Claude Debussy: Images, Books I & II

"Debussy is a much earlier source for similar experiments in 'Images (1905-7). At the end of 'Reflets Dans l’Eau,' the notes get further and further apart, but the effect is to make the reverberations that surround them seem ever more saturating. In 'Hommage à Rameau,' the Baroque period is brought into the world of late Romanticism through the introduction of echo and resonance. Mr. Kigawa’s effort in the churning yet feather-light 'Mouvement' was audible: This was not the most limpid Debussy. Yet it served this thoughtful pianist’s purpose — presenting studies of echoes — with washes of overlapping sounds, also a feature of the strummed chords of 'Cloches à Travers les Feuilles,' in the second book of 'Images; the richly steeped 'Et la Lune Descend sur le Temple Qui Fut'; and the slow expiration of the last note of 'Poissons d’Or.'" - Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times

"Even the opening Debussy Images belied the title. With his love for the archaic, Debussy probably was referred to the original meaning of 'image' – a picture in the mind, rather than a painting. The titles were also misleading to a careful listener ('Them thar goldfish don’t sound like no goldfish I ever seen.'). They were not pictures at an exhibition, they were nuances, breaths, suggestions. Mr. Kigawa played them with that sense of distant respect. Reflections in the water was delicate but distant from any relations to the fluid. Little rubato, but a simple announcement. The Rameau homage was less a modal time trip than an exercise in timbre and rhythms. The Movement was almost breathtaking. Debussy specifies 'with fantastic lightness but precise.' True, I have heard this movement played as a single unitary texture, but Mr. Kigawa rarely put his feet on the pedal, offering both particles and waves. In Book Two, the chime effects of the bells was under the more abstract intimacy of the piano sounds; the descending moon only hinted at nocturnal pictures. As for aforesaid goldfish, Debussy somewhere said that the pianist should become not the fish but the movements of the fish. And this was what we heard." - Harry Rolnick,

"For the first segment of his 2015 recital, he performed Debussy from memory, and it sparked images of a conversation with nature. The French composer is known as the founder of musical impressionism – although he rejected that term – and the audience could feel that throughout Kigawa’s performance of Images, Books I and II. Debussy’s heavy use of scales brings to mind a furin, a Japanese wind bell whose sound resembles ice tinkling in a glass and provides aural relief from the sweltering summer heat of Japan. A Japanese lacquer painting inspired Debussy to compose Poissons d’or, which Kigawa describes in his notes as 'a piece that captures splendidly the goldfish’s nimble and luminous character.' This piece provides another example of Debussy’s musical impressionism as it creates an image and an atmosphere through the use of scales and harmony." - Susan Miyagi Hamaker, JapanCulture„ÉĽNYC