Hans Henkemans plays Debussy: The Philips Recordings 1951-1957 | Decca 4829490

Hans Henkemans plays Debussy: The Philips Recordings 1951-1957


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Label: Decca

Cat No: 4829490

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 4

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 27th April 2018



Marking the centenary of one of the 20th century’s most influential composers: a 4-CD set presenting Hans Henkemans’ visionary Debussy recordings for Philips, which foreshadowed those of the generations of pianists which followed him; not least among them: Michelangeli, Béroff, and Zimerman.

Hans Henkemans made his debut at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam in late December 1945, and for 25 years, he was acclaimed for his readings of Beethoven and Ravel, and especially for his performances of Mozart and Debussy. In 1951, he signed a contract with the newly-founded Philips label and between 1951 and 1957 his recordings would include the complete piano works of Claude Debussy. It is noteworthy that his orchestration of Debussy’s Préludes is perhaps the most accomplished that has been made to this day.

That his reputation has been largely confined to his birthplace of The Netherlands is a mystery. With this release, his ground-breaking interpretations of Debussy’s piano music are recognized for their forward-looking qualities, preceding the modern approach represented by Michelangeli and Béroff. Henkemans’ approach to the piano music of Debussy is marked by a supreme technical command, a wide variation of dynamics and touch, and by a strict fidelity to the score – and is notable for a superb control of the sustaining pedal with Henkemans eschewing its use simply for effect and frequently and completely clearing it allowing the music its natural expressivity through the notes themselves rather than through smudges of sound. For those who have not yet discovered Henkemans’ Debussy, these recordings “open closed doors, and in so doing, reveal hitherto unknown vistas. The result being the very enrichment of our faculty to enjoy music.”

First international CD release, and first digital release, of all repertoire, with CDs 2-4 released for the first time ever on CD.

44-page booklet (French/English) including:
- Artist biography
- An insightful essay by Hans Henkemans himself on Debussy’s piano works
- New repertoire notes and critique by former Universal exec., Tom Deacon

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