- Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Paul Jacobs's 1970s recordings of Debussy's Preludes for Nonesuch have been added to The NPR Classical 50 list of essential recordings. On the show, critic Ted Libbey calls them "quite remarkable" and dubs Jacobs "the gold standard for the piano music of Debussy." Says Libbey of the Preludes: "What you hear is so extraordinary."
About Paul Jacobs
Paul Jacobs (1930–83) was the pianist and harpsichordist of the New York Philharmonic. He took on the piano position in 1962 and harpsichord in 1974, after having spent the 1950s in Europe focusing on avant-garde music. Jacobs was the first to perform the complete Schoeberg piano works while in Paris and later recorded them as part of a number of records he recorded for Nonesuch throughout the 1970s (reissued on CD in the later 1980s). He taught at the Manhattan Music School and the Mannes College of Music and was a professor of music at Brooklyn College at his untimely death at the age of 53.
The New York Times described Jacobs's fingers as "infallible," lauding his playing for "its strength, probity and intellectual resource," and quoted Aaron Copland as calling him "more than a pianist ... He brings to his piano a passion for the contemporary and a breadth of musical and general culture such as is rare."
July 21, 1989
Paul Jacobs brings to life the four most important piano works from the first half of Debussy’s career, including three Images, the composer’s earliest works for solo piano. Gramophone described the performances as “imaginative” and “extremely beautiful.”