Alexei Lubimov

Debussy: Préludes

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Alexei Lubimov's 2012 album of Claude Debussy's Préludes for piano is a generous offering, for in addition to presenting Books I and II complete on two discs, it also includes transcriptions for two pianos of the Trois Nocturnes and the Prélude à l'après-midi d'une faune. ECM New Series is best known for its polished releases of contemporary music, though the label has increased its catalog of early modern music, and this package is a fine addition. Lubimov plays with refinement and control in his solo performances, and his palette of tone colors is varied, with a nuanced touch and subtle shadings of phrases. The feeling Lubimov communicates is close to reverie, though the music always has shape and never becomes loose or merely atmospheric. In the transcription performances where Lubimov teams up with Alexei Zuev, there is a bolder, more direct handling of the music, perhaps in recognition of the original orchestral sound, but also because the thickened textures of two pianos admit less delicacy. The reproduction is clean and resonant, so notes are clearly captured despite the abundance of pedaling and the blurred effects so often found in Debussy.

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