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HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEBUSSY!

August 22nd, 1862 marks the birth of the great composer and pianist Claude Debussy! To celebrate the legendary composer’s birthday. Naxos Direct are offering a discount on specially selected Debussy titles for a limited time!
Viewing 26 items
Image Claude Debussy: Nocturnes; Printemps; Rapsodie pou
The disc opens with Printemps – a work originally for choir, piano and orchestra written in 1887 during Debussy’s stay in Italy as a winner of the Prix de Rome, but only published 25 years later in an orchestration made by Henri Büsser under the composer’s supervision. Three of the works that follow were commissions – the Rapsodie from a lady saxophonist, the Marche écossaise from an American general of Scottish descent and the Deux Dances from the instrument-maker Pleyel wanting to market a new model for a chromatic harp. Chronologically the last work on the programme, Berceuse héroique is Debussy's contribution to a tribute to the king of Belgium at the beginning of the Great War. Having rejected the idea of writing a heroic march in the safety of his own home he instead opted for a lullaby for piano, which he orchestrated the following year. The closing work on the disc, however, is Nocturnes. Made up of three equally atmospheric movements, it is today one of Debussy’s best-loved compositions for orchestra. Nocturnes also forms the end of a trilogy of Debussy albums from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and Lan Shui.

£13.99
Image Debussy: Complete Orchestral Works
This collection contains all Debussy's works for orchestra as well as many orchestral arrangements of his piano music. Together these display a rich panorama of Debussian sound and a remarkable insight into the composer. Established arrangements by Debussy's contemporaries, including Ravel and Caplet, are complemented by more recent arrangements from composers such as Colin Matthews and Robin Holloway. The conductor Jun Markl believes that Debussy 'set up a model of orchestration for the rest of the twentieth century' and it is with this conviction that he draws from the Orchestre National de Lyon such 'world-class playing' (American Record Guide).

'A richly satisfying collection, immaculately recorded, with its full measure of rarities.' Gramophone on CD 2

'These treasurable pieces have never sounded finer on disc.' Classic FM on CD 5
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£29.99
Image Debussy: Complete Piano Works
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's vivid and personal interpretations of Debussy's complete works for piano are available for the first time in an attractive five-volume box set, selling for the price of three CDs. This is the series that put Bavouzet on the map, and established him firmly as a leading and internationally acclaimed pianist.

Disc 1 offers 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. Gramophone wrote of this disc: 'Bavouzet commands all the shading, nuance and timbral sensitivity one expects in Debussy, together with virtuoso flair and characterful spontaneity.'

The second disc reveals a more reflective, private period in Debussy's compositional career. In the dedication of the three Images, Debussy wrote: 'These pieces would feel extremely nervous entering "the brilliantly lit salons" regularly patronised by people who don't like music. They are rather "conversations" between the Piano and Oneself.' LA Times wrote: 'In what may turn out to be the greatest complete recorded survey of the composer's piano music yet, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet... plays with such bracing clarity that hearing the early Romantic pieces, one feels like jumping into an icy pond after an hour in the sauna.'

On Disc 3, the music moves to a more playful strand in Debussy's output, with generally shorter pieces of the salon genre, including the two famous collections Children's Corner and Suite bergamasque. Of Disc 4, which won a Gramophone Award in 2009, the magazine Pianist wrote: 'Trust me, both the Images and Études easily conquer any other modern recording.'

The fifth and concluding disc brings together the ballets Khamma, Jeux and La Boîte à joujoux, all far better known in their orchestral guise, but here performed in Debussy's initial versions for solo piano. This disc was an Editor's Choice in the magazines Gramophone and Classic FM and nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2010, in the instrumental category.

£46.99
Image Debussy: Images/ Preludes 2
A new album from Marc-André Hamelin is always cause for celebration. Here in his first Debussy recording for Hyperion he presents the two books of Images: Debussy's colouristic masterpiece, a bewitching compendium of 'scents, colours and sounds'. Also recorded here is the second book of Préludes, in a poetic and evocative performance.

£13.99
Image Claude Debussy: Images et Mirages
Paying tribute to Claude Debussy on the 100th anniversary of his death made me wish from the very start to create a portrait of him that not only features his undisputed masterpieces, but also recreates his world through the vision of those composers upon whom he had a big influence'  - Sandro Russo.

£12.99
Image Debussy: La mer; Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune
£7.99
Image Debussy: Four Hand Piano Music
The recent discovery (2008) of the Première Suite d'orchestre for piano, four hands, is a large-scale, sonorous work which reveals Debussy's interest in constantly evolving form. Derived in part from his incidental music for the Chansons de Bilitis, an evocation of poetic scenes from an ancient pagan world, Six Épigraphes antiques is a colourful work of considerable creative freedom. The Petite Suite includes such well-loved movements as En bateau and Cortège, while the Marche ecossaise is heard on this recording in its rare first version.

A pupil of Yves Nat and Jacques Février, and, in Russia, of Stanislav Neuhaus, Jean-Pierre Armengaud is one of the leading interpreters of French music from Rameau to Henri Dutilleux.Olivier Chauzu was awarded the Prix Debussy at the Yvonne Lefèbure competition at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.

£7.99
Image Debussy: 24 Preludes
Debussy completed his two books of Preludes in 1910 and 1913 respectively, and they contain some of his most visionary and poetic writing for piano. There are evocations of calm seascapes, delicate wind tracery, and snow-covered landscapes. Some moments are steeped in antiquity, such as La cathedrale engloutie, others in expressive portraiture, as in La fille aux cheveux de lin. There is even a cake-walk. The Preludes are performed here in the subtle and colouristic orchestrations of much-admired Slovak-born composer Peter Breiner.

Throughout its history, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra has played an important part in Scotland's musical life, including performing at the opening ceremony of the Scottish Parliament building in 2004. Jun Markl has appeared as a guest conductor with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Cleveland, NHK Symphony, Tonhalle Zurich, and the Munich, Oslo and Czech Philharmonics among others, and at the Met, Covent Garden, Vienna State and Dresden Semper Operas.

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Image CHILL WITH DEBUSSY
Chill with Debussy'The music I desire must be supple enough to adapt itself to the lyrical effusions of the soul and thefantasy of dreams.' Debussy in a letter to a friend

A unique voice in classical music, Claude Debussy influenced virtually every composer in subsequentgenerations including Messiaen, Cage and Bartok. He continued the legacy of Chopin in his attempts to create anew musical language for the piano, and in fact conceived an entirely new rich soundscape by his use ofJavanese influences (heard at the 1889 Paris Exhibition) and modal scales rather than major or minor keys. Themajority of his writing was for the piano, although he also wrote a number of song settings, as well asinstrumental and orchestral works and even an opera, Pelleas et Melisande(although he once causticallyremarked 'In opera, there is always too much singing.') His music has often been called 'Impressionistic' for itscolourful use of whole tone scales and subtly shifting, blurred chords - the musical equivalent of paintings byMonet and Renoir, who were both contemporaries and compatriots - although Debussy himself had a hugedislike of being labelled as such.

Debussy showed an aptitude for music at an early age, entering the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 10. Heabandoned his early aspirations of becoming a virtuoso pianist to concentrate on composition and quicklyprogressed to become one of the key figures of early 20th century Parisian society. He was often in thecompany of prominent poets and painters, and while he chose not to mix much with other composers, countedErik Satie amongst his close friends. He was also known for his philandering ways, leaving his first wife Lily forthe soprano Emma Bardac, leading Lily to attempt suicide (the second woman to do so as a result of beingrejected by Debussy) and resulting in a huge scandal that lost him many friends. After Emma's rich uncledisinherited her Debussy was forced to take various commissions and make regular performance trips abroad tosupport them both. Despite his financial insecurity, he had a lifelong penchant for fineries and often spent hismoney on antiquities and objets d'art, including a Chinese ornamental wooden toad named Arkel without whichhe claimed not to be able to compose. He continued to compose, conduct and perform virtually to the end of hislife and eventually died at the age of 55 during the bombardment of Paris in March 1918, ravaged by cancer anddeeply saddened by the devastation of war.

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Image DEBUSSY: Clair de lune and other Piano Favourites
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)

Clair de lune and other favourite piano works


Debussy was born in 1862 in St Germain-en-Laye, the son of ashop-keeper who was later to turn his hand to other activities, with varyingsuccess. He started piano lessons at the age of seven and continued two yearslater, improbably enough, with Verlaine's mother-in-law, allegedly a pupil ofChopin. In 1872 he entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he abandoned the planof becoming a virtuoso pianist, turning his principal attention to composition.In 1880, at the age of eighteen, he was employed by Tchaikovsky's patronessNadezhda von Meck as tutor to her children and house-musician. On his return tothe Conservatoire he entered the class of Bizet's friend Ernest Guiraud and in1883 won the second Prix de Rome. In 1884 he won the first prize, the followingyear reluctantly taking up obligatory residence, according to the terms of theaward, at the Villa Medici in Rome, where he met Liszt. By 1887 he was back inParis, winning his first significant success in 1900 with Nocturnes and goingon, two years later, to a succ?¿s de scandale with his opera Pelleas etMelisande, based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, a work that establishedhis position as a composer of importance.


Debussy's personal life brought some unhappiness in hisfirst marriage in 1899 to a mannequin, Lily Texier, after a liaison of someseven years with Gabrielle Dupont and a brief engagement in 1894 to the singerTher?¿se Roger. His association from 1903 with Emma Bardac, the wife of a bankerand a singer of some ability, led eventually to their marriage in 1908, afterthe birth of their daughter three years earlier. In 1904 he had abandoned hiswife, moving into an apartment with Emma Bardac, and the subsequent attempt atsuicide by the former, who had shared with him many of the difficulties of hisearly career, alienated a number of his friends. His final years were darkenedby the war and by cancer, the cause of his death in March 1918, when he leftunfinished a planned series of chamber music works, only three of which hadbeen completed.


As a composer Debussy must be regarded as one of the mostimportant and influential figures of the earlier twentieth century. His musicallanguage suggested new paths to be further explored, while his poetic andsensitive use of the orchestra and of keyboard textures opened still morepossibilities. His opera Pelleas et Melisande and his songs demonstrated a deepunderstanding of poetic language, revealed by his music, expressed in termsthat never overstated or exaggerated.


It is difficult to hear [1] Clair de lune (Moonlight) withnew ears, so familiar did it become, even in Debussy's lifetime. Poetic andevocative, it suggests the nostalgic world conjured up by Verlaine in his F?¬tesgalantes and formed part of Debussy's Suite bergamasque written between 1890and 1905.


[2] La plus que lente, a waltz that is slower than a slowwaltz, dates from 1910 and has the direction Molto rubato con morbidezza, ahint, perhaps, at a mildly satirical intention. It has proved popular in itsoriginal form and in a variety of transcriptions.


[3] & [10] The two Arabesques rival Clair de lune inpopularity. The first, in E major, has a contrasting central section, while thesecond, in G major and in similar form, makes much use of a decorative motifheard at the opening, a justification for the title.


[4] Le petit n?¿gre (The Little Negro) first appeared inTheodore Lack's pedagogical Methode de piano in 1909 with the original Englishtitle of The Little Nigar. It has much in common with one of the pieces in theChildren's Corner Suite, written for his daughter Emma-Claude and given Englishtitles, a reflection of Debussy's anglophilia and perhaps of the influence ofEmma-Claude's English governess. [5] The Snow is Dancing evokes the scene ofthe title, [6] while The little shepherd opens with the delicate expressivenessof the shepherd-boy's flute, contrasted with a dance motif. [7] Golliwog'scakewalk is a light-hearted version of a dance that had been popularised in themusic-halls of Paris in the 1890s.


[8] Estampes (Prints) was published in 1903, to be firstperformed the following year by Ricardo Vines. The second of the three piecesof the group is La soiree dans Grenade (Evening in Granada), an evocation ofSpain. [9] The set ends with Jardins sous la pluie (Gardens in the rain), areworking of the earlier unpublished Image under the title Quelques aspects de'Nous n'irons plus au bois' (Some aspects of 'We shall not go to the woodsagain').


[11] Valse romantique opens with the melancholy simplicityof Erik Satie, before moving into more conventional territory. In conclusionthe melody is brightened by a change from minor to major, a touch of finaloptimism. The waltz was written in 1890.


[12] Danse first appeared in 1891 as Tarantelle styrienne,to be revised in 1903 and published again under its present title. It is nonethe less a tarantella, with all the vigorous rhythm of that dance.


[13] The busy Toccata, published as the third and finalmovement of the suite Pour le piano in 1901, was first heard in a performanceby Ricardo Vines in 1904. It is an energetic tour de force, a brilliantcontrast to the movement that precedes it in the suite.


[14] Debussy published the first set of his Images in 1905,opening the group of three piece with the evocative Reflets dans l'eau(Reflections in the water), compared by the composer to dropping a pebble intothe water and watching the ripples moving outwards.


[15] Poissons d'or (Goldfish) ends the second set of Images,published in 1908. The piece was seemingly inspired by two goldfish on alacquered Japanese panel in Debussy's room, but in the music they are broughtto brilliant life, as they swim.


[16] Debussy's Mazurka of 1891 adopts the Polish dance thatChopin had introduced to the salons of Paris sixty years before. Melodic turnsof phrase are immediately recognisable as Debussy's, using, as they do,characteristic forms of scale. In F sharp minor, the piece has a D majorcentral section.


[17] R?¬verie was written in 1890 and published in 1903.Marked tr?¿s doux et expressif, if offers first a gentle melody over a repeatedaccompaniment pattern, developing into a passage of contrasted mood andtonality, before the return of the material of the opening.


Debussy's two sets of Preludes were published in 1910 and1913 respectively. [18] From the first come the gently expressive portrait Lafille aux cheveux de lin (The girl with the flaxen hair), a piece that has beenmuch transcribed, [19] Minstrels, allegedly inspired by a black street-bandheard in Eastbourne in 1905, [20] and La cathedrale engloutie (The submergedcathedral), an evocation of medieval France and the ancient cathedral of Ys,now beneath the waves, its chants and bells heard through the sea-mist.


Keith Anderson



£7.99
Image Debussy: Early Works For Piano Duet
An innovative genius, Claude Debussy is famous for his mature 'Impressionist' music, though he rather disliked the term. He frequently performed four-hand piano pieces in concert, most of the works on this disc either being composed or adapted by him for this line-up. The imaginative figuration, kaleidoscopic sonorities and moments of dazzling virtuosity found in these rarely heard works from the 1880s are a testament to Debussy's skills both as a performer and a composer. Pianists Adrienne Soos and Ivo Haag have been a firmly-established piano duo for more than fifteen years, becoming one of the leading ensembles in Switzerland.

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Image Debussy: Four-Hand Piano
In 1891 Symbolist poet Stéphane Mallarmé asked Debussy to compose incidental music for a theatrical version of his poem L'Après-midi d'un faune (The afternoon of the faun) and the resulting work, with its innovative melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic writing, is both impassioned and expressive. The four-hand arrangement was made by Ravel in 1910. Inspired by the natural phenomena of water, light and wind and, according to Mme Debussy, unplayable in its piano four-hand version, La Mer is a masterpiece of some structural complexity. Of the technically inventive Images, which evoke Spanish sights, sounds and fragrances, Debussy wrote that the work marked a departure for him, dealing with 'realities' not impressionism.

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Image Claude Debussy: Piano Music; Estampes; Images 1; I
Any new recording from Stephen Hough is a keenly awaited musical event. Here his customary ‘scintillating technique’ and ‘imaginative intelligence’ (The Guardian) are deployed in the service of an all-Debussy recital which sets the bar high at this, the start of the composer’s centenary year.

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Image Debussy: Songs
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Image Debussy: Songs Volume 2
Two of Britain's leading exponents of French song, the acclaimed sopranos Lorna Anderson and Lisa Milne, join Malcolm Martineau for the second volume of Hyperion's overview of Debussy's haunting, mercurial songs. The French composer's output in this genre extended throughout his life and he was always inspired by poetry'from his first adolescent attempts to set Paul Verlaine's Fetes galantes (which he later revised) to the Trois Poemes de Mallarme, written five years before his death. All inhabit a universe of shifting colours and impressions, from the sensual, perfumed 'flutes and flesh' of the Chansons de Bilitis to the Proses lyriques, which foreshadow the dreamlike atmosphere of Pelleas et Melisande.

£13.99
Image Debussy: Songs Vol. 3
Hyperion presents a third volume in its acclaimed Debussy songs series, accompanied and curated by Malcolm Martineau, with booklet notes by French music expert par excellence Roger Nichols. Young soprano Jennifer France, winner of the Song Prize at the 2014 Kathleen Ferrier Awards and making her debut on the label, has a thrillingly expressive voice of diamantine beauty and is an ideal performer of these songs. Baritone Jonathan McGovern performs Le promenoir des deux amants and other songs with warm tone and great musical sensitivity.

The twenty-six songs on this recording fall into four categories: twelve on poems by Théodore de Banville; four settings of various authors, probably from 1882, but rediscovered only recently and first published in 2012; five songs on poems by Paul Bourget; and five from the years 1890 to 1910.

£13.99
Image Claude Debussy: Songs Volume 4
A recital of songs spanning Debussy’s entire compositional career, from ‘Tragédie’ written in early 1881, to his very last song, ‘Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maisons’ from the end of 1915. We bid adieu to this series in company of Lucy Crowe and, of course, Malcolm Martineau.

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Image Debussy: Orchestral Works
Recognised internationally as a conductor of the highest calibre, Stephane Deneve took up the post of Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2005, and has since attracted attention from audiences and critics alike. This May, the conductor bids a fond farewell to Scotland and the RSNO with a series of 'Au Revoir' concerts, and of course, this disc of orchestral works by Debussy.

After the impact made by the production of Pelleas et Melisande in 1902, the next orchestral work by Debussy was awaited with intense interest. La Mer did not disappoint, and is today widely considered to have been crucial in its influence on twentieth-century music. After completing this work, Debussy spent no fewer than seven years wrestling with what were to become Images for orchestra. Some critics were puzzled by the work and suggested that Debussy's talent might have dried out. They were promptly put right in an article by Ravel, who accused them of 'slowly closing their eyelids before the rising sun amid loud protestations that night is falling'.

With a sultry flute solo, Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune opened an astonishing new world for western music. Debussy based this composition on a poem by Mallarme, who wrote to the composer: 'I have come from the concert, deeply moved: A miracle! that your illustration of L'Apres-midi d'un faune should present no dissonance with my text, other than to venture further, truly, into nostalgia and light...'

The three Nocturnes feature some of Debussy's most imaginative orchestral writing. In the words of the composer, 'the title Nocturnes is... not meant to designate the usual form of a nocturne, but rather all the various impressions and the special effects of light that the word would suggest'. Debussy provided descriptions of the three movements. 'Nuages', for example, depicts 'the slow, melancholy procession of the clouds, ending in a grey agony tinged with white', and also the experience of standing 'on the Pont de Solferino very late at night. Total silence. The Seine without a ripple, like a tarnished mirror'.

£30.99
Image Claude Debussy: Orchestral Works
This album presents two major orchestral works by Claude Debussy – Images and La Mer – alongside the delightful Danses for harp and orchestra. The French conductor Sylvain Cambreling highlights all the charm of these colourful scores.
(re-release: 93.067)

£9.99
Image Claude Debussy: Piano Music, Vol. IV
For his fourth CD, Michael Korstick has judiciously focused on Debussy’s journey to maturity, from his earliest group of piano pieces around 1890 to the birth of what has become known as musical 'impressionism' in the Estampes of 1903.

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Image Claude Debussy: Piano Works Vol. V
Once again, Michael Korstick shows us that the primary requirement for Debussy’s challenging piano music to be heard to best advantage is to stick exactly to what the composer wrote, even in his untidiest sketches which reveal great precision in detail. People may have doubted Debussy’s ability to play all of his Etudes in 1915, but his knowledge of what the piano could and should achieve in the early twentieth century was second to none, with the possible exception of Ravel. This is reflected in Michael Korstick's latest installment in his Debussy cycle. Over the last four years, Korstick has enchanted audiences worldwide. With this final volume, Korstick sets an expert, musical and interpretive seal on his performances.

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Image DEBUSSY: ARR FOR 10 STRING GTR
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Image Debussy: Complete Music For Piano
BIS here present a CD box set of Noriko Ogawa's critically acclaimed recordings of Debussy's piano music. The box is released to coincide with the start of"Reflections on Debussy": a festival led by Noriko Ogawa at Bridgewater Hall celebrating the music of Claude Debussy in his 150th anniversary year. The festival runs from January to June 2012.

£29.99
Image Claude Debussy: Préludes & Children's Corner
After the five-volume complete recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Paavali Jumppanen’s new recording on Ondine turns attention to Claude Debussy’s (1862–1918) piano works. This 2 CD set includes complete Préludes together with the Children’s Corner. Debussy’s oeuvre has been explored both by the amateur pianist and the most legendary virtuosos of the keyboard. Throughout his career Debussy sought new ways to express his musical vistas. He began numerous large compositional projects and between these big ventures wrote miniatures such as songs and piano pieces. Fine examples of these are the Préludes and the Children’s Corner. Debussy’s 24 piano preludes were published in two sets in 1910 and 1913. These miniatures are varied in character and style, and include, among others, references to literature, poetry, nature, the Mediterranean landscape and the events in Paris during Debussy’s lifetime. This work resulted in the creation of such enigmatic pieces as La cathédrale engloutie, La fille aux cheveux de lin and Des pas sur la neige, to name but a few. The six pieces forming the cycle Children’s Corner (1908) evoke adult recollections of childhood. The set bears a dedication to Debussy’s daughter Chouchou and includes some of Debussy’s most well-known piano pieces, including The Snow is Dancing and Golliwogg’s cake walk. A dedicated performer of French music, Paavali Jumppanen often performs the large cycles of Debussy’s late period, namely the Préludes and the Études. About a Debussy recital, The Boston Globe reported how “Jumppanen maximized piano’s deeply resonant qualities—not just to create beautiful sound but to point up how radical Debussy’s harmonic language was.” Another critic (ConcertoNet.com) noted: 'I was bowled over by Mr. Jumppanen’s performance. - - As for his upcoming recording of the complete Debussy Preludes, sight-unseen, I would urge any collector to grab it: if it is anything like the Etudes we heard last Sunday, we are in for a treat!' New York Arts continued: 'Magnificent recital. - - I cannot imagine a more penetrating, subtle, and beautiful traversal of Debussy’s final statement for the piano'.

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Image Debussy: Douze Etudes
Debussy’s Twelve Études have long been regarded as being among the most enigmatic of his piano works — and have thus been among the least often performed. Chilean-American virtuoso Paulina Zamora, however, is one of today’s more adventurous leading pianists championing these keyboard masterpieces. In this second Delos album featuring her artistry, Paulina’s brilliant performances of Debussy’s seldom-heard études attest to both her technical powers and interpretive acumen. And she continues to prove to her audiences that — beneath these studies’ outer veneers of fingertwisting technical difficulty — lie marvels of rare atmosphere, tone colour and sheer beauty.

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Image Debussy et ses amis: Works by Claude Debussy, Albe
Charming, appealing, light as a feather, the flautist Christian Mattick presents us with his first Genuin Classics CD. He plays twentieth-century French music ranging from Impressionism to early Modernism: original works for flute and piano, as well as arrangements of piano pieces and orchestral music. The Duo Mattick Huth encounter the floating sound of Ravel's Habanera, the exotic flair of Albert Roussel's divine incantations and they make the string of pearls in Claude Debussy's music sparkle.

£13.99
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