New and catalog releases highlight both Debussy’s range of works as well as the rich history of his works on recordingsOn August 22, 1862 Achille-Claude Debussy was born in Saint-Germain-en Laye, near Paris. In 1872 he entered the Paris Conservatoire and, as a student, won numerous prizes eventually culminating with the Prix de Rome. While at school he began composing and at the age of 19 performed his own music in public for the first time. His first major masterpiece, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, whose dream world awoke modern music in Pierre Boulez’s memorable phrase, was premiered in 1894. From then on he continued to compose in a variety of formats (symphonic, opera, chamber, song, etc) until his death in 1918 at the age of 55.
To celebrate Debussy’s extraordinary music, Deutsche Grammophon and Decca have come together to feature a number of benchmark catalog recordings as well as new recordings. The Debussy Edition (available May 1) is an 18-CD set that highlights all aspects of Debussy’s creative output. The set includes all his important works: orchestral (with Pierre Boulez & The Cleveland Orchestra); piano (with Krystian Zimerman, Mitsuko Uchida); opera (Claudio Abbado’s Pelléas et Mélisande); mélodies (with Véronique Dietschy); chamber music (with Melos Quartett, Augustin Dumay, Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky, Maria João Pires). Included is a bonus CD of historic recordings by Ansermet, Gulda, Souzay, Borkh and others.
A 6-CD set, Debussy Piano Edition (May 1), focuses on the piano music which holds a particularly important position within the composer’s oeuvre. The set includes Jean-Yves Thibaudet’s widely-praised survey supplemented with recordings of the original works for piano duet and two pianos as well as Ravel’s transcriptions for two pianos of some Debussy orchestral works. The two sonatas, for violin and cello, with piano are included as well as the rarely-recorded Fantaisie for piano and orchestra, making this set as comprehensive as possible.
Additional surveys of the catalog include a 2-CD set, Clair de Lune (May 1), featuring orchestral and piano favorites. A 6-CD set, Pierre Boulez Conducts Debussy & Ravel (May 8), includes three discs featuring the conductor and The Cleveland Orchestra in stunning recordings of Nocturnes, Jeux, La Mer, Images pour orchestra and much more.