HOMAGE TO DEBUSSY
Eric Himy, piano
Eric Himy's big, luscious sonority and splendid ear for tone color suit Debussy's keyboard aesthetic to perfection, although his personalized interpretations may not satisfy all tastes. The degree to which Himy's often-cavalier score reading affects the music's intent and impact depends on the piece in question.
For example, marvelous textural control justifies the pianist's protracted unfolding of Voiles, Canope, and his effective transcription of the Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. […]. Poissons d'or, Reflets dans l'eau , and L'isle joyeuse are intriguingly spacious, luxuriant, and soft-grained. […]
Eric Himy's Gershwin transcription program begins with his own recasting of Rhapsody in Blue.
It incorporates orchestral material absent from other piano versions, and it's spruced up by embellishments, octave transpositions, cadenzas, and the like. […]. At the same time, Himy's vivid treatment of An American in Paris couldn't be more straightforward and balletic.
The remainder of the disc offers Earl Wild's large-scaled Porgy and Bess Fantasy plus all but one of his Seven Virtuoso Etudes based on Gershwin's popular songs (Himy omits <.>Embraceable You). There's no denying Himy's virtuosic flair, […] All told, this is a fascinating disc, yet Himy's over-the-top virtuosity is heard to better advantage in his stunning Ravel recital on Ivory Classics.
HIMY PLAYS RAVEL
Precision, beauty, and surface polish characterize Eric Himy's superb way with Ravel's piano music. Himy's elegant, highly articulated pianism was made for the five Miroirs, where each phrase and textural strand resonates with breathtaking clarity. Alborada del gracioso particularly clicks its hot heels to the tune of Himy's stinging, sultry accents. The same praise applies to Scarbo (the third and final movement of Gaspard de la Nuit), a performance that manages to be both menacing and nimble at the same time.
While Gaspard's first two movements make less individual an impression, Himy, like Angela Hewitt, sustains a slower-than-usual basic tempo for Le Gibet by virtue of his meticulous dynamic control. […]The pianist also pedals through certain harmonic changes, creating deliberately blurry effects that might sound strange on first hearing.
By contrast, the Pavane's inner lines are assertively and steadily projected, and similarly for the Habanera and Menuet. I prefer a more rock-solid, steady tempo for La Valse'sopening bass-register groans than what Himy gives us, but his fanciful rubatos and textural emendations to Ravel's simpler piano arrangement eventually won me over. Who can resist those twinkle-dust glissandos--so vulgar, so delicious! An enjoyable disc all around.