Here Bavouzet completes his cycles with works at the extreme of his pianistic style; Études Books 1 & 2 and Images Books 1 & 2. Étude retrouvée completes the recording. The Images were the product of Debussy the artlover and derive from his early reading Baudelaire. The Études, on the other hand, look inwards at the properties and possibilities of the musical substance itself. They contain some of Debussy's most demanding piano writing - five of the twelve were never recorded commercially until after 1950. But, despite their difficulty a playful spirit is very much in evidence.
This series is a deeply personal project for Bavouzet who has been involved in all aspects of the recording process.
'This is meaty and powerful Debussy without the cheap perfume or the soggy handshake. The Etudes are especially convincing, and if his Images are the least successful, it is only to make a difference between the two sets of works. Trust me, both the Images and Etudes easily conquer any other modern recording.' Pianist
'Bavouzet is a fascinating Debussy player, not only because of his immensely refined ear for sonority but also his rhythmic flexibility allied to a strong sense of musical architecture... The piano sound is clear and warm and this is an ideal match for Bavouzet's lucid approach to the music. The transparency of textures is one reason his performance of the Images is so effective, revealing much of the inner life of this music, but there is never any sense of dryness. Not only is there an impressive range of colour but the pianist also shows a willingness to use the dynamic range of the piano to the full and there is quite a bit of rubato too. However, this never feels like someone pulling the music around for the sake of it. Quite the reverse - Bavouzet's rhythmic give and take enhances the expressiveness of the music.' International Record Review
CD of the Month: 'I can guarantee readers that this attractively engineered release will reveal more and more details to savour with each rehearing. If you haven't ordered it yet, what are you waiting for?' Gramophone
'Bavouzet's recording contains many beauties: a clear and shining tone, elegantly limpid turns of phrases and all the virtuoso glitter you could wish for.' Classic FM Magazine
'Anyone who doubts Bavouzet's abilities should sample the playful romp though the third of the Images, the quasi-Etude ‘Mouvement', or his beautifully atmospheric ‘et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut'.' BBC Music Magazine
'This is the fourth and final disc in Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's Debussy series for Chandos, and perhaps the most impressive... Bavouzet's performances manage to reconcile perfectly those echoes of the earlier sensuous writing with the newly invented, harder-edged sonorities. He is just as convincing in the two sets on Images as well, whether perfectly gilding the swoops and swirls of Poissons d'Or, or evoking the stately monumentality of Hommage à Rameau.' The Guardian