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Unlike Nikolai Lugansky in this same Harmonia Mundi Debussy centennial series, Javier Perianes plays all three Estampes (1902-3) as a wonderful encore to his reverent, mellifluous rendition of the First Book of Préludes (1909-10).

These new interpretations have much to commend them, relishing each chord and phrase for its sonority as much as musical content, catching the lyrical qualities that lie between the notes as well as in the combinations of them. Some – such as Osborne (Hyperion), Bavouzet (Chandos), Brownridge (Channel Classics) and Barenboim (DG) – linger only rarely in their traversal of Debussy’s exquisite miniatures, but Perianes takes his time throughout. This is not to shine a torch into every nook and cranny of the score; rather, he gives full rein to the power of suggestion so central to Debussy’s style.

Perianes’ approach may not appeal to everyone: ‘La fille aux cheveux de lin’ is a touch too sedate, though I like its understatement; ‘La cathédrale engloutie’, by contrast, resonates from some mid-Atlantic depth.

There is no denying the sheer finesse and sensual joy of Perianes’ playing. If you like your Debussy soft-focused, this should tick your boxes.

GUY RICKARDS Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Piano International, 2019 - ©Rhinegold Publishing