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Claude Debussy (1862-1918): "La cathédrale engloutie"

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Published on Feb 24, 2008

The composer Claude Debussy needs little introduction. As a pianist, he was noted for his avoidance of the crisp, dry and articulated style which typified French pianism of the nineteenth century. His style of playing was simple, highly tone-conscious and completely uncluttered by over-expressive angst.

This piece is number ten in the first book of Préludes. The recording is a piano roll recording made by Debussy for Welte in 1913 (just three years after the work was composed). The piano rolls for Welte are amongst the most accurate we have, conveying the original performed dynamics, attack and pedalling rather faithfully, and when a good roll is played on a properly conditioned piano, the problems of dubious rhythmic bumpiness which infect many roll playbacks can vanish. This rendition seems as fine as we could hope for.

Debussy makes important changes to the music here, doubling the tempo when bars are notated in 3/2 (the prevailing tempo being 6/4).

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