- Préludes (12) for piano, Book I, L. 117
- D'un cahier d'esquisses, for piano, L. 99
- Children's Corner, suite for piano (or orchestra), L. 113
- Suite bergamasque, for piano, L. 75: 3. Clair de lune
With his subtle and refined touch, flawless technique, Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire turns in a performance of Debussy's first book of Préludes, which in its way rivals the work's finest earlier recordings, but which also sounds oddly unlike Debussy. Freire's performances of the virtuoso Préludes, such as "Ce qu'a vu le vent d'Ouest," are breathtaking in speed and accuracy, drumming up considerable excitement. The more soulful Préludes, such as "Le Fille aux cheveux de lin," are heartrending in touch, tone, and taste. That said, some listeners at least may find Freire's textures too thick, his pedaling too heavy, his legato a little too sustained, and his approach altogether more Brahmsian than is ideal in this repertoire. In that light, Freire's "Des pas dur la neige" may seem overly melancholy, his "Ministrels" overly muscular, and his "La cathédrale engloutie" overly aqueous. So, despite the undeniable beauty of Freire's playing and Decca's sound, listeners should sample this disc before taking it home to be sure it's to their taste.