Claude Debussy

Images (3), for piano, Set I, L. 105 (110)

    Description by Michael Jameson

    The first volume of Debussy's Images (this title might also serve as a generic commonplace which could usefully be applied to almost any of Debussy's works) for piano solo was published in 1905. The set comprises of three pieces entitled respectively "Reflets dans l'eau," "Hommage à Rameau," and finally "Mouvement." Of the first piece, wrote the composer, it represented "the most recent discoveries of harmonic chemistry," which was indeed no idly hyperbolic claim. Behind the flashing arpeggios and shimmering chordal progressions the music somehow loses its focus, much as one's eyes seem to dilate after gazing intently at an object for any length of time. It is an ingenious agglomeration of whole-tone progressions and endlessly varied pentatonic and chromatic figurations. While the most sonorous climaxes of "Reflets" mirror the powerful sea music of Debussy's opera Pelléas et Mélisande, the highly impressionistic nature of the coda, with its pattern of three descending notes (which are also heard at the very beginning of this first Image, giving it an overall cyclic unity, despite its harmonic ambiguity) is one of the most memorable and musically effective the composer ever attained.

    Appropriately for a work which honors one of the great French "clavecinistes," the second piece of the set "Hommage à Rameau" takes the form of a slow, purposeful sarabande, albeit one which springs (suggests Dawes) "from a somewhat idealised eighteenth century world ... it is a belated funerary offering to one great composer written entirely in the idiom of another." It was composed at the time when Debussy was engaged in revising Rameau's Les Fêtes de Polymnie, and this study in majestic classical proportions suggests the high regard in which Debussy held Rameau's keyboard music. The listener will be struck particularly by the austerity and economy of the writing which, save for a few passing expressive up-swings, maintains a somber processional tread, based principally on triadic chords, throughout its entire duration.

    The final section, "Mouvement," is a toccata-like exercise in physical animation at the keyboard. As Anthony Cross states, "with Debussy rhythm is frequently reduced to continual vibration, to permit the realisation of timbre effects." It is so here, for although the moto perpetuo torrent of notes seems unstoppable, the music is still rooted firmly to a number of immensely long pedal points which create a feeling of static harmony. Some writers have suggested links with the mawkish humor of Stravinsky's Petrushka -- puppets locked in violent dispute -- and perhaps the analogy is a good one, and it conveys powerfully the idea behind the music. It is perhaps suggestive of the frenzied flight of the bee in the honey pot-furious, but locked into an orbit from which there is no escape.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Reflets dans l'eau. Andantino molto
    2. Hommage á Rameau. Lent et grave
    3. Mouvement. Animé

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Menuetto Classics
    2018 Menuetto Classics null
    2018 Musica Viva MV 120
    2018 Ars Produktion ARS 38240
    2018 Menuetto Classics null
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon
    2018 Deutsche Grammophon 4798642
    2018 Alpha 404
    2018 PentaTone Classics PTC 5186627
    2018 Hyperion CDA 68139
    2018 Arcana A 445
    2018 Warner Classics
    2018 Steinway & Sons 30105
    2018 Decca
    2018 Decca
    2018 CAvi-music AVI 8553257
    2017 Ypsilon International YIL-002
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon 4798308
    2017 MSR Classics MS 1654
    2017 CAvi-music AVI 8553379
    2017 Somm SOMMCD 0168
    2017 Hyperion CDA 68161
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295869199
    2017 Pavane / Pavane Records ADW 7576
    2017 Sony Classical 88985395212
    2016 Sony Classical 88843071652
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796277
    2016 ICSM ICSM 80060
    2016 Piano Classics PCL 0110
    2016 Deutsche Grammophon 4796288
    2016 Sony Classical 88875192902
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Orlando Records OR 0010
    2015 DUX / Dux Records DUX 1111
    2015 ABC Classics 4811742
    2015 Orlando Records OR 0015
    2015 IBS IBC 72014
    2015 Sony Classical 88843014702
    2014 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic 933190000000
    2014 Hyperion CDA 67920
    2014 Dynamic DYNCDS 7697
    2014 Sony Classical G010003220363W
    2014 Sony Classical 888430147621
    2013 AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment ZOD 67042
    2013 Oehms Classics OC 864
    2013 Romeo Records RR 7299/7300
    2013 Zig Zag Territoires ZZT 326
    2012 Li-Sem Enterprises DKM 602
    2012 ICA Classics ICAC 5077
    2012 Supraphon SU 41192
    2012 Honens 201103
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94415
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099995591
    2012 Chandos CHAN 107435
    2012 Indesens IDS 41
    2012 Decca
    2012 Sony Classical 88691928102
    2012 Alto 4002
    2012 Music & Arts MA 1267
    2012 Genuin GEN 12226
    2012 EMI Classics
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099963875
    2012 Blue Griffin Recording BG 241
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Deutsche Grammophon 4790056
    2012 Onyx ONYX 4095
    2012 Warner Classics 2564660448
    2011 Centaur Records 3157
    2011 Genuin GEN11199
    2011 BD Jazz / Zebralution
    2011 AAO Music
    2011 Centaur Records CRC3094/95/96/97
    2011 Solo Records SLR 5
    2011 Regis / Regis Records RRC 4010
    2011 Mandala / Mandala Studio 06
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2010 EMI Classics 6483272
    2010 Decca
    2010 Naxos 857807778
    2010 Warner Classics
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Fabula Classica 12084
    2009 Tudor Records 731
    2009 Eloquentia 0814
    2009 Blue Saphir 1045
    2009 Denon Records 00795041927828
    2009 Harmonia Mundi 2908209
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 449438
    2008 Chandos CHAN10497
    2008 EMI Classics
    2008 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099950027
    2008 Onyx ONYX 4028
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 5627982
    2008 Avi 8553088
    2008 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2008 Claves 2713/18
    2007 Aura Music 223042
    2007 Regis Records 1063
    2007 Bridge 9219
    2007 Erato 284668
    2007 Union Square Music 46
    2007 X5 Music Group 21289
    2006 Harmonia Mundi 901893
    2006 Philips 4757301
    2006 Doremi Records 78649
    2005 Fleur de Son 57968
    2005 Ambroisie 9991
    2005 Arts Music 47840
    2005 Nonesuch
    2005 Brilliant 92615
    2005 Con Brio CBR 251
    2005 Deutsche Grammophon 4775694
    2004 ASV 695
    2004 Simax 1250
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 85990
    2004 Philips
    2004 Philips 4752102
    2004 ASV / Sanctuary 402
    2004 Ivory Records 73006
    2004 Supraphon 37782
    2004 EMI Music Distribution 62800
    2003 Aura Classics 0202
    2003 Philips 473915
    2003 Warner Classics 83940
    2003 Sony Classical 87278
    2003 BIS 301105
    2003 Virgin 562261-2
    2003 Arts Music 47577
    2003 Fabula Classica 29902
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000001602
    2002 Naïve V 1001
    2002 Aura Classics 2002
    2001 Classica d'Oro 3024
    2001 Disques Pierre Verany 700018
    2001 BIS 1105
    2001 Brilliant 99228
    2000 Aura Classics 0225
    2000 Harmonia Mundi 911717
    2000 Decca 460 247-2DH2
    2000 Disques Pierre Verany 700015
    2000 Eroica Distribution 3039
    2000 Aura Classics 2000
    1999 ASV 506
    1999 Philips 422404
    1999 Wergo 62412
    1999 Denon Records 17037
    1999 Aura Classics 0109
    1999 Philips 4323042
    1999 Arcana 62
    1999 Orfeo 523991
    1999 Music & Arts 747
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Philips 456910
    1999 Harmonia Mundi 290888
    1998 Philips 456901
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459033
    1998 Koch Classics 316362
    1998 Virgin 61421
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 069-2GCC12
    1998 Philips 456793
    1998 Encore Performa / Encore Performance Recordings 9816
    1997 Nimbus Records 1773
    1997 Tall Poppies 094
    1997 Naxos 553292
    1997 Quicksilva 432
    1997 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 7243565855
    1996 Pro Piano 224502
    1995 Summit Records 110
    1995 Conifer 51755
    1995 Hyperion 44061
    1994 Harmonia Mundi 901503
    1994 Philips 438718
    1994 Naxos 550253
    1994 Decca
    1994 London 443021
    1994 Chandos 9294
    1994 BIS 371
    1994 Vox 5103
    1994 Centaur Records 2644
    1992 Nimbus 5161
    1992 Nonesuch 71365
    1992 Vox 5062
    1992 Harmonia Mundi 190954
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 415372
    1986 Decca
    Aura Music 202
    Fabula Classica 12078
    Deutsche Grammophon 000402802
    Panton Records 10583
    Hommage 7001851
    Sony Music Distribution 52583
    Denon Records 5196434
    Collins Records 1052
    Schwann 11085
    Apex 40649
    Accord 242092
    Manchester 127
    Philips 420393
    Hyperion 66416
    Erato 94827
    Brilliant 99232
    Erato 98476
    Brilliant 92615/6
    Aura Music 218
    Meyer Media 07009
    Vox 9005
    Nimbus 5080
    Mr. Owl 4305
    Hommage 7001850
    Teledisc 5
    Summit Records 278
    EMI Music Distribution 69434
    Appassionato 999101
    Memoria 999001