Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Douze Etudes Books 1 & 2
Mitsuko Uchida (piano)
PHILIPS 50 Great Recordings 464 698-2 [47.12]
Crotchet  £8.50  Amazon UK  £8.99  Amazon US

Short measure, but highest quality. It is only in comparatively recent times that the Debussy studies (see Thibaudet and Pollini ), his last compositions for solo piano, have come to be acknowledged as one of his most important works and equally significant in the roster of didactic piano music. Like those of Chopin, musical considerations surpass the technical ones. They are wonderfully self-generating pieces, in which the sense of direction can be elusive, e.g. what happens to the stiff five Czerny-based finger exercise which begins the whole series. They are very hard, but hold no terrors for Uchida, who gives one of her most cherished recorded performances for this welcome reissue.

These studies should have a place in any collection of piano music or any of Debussy, and Uchida well earns for it her place in the Philips 50 Great Recordings series. She is a splendid guide through their intricacies. The recording by Philips is excellent, and for commentary you are in the safe hands of Misha Donat, who always has something original to say.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: - The UK's Biggest Video Store Musicians accessories
Click here to visit