Author Topic: Debussy's Corner  (Read 83048 times)

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Offline Madiel

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #620 on: February 10, 2020, 12:26:16 AM »
In fact lots of Mozart's works have opus numbers. We don't use them because they're inconsistent (for example, when a work was published in different countries each publisher would have its own system).

Whereas with Debussy, he gave the string quartet an opus number. At some point I think I read it was almost as a joke.

If so, it's vaguely possible it was a wink in the direction of Faure, who didn't give opus numbers until the Cantique de Jean Racine was going to be published and scrambled to create opuses 1 to 10 (and made a slight hash of it) so that the Cantique would be op.11
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #621 on: February 10, 2020, 09:13:59 AM »
Interesting quote from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet:

“Neither of the pieces by Debussy that inspire me most are for piano.”

No wonder I don’t like his cycle of Debussy solo piano music. :-\
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Offline hvbias

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #622 on: February 11, 2020, 05:30:19 AM »
I've now made it through all of Michel Beroff's recordings on Denon, absolutely tremendous. This is now one of the very finest near complete traversal's of Debussy's piano music I've heard.

Offline Baron Scapia

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #623 on: February 11, 2020, 10:30:58 AM »
Interesting quote from Jean-Efflam Bavouzet:

“Neither of the pieces by Debussy that inspire me most are for piano.”

No wonder I don’t like his cycle of Debussy solo piano music. :-\

I usually don't concern myself with what musicians say, since it is often dumb. Creating music is their talent.

I have Bavouzet's Debussy set but have hardly cracked it. I have listened to his Ravel set carefully, and I think it is the best I have ever heard.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #624 on: February 11, 2020, 11:32:22 AM »
I usually don't concern myself with what musicians say, since it is often dumb. Creating music is their talent.

I have Bavouzet's Debussy set but have hardly cracked it. I have listened to his Ravel set carefully, and I think it is the best I have ever heard.

Perhaps I need to give Bavouzet’s Ravel another go? I recall those performances being a bit icy and detached or maybe it’s the sound of the piano he’s using or the audio quality, but something didn’t feel right to me about his performances. Alexandre Tharaud is my go-to in Ravel’s solo piano music.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Baron Scapia

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #625 on: February 11, 2020, 12:28:33 PM »
Perhaps I need to give Bavouzet’s Ravel another go? I recall those performances being a bit icy and detached or maybe it’s the sound of the piano he’s using or the audio quality, but something didn’t feel right to me about his performances. Alexandre Tharaud is my go-to in Ravel’s solo piano music.

The MDG engineering is just what I like. The performance appealed to me because it tended to bring out contrapuntal lines, as I recall. Of course, for any recording there are people who love them and people who are unmoved, there is a big subjective component. None are objectively bad.

Offline Madiel

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #626 on: February 11, 2020, 01:04:46 PM »
I fail to see why a pianist admiring non-piano pieces is either dumb or a reason to dismiss their piano playing.
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #627 on: February 11, 2020, 01:06:34 PM »
I fail to see why a pianist admiring non-piano pieces is either dumb or a reason to dismiss their piano playing.

I don’t like Bavouzet’s Debussy for the afore mentioned reasons, but as for the ‘dumb’ comment, Ratliff has some explaining to do.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Madiel

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #628 on: February 11, 2020, 02:46:31 PM »
Yes I accept you don’t like his playing but what was the “no wonder I don’t like his playing” comment about?

Are you thinking that because he particularly admires a couple of non piano pieces, he must not have sufficient feeling for the piano ones? I don’t think that follows.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2020, 02:48:27 PM by Madiel »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #629 on: February 11, 2020, 04:51:25 PM »
Yes I accept you don’t like his playing but what was the “no wonder I don’t like his playing” comment about?

Are you thinking that because he particularly admires a couple of non piano pieces, he must not have sufficient feeling for the piano ones? I don’t think that follows.

I think you need to learn to take a joke, Madiel. That’s what I think.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Baron Scapia

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #630 on: February 11, 2020, 05:03:05 PM »
I fail to see why a pianist admiring non-piano pieces is either dumb or a reason to dismiss their piano playing.

My comment about what musicians say often being "dumb" was not a comment on Bavouzet or his particular statement. It reflects my experience that what musicians say about music is often not illuminating and doesn't add anything of importance to their performance of music. There are exceptions; I have always read the notes that Nikolaus Harnoncourt prepared for his own recordings with great interest. Angela Hewitt also provides very interesting notes for her recordings. But mostly I find what musicians say about the music the perform is self-serving and not too interesting.

I did google the quote that MI is referring to, and Bavouzet describes listening the Debussy's Pelleas et Melissande for the first time as a life-altering experience. He also described the process of preparing a piano transcription of Debussy's Jeux as being a deeply rewarding experience. Both generally reflect well on him, but I don't see that they have anything to do with whether I would like the way he plays Debussy on the piano.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #631 on: February 11, 2020, 08:37:55 PM »
Anyway...

What everybody’s favorite mélodies from Debussy? While works like Pelléas et Mélisande, La Mer, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, and the Préludes seem to be the works most people unfamiliar with his oeuvre know the best, I think his mélodies are breathtaking in their beauty and, especially, as he matured, demonstrated a remarkable ear for text setting. What do you guys think?
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Offline Christo

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #632 on: February 15, 2020, 02:59:09 AM »
Anyway...

What everybody’s favorite mélodies from Debussy? ... What do you guys think?

Actually these, superbly done (singing, instruments, all) by Maria Baranova, certainly among them:
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #633 on: February 15, 2020, 07:16:34 AM »
Actually these, superbly done (singing, instruments, all) by Maria Baranova, certainly among them:


I wouldn’t touch that disc with a 20 ft. pole, Christo. Those arrangements look silly to me. When I say mélodies, I meant works written with the voice and piano in mind with no other instruments.

Here’s a list of Debussy’s mélodies:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Claude_Debussy#Solo_voice_with_piano
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #634 on: February 15, 2020, 07:24:30 AM »
Someone has let me have a couple of concert recordings of Richard Goode playing both books of preludes, hammerlessly.  It's not music that I know very well, but I can tell that these are very inspired performances, I'm glad to have heard them. PM me if you want them.
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Offline Christo

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #635 on: February 15, 2020, 10:42:24 AM »
I wouldn’t touch that disc with a 20 ft. pole, Christo. Those arrangements look silly to me..

Exactly. To you:-*
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline ritter

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #636 on: February 15, 2020, 12:35:29 PM »
Actually these, superbly done (singing, instruments, all) by Maria Baranova, certainly among them:

Fascinating stuff. Can’t wait for Ms. Baranova to arrange RVW’s Fourth Symphony for soprano, ukulele and ocarina.  ::)

EDIT  (THREAD DUTY):

Like Mandryka (see below), my favourite Debussy mélodies are the Trois chansons de Bilitis. I also very much admire the Trois chansons de France (particularly the last one, Pour ce que Plaisance est morte), and the Villon settings. Among the early songs, I have a soft for La belle au bois dormant, because if its use if the Nous n’iron plus au bois quote that is a recurring theme in Debussy’s career.

Least favourite : the nasty late Noël des enfants qu n’ont plus de maison, which I find downright unpleasant and unworthy of its composer’s genius.  ::)
« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 01:51:13 PM by ritter »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #637 on: February 15, 2020, 01:12:09 PM »
Anyway...

What everybody’s favorite mélodies from Debussy? While works like Pelléas et Mélisande, La Mer, Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, and the Préludes seem to be the works most people unfamiliar with his oeuvre know the best, I think his mélodies are breathtaking in their beauty and, especially, as he matured, demonstrated a remarkable ear for text setting. What do you guys think?

Thee Bilitis Songs. I used to really like the Mallarmé settings but lately they’ve been upstaged in my house by Ravel. Basically though, every song on this CD is a great favourite

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Offline Christo

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #638 on: February 15, 2020, 01:17:37 PM »
Fascinating stuff. Can’t wait for Ms. Baranova to arrange RVW’s Fourth Symphony for soprano, ukulele and ocarina.  ::)
The ukelele will go, an ocarina though ...  >:(
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Debussy's Corner
« Reply #639 on: February 15, 2020, 07:50:52 PM »
Fascinating stuff. Can’t wait for Ms. Baranova to arrange RVW’s Fourth Symphony for soprano, ukulele and ocarina.  ::)

EDIT  (THREAD DUTY):

Like Mandryka (see below), my favourite Debussy mélodies are the Trois chansons de Bilitis. I also very much admire the Trois chansons de France (particularly the last one, Pour ce que Plaisance est morte), and the Villon settings. Among the early songs, I have a soft for La belle au bois dormant, because if its use if the Nous n’iron plus au bois quote that is a recurring theme in Debussy’s career.

Least favourite : the nasty late Noël des enfants qu n’ont plus de maison, which I find downright unpleasant and unworthy of its composer’s genius.  ::)

Nice list, Rafael. I’m a huge lover of the Trois Ballades de François Villon and Trois chansons de Bilitis. Some other favorites of mine are Cinq poèmes de Charles Baudelaire, both sets of Fêtes galantes, and Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy