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CHAN 10497
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CHAN 10497

Debussy: Complete Works for Piano, Volume 4

The Classical Shop
release date: November 2008

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2008


Jean-Efflam Bavouzet



Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk


Ralph Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Record Label



Total Time - 76:21
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Images, First Series (1901-05)

1 Reflets dans l'eau. Andantino molto (Tempo rubato) - 5:06
2 Hommage à Rameau. Lent et grave (dans le style d'une Sarabande, mais sans rigueur) - 6:08
3 Mouvement. Animé (avec une légèreté fantasque, mais précise) - 3:17

Images, Second Series (1907)

4 Cloches à travers les feuilles. A Alexandre Charpentier. Lent - 4:23
5 Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut. A Louis Laloy. Lent - Retenu 4:53
6 Poissons d'or. A Ricardo Vines. Anime - 3:41

Études, Book 1 (1915)

  A la mémoire de Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)  
  Claude Debussy  
  – Ete 1915 –  
7 I - pour les 'cinq doigts': d'après Monsieur Czerny. Sagement - 3:06
8 II - pour les Tierces. Moderato, ma non troppo - 3:39
9 III - pour les Quartes. Andantino con moto - 4:54
10 IV - pour les Sixtes. Lento - Animando poco a poco - 4:00
11 V - pour les Octaves. Joyeus et emporté, librement rythmé - 2:43
12 VI - pour les huits doigts. Vivamente, molto leggiero e legato - 1:38

Études, Bok 2 (1915)

13 VII - pour les degrés chromatiques. Scherzando, animato assai - 2:10
14 VIII - pour les agréments. Lento, rubato e leggiero - Stretto - 5:03
15 IX - pour les notes répétées. Scherzando - Poco rubato - 3:05
16 X - pour les Sonorités opposées. Modérére, sans lenteur - 5:41
17 Études retrouvée. A first version of Étude XI '- pour les Arpèges composés' (realised by Roy Howat). Modéré - 3:55
18 XI - pour les Arpèges composés. [ ] - Lumineux - 4:27
19 XII - pour les accords. Décidé, rythmé, sans lourdeur - Poco allargando - 4:32
‘Bavouzet commands all the shading, nuance and timbral sensitivity one expects in Debussy, together with virtuoso flair and characterful spontaneity.’ (Gramophone) ‘…there is a balance of clarity and lyricism that immediately distinguish the pianist’s work.’ (International Piano) are just a couple of reviews from the previous three volumes of this highly praised recording project. This appraisal of Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, an exclusive Chandos artist, affirms his position as one of the greatest Debussy interpreters.

‘We have a lot to learn from Debussy,’ writes Bavouzet, ‘through the sophisticated sounds he seeks to create and the simplicity of his textures by which he builds, in just a few phrases and harmonies, a whole world of poetry, but also through writing which always reveals a highly contrapuntal way of thinking, Debussy compels us to listen to his music in a very private, intense and nearly religious manner.’

Here Bavouzet completes his cycles with works at the extreme of his pianistic style; Études Books 1 & 2 and Images Books 1 & 2. Étude retrouvée completes the recording. The Images were the product of Debussy the artlover and derive from his early reading Baudelaire. The Études, on the other hand, look inwards at the properties and possibilities of the musical substance itself. They contain some of Debussy’s most demanding piano writing – five of the twelve were never recorded commercially until after 1950. But, despite their difficulty a playful spirit is very much in evidence.

This series is a deeply personal project for Bavouzet who has been involved in all aspects of the recording process.

                          Best Instrumental Recording 2009

Gramophone magazine Award

                  Best Interpretation of Standard Repertoire 2009

International Piano 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

This is meaty and powerful Debussy without the cheap perfume or the soggy handshake. The Etudes are especially convincing, and if his Images are the least successful, it is only to make a difference between the two sets of works. Trust me, both the Images and Etudes easily conquer any other modern recording.

Bavouzet is a fascinating Debussy player, not only because of his immensely refined ear for sonority but also his rhythmic flexibility allied to a strong sense of musical architecture… The piano sound is clear and warm and this is an ideal match for Bavouzet’s lucid approach to the music. The transparency of textures is one reason his performance of the Images is so effective, revealing much of the inner life of this music, but there is never any sense of dryness. Not only is there an impressive range of colour but the pianist also shows a willingness to use the dynamic range of the piano to the full and there is quite a bit of rubato too. However, this never feels like someone pulling the music around for the sake of it. Quite the reverse – Bavouzet’s rhythmic give and take enhances the expressiveness of the music.
International Record Review

I can guarantee readers that this attractively engineered release will reveal more and more details to savour with each rehearing. If you haven’t ordered it yet, what are you waiting for?
Gramophone CD of the Month

Bavouzet’s recording contains many beauties: a clear and shining tone, elegantly limpid turns of phrases and all the virtuoso glitter you could wish for.
Classic FM Magazine

Anyone who doubts Bavouzet’s abilities should sample the playful romp though the third of the Images, the quasi-Etude ‘Mouvement’, or his beautifully atmospheric ‘et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut’
BBC Music Magazine

This is the fourth and final disc in Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s Debussy series for Chandos, and perhaps the most impressive… Bavouzet’s performances manage to reconcile perfectly those echoes of the earlier sensuous writing with the newly invented, harder-edged sonorities. He is just as convincing in the two sets on Images as well, whether perfectly gilding the swoops and swirls of Poissons d’Or, or evoking the stately monumentality of Hommage à Rameau.
The Guardian

H Williams

P Webb