Chopin, Debussy, Kapustin & Ligeti: Etudes & Preludes / Deliyska

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Dora Deliyska: "It was an exciting and challenging process to record the complex structure of 24 études and préludes. Some of the etudes belong to...

Dora Deliyska: "It was an exciting and challenging process to record the complex structure of 24 études and préludes. Some of the etudes belong to the most difficult pieces in piano literature, and the préludes have intense musical potential. I decided to record the pieces over a short period of time, in order to keep the spontaneity of the interpretation. I am very thankful to the Teldex Team (René Möller and Jakob Bötcher) and the piano technician Gerd Finkenstein for sharing this musical experience together, and creating an exciting recording.“


The Bulgarian pianist Dora Deliyska has a penchant for “conceptual” programs that mix and match works related by genre or theme. Her 2018 Capriccio release “The B-A-C-H Project”, for example, juggled preludes and fugues by Bach and Shostakovich alongside decidedly non-Bachian études of Liszt and Chopin. The ordering of pieces seemed less curated than lumped together. The same can be said for her new 80-minute survey of Études and Préludes.

For instance, the first three selections (Ligeti’s Der Zauberlehrling, Debussy’s Étude for Chromatic Degrees, and Chopin’s “Winter Wind”) texturally complement one another, while Chopin’s nocturne-like Op. 25 No. 7 étude easily elides into Ligeti’s gorgeously lyrical Ligeti Cordes á vide. On the other hand, I glean no insightful programmatic agenda within the small groups of Chopin, Debussy, and Kapustin Preludes placed in succession.

Judging from the present disc (as well as her Liszt and Schubert Gramola releases), Deliyska is more of a poetic than heroic pianist. Indeed, her Chopin “Octave” and “Winter Wind” etudes are less incisive here than her aforementioned Capriccio disc. Her note-perfect Chopin F-sharp minor and B-flat minor Preludes and sharply detailed Debussy Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest lack sweep and abandon. Yet what sexy inflections throughout Debussy’s Pour les arpèges composes, and strong inner rhythm in the sedately paced Ligeti L’escalier du diable.

Debussy’s La Puerta del Vino adds up to a curious blend of spiky articulation and curvaceous lilt. However, the concluding three Preludes from Kapustin’s Op. 53 set reveals Deliyska’s stylistic ease with the composer’s jazz-based idiom. If the trajectory of Deliyska’s program lacks tightness and momentum, one still can stream or download the best of individual selections.

-- (Jed Distler)

Product Description:

  • Release Date: February 03, 2023

  • UPC: 881488220834

  • Catalog Number: HC22083

  • Label: Hänssler & Profil

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: 20th Century

  • Composer: Frederic Chopin, Claude Debussy, Nikolai Kapustin, Gyorgy Ligeti

  • Performer: Dora Deliyska