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RELEASE DATE: 10/04/2020
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Fresh from his hugely acclaimed and multi-award-winning album Johann Sebastian Bach, Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson’s third Deutsche Grammophon recording pairs works by two revolutionary French composers separated by a century and a half: Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claude Debussy.

Debussy is most often called an impressionist. “People get lost a little bit in sound for the sake of sound”, Ólafsson comments. But the composer was also “a real perfectionist… there is this incredibly refined structure at work.” Rameau, “the bad boy of the French baroque”, likewise combined a strong sense of structure with a fondness for breaking conventions: “He broke the rules and paved the way for new ideas, new creativity, new spontaneity.” What unites the two composers, Ólafsson comments, is “a kind of freedom and discipline, juxtaposed”.

The album Debussy & Rameau alternates music by the two composers, creating an enthralling dialogue between them. Works are drawn from across both composers’ careers, with the Debussy selection including well-known miniatures such as La Fille aux cheveux de lin as well as the less familiar Prelude to La Damoiselle élue arranged for piano solo. Rameau’s works are mainly drawn from his Pièces de clavecin collections of between 1724 and 1741. One of the album’s centrepieces is Ólafsson’s own Rameau arrangement The Arts and the Hours.

Ólafsson’s album concludes with a piece that connects the two composers directly: Debussy’s Hommage à Rameau from Images book 1, a moving sarabande written as a tribute from one rule-breaking composer to another.

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862–1918)

1 La Damoiselle élue L. 62: Prélude


Pièces de clavecin , 1724

2 Le rappel des oiseaux

3 Rigaudons I, II & double

4 Musette en rondeau

5 Tambourin

6 La villageoise. Rondeau

7 Gigues en rondeau I & II


8 Estampes L.100: 3. Jardins sous la pluie

Children’s Corner

9 3. Serenade for the Doll

10 4. The Snow is dancing


Pièces de clavecin , 1724

11 Les tendres plaintes. Rondeau

12 Les tourbillons. Rondeau

13 L’entretien des Muses


14 Préludes, Book 1, L. 117: Des pas sur la neige


Pièces de clavecin , 1724

15 La joyeuse. Rondeau

16 Les Cyclopes. Rondeau


17 The Arts and the Hours


18 Préludes, Book 1: La fille aux cheveux de lin. Très calme et doucement expressif

19 Préludes, Book 2, L. 123: Ondine. Scherzando


Pièces de clavecin en concerts, 1741

20 Cinquième concert (Fifth Concert): La Cupis

Quatrième concert (Fourth Concert):

21 L’indiscrète

22 La Rameau

Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin, 1726/27

23 La Poule

24 L’Enharmonique. Gracieusement

25 Menuets I & II

26 Les Sauvages

27 L’Égyptienne


28 Images, Book 1, L. 110: Hommage à Rameau

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