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4MBS Classic FM - February 2013

Colin Noble: Debussy - Arabesques, Estampes and Images

Queenslander Colin Noble studied piano with Isobel Grigor during his school years and then with two legendary pianists; Pamela Page and Larry Sitsky. He holds Honours and Masters Degrees in Performance and undertook his PhD at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. He is an instrumental music educator, chamber musician, recording artist, accompanist, exponent of new music, concert soloist ad also performs with his brother Alistair, having given highly acclaimed recitals as a piano duo since 1993. Their repertoire includes Busoni, Messiaen, and the duo works of Debussy, Poulenc, and Brahms.

He has taught at All Hallows’ School and St Peter’s college in Brisbane, and been a member of the instrumental music staff at St Margaret’s School, since 2001. In 2006, Colin accompanied the St Margaret’s Choir Tour at the Powell River International Choral Festival in Canada, where they won the open Chamber Choir section. Over the years, Colin has been involved with Choral Program, Days of Excellence, Music Extension, Musicals, chapel services, and accompanied visiting artists including Susan Dunn and Maggie Noonan.

Colin’s concert repertoire includes the complete Messiaen Vingt Regards sur l`enfant Jesus (“a tour de force” – Courier Mail), Rachmaninov’s epic Piano Sonata No.1 (“formidable” – Canberra Times), and the Bach Goldberg Variations (“an oasis of calm” – ABC).


He has premiered new works by both established and emerging composers including Rohan Phillips, Ann Ghandar, Larry Sitsky, Steven Campbell and Betty Beath. His local concerts in 2012 included a Messiaen recital at St John’s Cathedral, playing Bach at the State Library of Queensland for a special screening of photography of the Brisbane floods, and recital of music by John Taverner with Soprano Emma Baker-Spink.

His recordings include a CD of rarely heard virtuoso works by Constant Lambert, Alberto Ginastera and Larry Sitsky, entitled Sharagan, a CD of the Goldberg Variations on US Label Centaur, and this 2012 CD of music by Debussy. This recording offers the works in chronological order and captures some of Debussy’s most mature piano music in the Estampes and Images. The inclusion of the much earlier Arabesques adds needed perspective to underscore how far Debussy had come between Arabesque I and the sweeping refinement of Poissons d’or. Whilst the Arabesques contain an element of the dance, the Images are more descriptive pieces, reflecting the composer’s interest in the Symbolist movement in art, and his more contemplative, mature nature. This is a quality performance of not technically undemanding works from a musician we are bound to hear more from in the future.

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