The 24 Préludes represent what must be the best known cycle of pieces by the Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. The compositions are alive with magic, poetry and depiction in sound. No pianist can approach the demands of their composer more closely than Friedrich Gulda; Debussy's instruction to breathe with the pedal is something that Gulda, alone among pianists, has mastered to perfection.
The pianist's instinctive sense of touch draws from the works of Debussy just what the composer wished: loud sections are thundered forth, while pianissimo passages sound so intimate and close at hand that one's own heartbeat sounds like the summons of an imperious drum. To do justice to this perfection, the recording is also released in full-spectrum sound quality.
Gulda, rebel among pianists, was a great admirer of Debussy's music. As early as the 1940s, he proved with his recordings of L'isle joyeuse and Reflets dans l eau his infallible sense of the composer's music. The pianist immersed himself in the depths of Debussy's harmonies, taking his extended harmonic structure as the basis of improvisation in jazz. And there is an audible affinity in the harmonies of Gulda's own composition "The Air from other Planets." This intensive engagement with jazz on the one hand and with the works of Claude Debussy on the other fertilized Gulda's creative powers to an equal extent, enriching his interpretation of the Préludes with regard to rhythm in particular and giving benchmark status to this recording.
|Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)|