Debussy - Reflets

NAVONA RECORDS - Release Date: June 8, 2018
Catalog # Physical: NV6164

While it might seem that child prodigies are commonplace in the world of classical music, only a few truly make a lasting impact, one that lives on long after those prodigies have passed well into their adulthoods. Mozart began to play piano at the age of three, Beethoven did so at seven and a half, and Georges Bizet did so before his tenth birthday. Pianist Eliane Rodrigues, who began composing at three, played her first recital at five and first performed with an orchestra when she was just six years of age, can certainly be counted among those prodigious musicians, as evidenced on her latest recording, REFLETS.
Debussy is credited as one of the ‘founders' of Impressionist music, distinguished by its focus on suggestions and atmosphere, a world that Rodrigues also inhabits here, as evidenced by her cascading and powerfully textured performance of Debussy's "Ballade." "Pour le Piano," certainly one of the composer's most moving works for solo piano, features rapid, brilliant passages that fully emphasize the pianist's virtuosity.


You can listen to numerous performances of a piece of classical music and each time it will be different. For me, the moment that I knew I was listening to one of the best recordings was with the familiar ‘Clair de Lune’. I think I’ve got about a half dozen albums with various pianists performing this piece – not to mention the times when I’ve heard it in bookstores, cafes or other public places. But this was the first time I really heard it and it provoked an emotional response. Rodrigues’s playing is subtle, where it needs to be and forceful in other parts. It’s crystal clear, to anyone who knows this piece, that the pianist isn’t just playing, she’s feeling every single note: pouring her soul into the performance.
And that makes for a truly magical listening experience.

Darren Rea - 18 June 2018


I come to Eliane Rodrigues' Reflets with great excitement, having been suitably mesmerized by her 2017 Chopin collection Notturno (also on Navona)

Rodrigues's performance is expressive but not bathetic or cloying, the result a well-tempered version characterized by lucidity. During certain sections, the familiar melodies flow gracefully, whereas at others the tempo slows exquisitely to intensify the dream-like effect. Here and elsewhere, we're reminded of how much she shares with Debussy an appreciation for music's mysterious quality, the way instrumental material in particular encourages a multiplicity of meanings.

Suite Bergamasque
In this first piece, we're already presented with ample evidence of Rodrigues' sensitivity to the music's subtle shadings, and in her hands, each phrase is voiced with eloquence and a deep grasp of the material, whether it be the lively "Menuet" or the intense "Passepied."
Put simply, her attunement to Debussy's moods is never less than stellar.

July 2018 - Peterborough Ontario, Canada

Eliane Rodrigues plays Claude Debussy the way Debussy would have loved to be played. "One must forget the piano has hammers," he once said. And so it is with this performance of The Maestro's repertoire. Miss Rodrigues applies, to those hammers he spoke of, the kind of touch needed to make the music live and breathe and come alive. The black dots simply leap off the page and dance in the air above the listening room. It seems as if that mysterious relationship between the way Miss Rodrigues every finger depresses each piano key and the effect that has on the complex mechanics of the hammer is ever so gentle; ever so natural.

Yet the hammers are all-too-present, and not because of some requisite hard-edged playing as on "Arabesque". She also shows that keeping rhythm supple is as important as touch; though it hardly needs to be metronomic and must have the kind of elasticity that the best interpretations of Debussy are made of. "Pour le Piano" could not be better interpreted than by Miss Rodrigues. It is a commanding performance - as it ought to be in the dazzling arpeggios and liquid runs of the "Prelude" and as lithe and well-mannered as fairies hop-scotching on both the "Sarabande" and the Toccata".
A disc to die for...
Raul da Gama - WMR Senior Writer - July 12 2018

Rodrigues has chosen a program that supports her view of Debussy as a composer of more than just languid, dreamy, impressionistic music. Indeed, it's as much her approach as it is the program that clinches her argument. The opening tracks, Suite Bergamasque, contain the famous Claire de lune, which is usually taken as a prime opportunity for creating the impressionistic atmosphere of Debussy's fluid arpeggios and richly blended harmonies. Rodrigues, however, moves through the piece at a more determined pace, lingering less indulgently on the familiar emotional hotspots. Surprisingly, the work loses nothing in this approach and comes across with a new and rather different meaning - something perhaps more actively philosophical rather than deeply contemplative.

Other tracks like Pour le piano, especially its Toccata movement, are highly energized and percussive, words not often used to describe this repertoire. Intriguingly, this performance does more to connect the composer to some of his contemporaries than a traditional interpretation would do. Ravel and Satie suddenly share a kinship with Debussy that has hitherto seemed more tenuous.
Still, Rodrigues doesn't entirely reject Debussy as the arch-impressionist of piano composition. Arabesques is as powerfully mystical as you'll hear it played by anyone. So too are the slower movements of Images Books 1 & 2. Rodrigues knows exactly what she's doing and her ideas are worth hearing.
Alex Baran - October 2018