With two critically-lauded releases on Navona Records (NOTTURNO, performing works by Chopin, and a four-CD box set, BEETHOVEN – 8 CONCERTI) pianist Eliane Rodrigues returns with REFLETS showcasing the pianist’s nuanced and thoughtful performances of fifteen works by Claude Debussy.
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.
The album opens with “Suite Bergamasque,” one of Debussy’s most well-known piano suites. The dynamic contrasts in the moods of the suite’s four pieces are well suited to Rodrigues’ sensitive and vivid style. 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.
That impressionistic ability to invoke a mood or a feeling carries on with “First Arabesque in E Major,” one of a pair composed early in Debussy’s career. “Images,” comprised of two ‘books’ of three pieces each, ranging from the subdued “Homage à Rameau” to the energy of “Mouvement,” marked by the torrent of notes in its finale.
Eliane Rodrigues was born in Rio de Janiero, where the performances that she gave in her childhood bore fruit when she was awarded the Gina Bachauer prize at the Van Cliburn Competition in the United States at only 18 years of age. She has gone on to perform internationally, as well as to hold the position of professor at the Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp. She has also recorded more than 25 CDs, recorded both live and in the studio; REFLETS on which Rodrigues plays a Fazioli Concert Grand F728, was recorded in Belgium at Academy One Studios.
1. Prélude Moderato (Tempo rubato)
2. Menuet. Andantino
3. Claire de lune. Andante très expressif
4. Passepied. Allegretto ma non troppo
5. Ballade (slave)
Pour le piano
6. Prélude. Assez animé et très rythmé
7. Sarabande. Avec un élégance grave et lente
8. Toccata. Vif
No. 1 in E major - Andantino con moto
Images Book 1
10. Reflets dans l'eau. Andantino molto
11. Hommages à Rameau. Lent et grave
12. Mouvement. Animé
Images Book 2
13. Cloches à travers les feuilles. Lent
14. Et la lune descend sur le temle qui fût. Lent
15. Poissons d'or. Animé