21 October 2018

Claude Debussy's Préludes

It's the season once again for Musikfest Berlin. And this time, I actually bought tickets for three concerts. The first one was for the piano recital of Alexander Melnikov, featuring Claude Debussy's Préludes.

It's not your typical modern music, in fact, given the rest of the program of the festival, piano music stemming from the early 20th century could feel rather old and dated. Which was actually interesting, as the Préludes actually was quite familiar to me: when I was still learning the piano two decades ago, Debussy was a favourite composer of mine. I loved his Impressionistic music, preferring to play his pieces over Chopin's. Nevertheless, when I was in the concert hall, given the other concerts I have seen lately, it felt a little bit dated. I mean, I rarely attend concerts featuring composers like Mozart and Schubert, as I feel like their music wasn't radical enough for my taste. Now I am getting the same feeling with Debussy.

Then there's also the performance by Alexander Melnikov. There were some pieces that he really did wonderfully. And then there were others which in my opinion, could have been better. At some point, I felt like he was trying to make Debussy sound like Chopin. I wished he played a little bit more crisp and not muddy, with less rubato perhaps.

In any case, it was an interesting concert. I don't think I have heard of Debussy's Préludes played live before. I suppose it's worth hearing it live at least once. But yes, I feel like I prefer to listen to classical music that has been composed more recently. I guess tastes evolve.

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