam Bavouzet will tackle the complete solo piano works of the master of French impressionist music, having achieved great success in concert and on CD with the piano works of Ravel. He is regarded as one of Europe’s most remarkable and successful young pianists, having made his debut in Paris and Rome in 1998 at the personal invitation of Sir Georg Solti and with the Orchestre de Paris under Pierre Boulez. Characterised by critics as ‘charismatic, mercurial, dynamic and poetic’ – The New York Times describes him as an artist whose ‘music-making is on a grand scale’ – Bavouzet has worked with the world’s leading conductors and is a regular guest at prestigious European and American festivals.
He offers interpretations of Debussy’s works that are vivid and personal. His thrilling virtuosity is underpinned by a deep understanding of the composer’s idiom. For lovers of Debussy, and of great piano-playing, this is essential listening. Bavouzet is rapidly developing a reputation as a versatile performer giving sensitive, deeply nuanced performances, and this disc is bound to bring his exceptional artistry to a wide audience.

The disc is the start of what promises to be a very productive collaborative venture with Chandos.

"... these performances have carved a large niche among the many recordings of Debussy’s preludes. "Admirable masterpieces’ is Ravels’s description and Bavouzet treats them exquisitely. Nothing becomes a caricature, Monet-like colours bathe the ear produced with a depth of understanding which makes repeated listening joy. After three years of enjoying the very fine sounding CD ... It was interesting to compare the sound quality to the 24 bit download. Good as the CD sound is, the increased focus is immediately noctieable, and the very fine becomes superb. " *****

Peter Jelson - AudiophileAudition- October 2012

                  Choc de l’année 2007

Monde de la Musique Magazine

Review for the  Debussy series  CHAN 10421, 10467, 10443, 10497 & 10545
"...Debussy playing does not come any better than this, and anyone starting to collect this excellent Chandos series need not really look any further. The CDs are available separately each in turn was given a ’Gramophone Award..."

The Pengiun Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

There is an emotional directness about Bavouzet’s Debussy that is reminiscent of the great Samson Francois, tempered by a palette of glowing autumnal colours more in line with Gordon Fergus-Thompson’s outstanding series for ASV. Blessed with outstanding Ralph Couzens sound, this bodes well for future releases.
Classic FM Magazine

The French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has already won plaudits for his Ravel on disc [not on Chandos] and here he launches a new complete cycle of Debussy’s piano works with an exceptionally fine recording of the two books of Préludes (plus a recently discovered Baudelaire-inspired envoi written for his coalman).There is a clarity about much of Bavouzet’s playing that both illuminates Debussy’s often complex textures and delineates the composer’s typical splashes of melody. But there is no shortage of hazy atmosphere when required and his Des par sur la niege is shot through with aching melancholy. At the same time his rhythmic acuteness gives pieces like La Sérénade interompue and La Puerto del vino a crisp momentum of their own, while the more Lisztian pieces – Ce qu’a vu vent d’ouest and Feux d’artifice, for example – are played with panache. With such absorbing playing and excellent sound, this disc augurs well for the rest of the cycle.
The Telegraph

This generous first instalment of a projected complete cycle not only squeezes both books of Preludes onto a single disc, but also includes the recently discovered ‘Les soire illumines par l’ardeur du charbon’ as a welcome pendant. Jean-Efflam Bavouzet has a wonderfully light touch, imbuing ‘Les collines d’Ancapri’ with a skittish exuberance, or creating delicate wisps of mist in ‘Brouillards’ evoking Debussy’s advice to forget that the piano has hammers.
BBC Music Magazine

If asked to encapsulate Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s highly anticipated Debussy Préludes in two words or less, I’d say ‘con amore’. Given the stunning excellence of his Ravel and Liszt releases [not on Chandos], it’s no surprise that Bavouzet commands all the shading, nuance and timbral sensitivity one expects in Debussy, together with virtuoso flair and characterful spontaneity that adds welcome backbone to the composer’s ‘hammerless’ aesthetic… Chandos provides excellent sound and scholarly, informative notes by Roger Nichols.

…the young French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet… his imaginative, accurate and beautiful playing honoured his impressive pedigree.
Boston Globe

He plays these terribly difficult pieces… with an earthy tone and with a clear mind, brilliantly, elegantly, showing good taste and taking his chance to demonstrate discipline on the keyboard and readiness to take risks, even in musically and technically extreme situations.
Music Review

Reviews of recent performances:
He gave the 12 independent universes of Debussy’s Book Two the same degree of violence, delicacy, humour, and poetry he had devoted to Book One.
San Diego Reader

The pianism is very French; bright, witty, mercurial, but still somehow touching – the way Poulenc might have played these pieces. I would never recommend any set of these that did not have a superb ‘Cathedral Engloutie’, and this one does.
American Record Guide

                  CD of the Week

"He must be one of the least-known contemporary French pianists in this country, but here he announces himself as a peerless Debussyite in the oft-recorded Préludes (Books 1 and 2) and, as an encore a piece discovered as recently as 2001… Bavouzet’s commend of touch, colour and rhythmic vitality are all that one could ask for in the Préludes, and he has a native feeling for the evocative atmosphere of these widely contrasting yet strangely unified pieces… This is essential Debussy, immaculately realised."

The Sunday Times - 29 July 2007

Absorbing playing from a French pianist with something new to say about these much-recorded piano masterpieces, and an interpretative range that calls upon clarity, haziness and Lisztian panache as appropriate.
Telegraph ‘CDs of the year’

He brings a rare combination of colourism, textural definition and rhythmic alacrity to Debussy’s 24 Préludes, conveying the character of each of them with a disarming ease that serves the music in an ideal way. He finds a perfect balance between thoughtfulness and spontaneity, is in command of a wide variety of touches and dynamics and is faithful both to the letter and intent of the musical text. Unlike some pianists he can make the difference between tenuto and portato audible without exaggeration and he seems mercifully uninterested in self-concious trickery with the middle pedal… In short, this is one of the finest accounts of the 24 Préludes that I know, surpassing in many ways the classic accounts by Gieseking, Paul Jacobs and more recently Jean-Yves Thibaudet
International Record Review

               Pianists Choice

"What makes Bavouzet stand out is not only his fresh approach to tempo, but also his Classical way of drawing attention to the structural form of each prelude. His ‘Minstrels’ are humorous and light-footed, his blowing wind from the west tumultuous and the final firework catapults him to the stars"

Pianist magazine

Bavouzet is not yet as widely known as some, yet the quality of this disc suggests the discovery of a major talent in the Impressionist repertoire. Indeed, there is a conviction and authority to his playing that genuinely merits comparison with Gieseking and Michelangeli and that impresses with its natural ‘rightness’ – a quality of integrity and humanity and the strong feeling that the music is the outcome of spontaneous improvisation.
International Piano

G Grimes