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Debussy: Préludes I & II - Brownridge

Debussy: Préludes I & II - Brownridge

Challenge Classics  CC 72727

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental


Debussy: Préludes I & II, L'Isle Joyeuse

Angela Brownridge (piano)


Debussy had been planning Préludes for two or three years before the first book was published in 1910. He seems to have been at work on the second book by the end of 1911 and the volume was published in 1913.

Whereas Bach and Chopin used their Preludes as something of a technical exercise, composing one for each musical key, Debussy's were free-form and full of his signature expressive indulgences. Each one has a different descriptive title that gives clues about what was going through the composer's mind when he was writing them, from Shakespearean dances to underwater cathedrals.

What Debussy did in the Préludes and earlier works with a similar inspiration was composing with sounds rather than notes. It is that, rather than their picturesque qualities, that changed history. Debussy did nothing less than liberate music from the domination by functional harmony which had prevailed for three centuries. Tonality becomes colour.

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Comment by William Hecht - April 10, 2018 (1 of 1)

In his review of Mario Haring's Debussy disc on Ars Adrian puns that no one has "challenged" this disc by Angela Brownridge covering some of the same material. I've listened to it several times and find it to be generally excellent if a tad straight forward. So, yes, some quibbles are in order. In a silly piece like Mr Pickwick Ms Brownridge is a little short on humor, and she doesn't find the array of luminous colors in "the sunken cathedral" that Carol Rosenberger revealed on an old Delos rbcd. But these are minor, and very subjective, shortcomings in the face of 70+ minutes of wonderful music, intelligently performed, and beautifully recorded.