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“Starry Night”
Claude Debussy: Estampes, L. 100 – Arabesque N° 1 in E major, L. 66 – Golliwogg’s Cakewalk, L. 113 – Les Soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon, L. 150 – Nuit d’étoiles, L. 4 (arr. Koji Attwood) – Préludes, Book I, L. 117

Michael Lewin (Piano)
Recording: Sono Luminus, Boyce, Virginia (July 7-8, 2014) – 68’56
Sono Luminus #DSL-92190 (1 CD and 1 Pure Audio Blu-Ray) – Booklet in English


Whether or not one supports the Claude Debussy notion that his music belonged to the “impressionist” movement, there’s an undeniable sense of vagueness and soft edging that creates mystery and ambiguity. Debussy’s subject matter facilitated use of a watercoloring effect thereby sweeping listeners into bleeding notes and bouts of elan équivoque. “Starry Night”, a companion disc to earlier critically-acclaimed Beau Soir, displays Michael Lewin’s most definitive take that doesn’t draw upon shyness.

To comprehend his interpretation we turn to the liner notes. The Lewin narrative (written in first person) gives an intimate take on the Debussy landscaping. This incisive booklet reasons his musical approach. The pianissimo dynamics strengthen the irenic passages, yet the fortissimo commentaries are overemphasized with turbulent “hammering” to yield overbearing stridency.

Where Michael Lewin best comforts the listener is through selections that depict an image of demure and calm. Particularly sentimental and pleasing to the ear are the recently uncovered ironic Les Soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon and the tender La Fille aux cheveux de lin.

Christie Grimstad




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