Last night celebrated Icelandic pianist Víkingur Ólafsson launched his new album, Debussy • Rameau, with an intimate lecture-recital at Berlin’s Konzerthaus, where he is currently Artist in Residence. He performed a selection of pieces from Debussy • Rameau which will be released on 27 March 2020. The first single, Rameau’s ‘Les Tendres Plaintes’, from his Pièces De Clavecin, is out now.
“For me, Rameau is up there with Handel, Scarlatti, and second only to Bach,” explained Víkingur Ólafsson as he introduced the evening. “It is simply genius keyboard writing.” His new album juxtaposes works by the two revolutionary French composers, Jean-Philippe Rameau and Claude Debussy, who were separated by a century and a half. Ólafsson described his new album as a “dialogue” between the two composers who, he added, “defeat time and space with music”.
Víkingur Ólafsson performed a selection of works from Debussy • Rameau, including Debussy’s Prélude from ‘La Damoiselle Élue’, Rameau’s ‘Le Rappel Des Oiseaux’ and his own transcription of an interlude from the opera Les Boréades entitled ‘The Arts and the Hours’, and gave the audience an insight into his repertoire choices for the album.
“Breathtakingly brilliant pianist” (Gramophone) Víkingur Ólafsson has become, in just a few years, one of the most sought-after artists of today. He has been described by The New York Times as “Iceland’s Glenn Gould” and Gramophone noted, “Ólafsson’s interpretations inhabit a unique, distinct and extraordinary world all their own.” Debussy • Rameau follows Víkingur Ólafsson’s critically-acclaimed 2019 recording Johann Sebastian Bach which was included in numerous album of the year lists, named one of the greatest ever Bach recordings by Gramophone, and won Best Instrumental and overall Album of the Year at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2019. Víkingur Ólafsson was also honoured at the Opus Klassik Awards and named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year and Limelight’s International Artist of the Year.
Víkingur Ólafsson’s Debussy • Rameau will be released on 27 March 2020 – pre-order the album here.