Klassik Heute 10/10/10.
On the strength of the highly praised earlier volumes in this cycle, Noriko Ogawa has been described as ‘a Debussy interpreter of exceptional class’ (International Record Review) while her interpretations of the composer’s sets of Images and of Études have been singled out as belonging to the finest in the discography in magazines such as BBC Music Magazine and Classica-Répertoire. Her cycle has also been commended for its completeness, including rarities such as the piano reduction of La Boîte à joujoux and the version for one piano of Six Épigraphes antiques. On this the fifth and final disc, Noriko Ogawa again offers us scintillating performances of works both well-known and less often heard. The two Arabesques were among Debussy’s most popular works already during his lifetime, with hundreds of thousand of copies sold before his death. Another ‘hit’ was Rêverie, which Debussy himself wanted to suppress, but which at one stage even ended up as No. 1 on the US Billboard chart, in a swing arrangement. Less familiar are some of the youthful works, for instance Danse bohémienne, Debussy’s first piano piece composed at the age of 18. But the two main works on the disc are indisputably the suites Pour le Piano and Suite Bergamasque, which Debussy completed in his maturity, during the first years of the 20th century. Suite Bergamasque takes as its point of departure the commedia dell’arte tradition which so fascinated Debussy, but it is also a token – alongside Pour le Piano – of his great love and respect for the masters of the Baroque, both the French clavécinistes and J.S.Bach.