A delightful program played with poetry and panache, this Debussy recital by American pianist Roberta Rust will charm enthusiasts for the French fin de siècle composer. The program brilliantly balances the well-known with the little-known and the terrifically difficult with the tremendously evocative. It opens Debussy's greatest hit -- Clair de lune (from Suite Bergamasque) -- moves quickly through four incredibly difficult preludes -- Feux d'artifice, Des pas sur la neige, La puerta del Vino, and Ce qu'a le vent d'Ouest -- and an unbelievably difficult etude -- Pour les sonorités opposées -- then lingers over the evocative estampes -- Pagodas, La Soirée dans Grenade, and Jardins sous la pluie -- before passing through the quite rare Berceuse héroïque, Morceau de concours, and Ballade (Slave) -- on the way to the climactic Pour le Piano -- Prélude, Sarabande, and the amazing Toccata -- followed by the extraordinarily rare Pièce sans titre and Élégie. From beginning to end, Rust is totally on top of the music technically and deep into the music interpretively. Her Clair de lune is rapturous, her Ce qu'a le vent d'Ouest is ecstatic, her Jardins sous la pluie is atmospheric, her Berceuse héroïque is deeply affecting, her Toccata is astounding, and even her concluding Élégie is quietly moving. Though there have been many recordings of most of these pieces before, and though some of these recordings have been by such titans of the keyboard as Richter, Michelangeli, Moravec, and Gieseking, Rust nevertheless deserves to be heard by anyone who loves Debussy. Recorded in 2006 at the Wertham Performing Arts Center at Florida International University, produced by Phillip Evans, and engineered by Peter McGrath, Centaur's sound is tight, close, and constricted.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Estampes, for piano, L. 100|
|Pour le piano, suite for piano, L. 95|