Gordon Fergus-Thompson

Debussy: The Complete Piano Music

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Gordon Fergus-Thompson has been praised for his interpretation of French "Impressionist" music, with much of his reputation based on this collection of Debussy's Complete Piano Music, and deservedly so. He achieves a clarity of sound that allows you to note details in the music, such as in the Toccata of Pour le Piano and Poissons d'or, but his performances are still richly colorful and marked with smoothness and suppleness. There is a restraint in the forte passages and in dramatic moments, but it doesn't feel forced, and there are still dynamic contrasts between loud and soft, between calm and animated. The Preludes, Book 1, are an excellent example of those contrasts, ranging from the tumult of Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest to the gracefulness of La fille aux cheveux de lin. He takes the pieces in the Children's Corner and the waltz La plus que lente faster than many pianists, and also in the Children's Corner, he applies a little too much sophistication and coloration. Other than that, however, Fergus-Thompson seems to have a natural control over every touch of key or pedal that makes all of Debussy's pieces sound technically easy and musically organic. This set could easily be a benchmark by which you judge other performances.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Children's Corner, suite for piano (or orchestra), L. 113
1
2:12
2
3:01
3
2:46
4
2:49
5
2:43
6
3:06
7
2:09
8
1:42
9
3:44
10
4:25
11
2:06
12
1:14
Études (12) for piano in 2 books, L. 136
13
2:58
14
3:15
15
5:48
16
5:03
17
2:24
18
1:40
19
2:37
20
5:08
21
3:15
22
5:51
23
5:30
24
4:07
blue highlight denotes track pick