CD Review – Debussy-Rameau

Víkingur Ólafsson

DG 483 7701

Debussy paid homage to Rameau in one of the first set of his Images. He praised the “perfect taste and strict elegance which make up the consummate beauty” of Rameau’s music, and wrote that, despite the separation of two centuries, “Rameau seems to be our contemporary”. The pianist Víkingur Ólafsson, having become familiar only recently with Rameau, here intermingles pieces by both composers in a fascinating program that allows us to appreciate the similarities and synchronicities. We become aware of Baroque models such as toccatas and sarabandes underpinning “Jardins sous la pluie” and other ‘hazy impressions’ by Debussy. We are surprised by the advanced harmonies in the operatic interlude “The Arts and the Hours”, written by Rameau when he was eighty and here arranged for piano by Ólafsson. This is an intelligently arranged recital and a very rewarding listening experience.

– Paul Cooke

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