|Shostakovich||24 Preludes , Op. 34 (KA)|
|Debussy||12 Préludes, Book I (NO)|
Composers have always been fascinated by the idea of preludes, a sense of musical openings and departures, a paving of the way towards a larger canvas often focusing on a single figuration or idea. These qualities are immediately apparent in the preludes of JS Bach and Chopin to name but two of the most iconic creators of such pieces. In the twentieth century both Shostakovich and Debussy took up the genre with relish, leading their respective preludes towards very different destinations.
Shostakovich’s writing in the early 1930s follows the example of his esteemed predecessors by composing short preludes in all of the twenty four keys. The astonishing range of moods conjured up here range from pensive to manic, obsessional to playful all threaded through with dances and parodies. The complete set, performed by Katya Apekisheva, form a fantastical diary of ideas as if peering into a private musical diary. Debussy’s 12 Prèludes Book One, played here by internationally respected Japanese pianist Noriko Ogawa, by contrast is not tethered to any strict harmonic template preferring to evoke a myriad of moods and scenes through his unparalleled, daring imagination. The poetic titles appear in brackets at the end of each printed piece, a suggestion rather than a statement perfectly reflecting the open-ended nature of the music.
Noriko Ogawa has achieved considerable renown throughout the world since her success at the Leeds International Piano Competition. Noriko’s ‘ravishingly poetic playing’ (Telegraph) sets her apart from her contemporaries and acclaim for her complete Debussy series with BIS Records, confirms her as a fine Debussy specialist. Her Images Book I and II were chosen as the top recommendation ‘exquisite delicacy’, BBC Radio 3’s CD Review, January 2014. Noriko’s latest recording for BIS records is of solo piano music by Eric Satie. Noriko is Chairperson of the Jury for Japan’s prestigious 10th Hamamatsu International Piano Competition since 2018 and is a professor at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.