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There is much lovely playing here and Say’s full tone is brilliantly caught at the Salzburg Mozarteum. He has all the technique required for this music – try his superb trills in ‘Puck’ – but the overall effect of the Debussy is uneven. ‘Voiles’ and ‘Sons et parfums’ are suitably elusive, ‘Les Collines’ contains magnificent contrasts and a decidedly impish streak, and the ‘Sérénade interrompue’ plays to Say’s core sensibilities in its cheekiness. Yet one does not quite hear the excitement of the West Wind and the famous ‘Fille aux cheveux de lin’ is a touch narcissistic; sadly ‘Cathédrale engloutie’ is clunky and uninvolving.

The coupling is inspired, however, with Satie’s aphoristic Gymnopédies and Gnossiennes emerging as positively colubrine; slinky, certainly.

COLIN CLARKE Read the full review on Agora Classica


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