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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Kullervo on December 19, 2007, 06:47:00 PM

Title: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on December 19, 2007, 06:47:00 PM
After doing a quick search I found there was no thread (:o) for this great composer who I've "rediscovered" as of late.

What are everyone's favorite pieces? What are some obscure pieces that you believe generally get short shrift?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Josquin des Prez on December 19, 2007, 07:11:23 PM
The late piano music of Debussy have been unequaled in the piano literature ever since. Discuss.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: toledobass on December 19, 2007, 09:04:45 PM
I, too, have been listening to some Debussy after some time.  I recently played Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane (I don't think it gets talked about too much).  Although I've played it before,  I was blown away yet again by what excellent music it is.  That's given me some interest in exploring his music again.

I've been listening mostly to orchestral music.  Boulez/Cleveland and Martinon's set.


Allan 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bonehelm on December 19, 2007, 09:47:37 PM
La Mer is so absorbing. The more you listen to it the more your worries and tiredom gets washed away by the octatonic waves Debussy so ingeniously creates. It just sucks you into the deep ocean and cleanses you from the inside. If you don't get this feeling you better get a better recording  ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 19, 2007, 09:51:26 PM
I love everything Debussy - even his songs - but am most drawn to his piano music. No matter what the period.

It's simply a frolicking good time. Muscular, dreamy, fragile, bold...all in a single number.

I'm not prepared to place it as a pinnacle of 20th c. piano music, though, too much good Prokofiev out there. Not to mention Ravel. But there's no denying its power.



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vandermolen on December 20, 2007, 03:09:16 AM
La Mer, The Nocturnes, Sacred and Profane Dances, Martyrdon of St Sebastien, Sunken Cathedral.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Montpellier on December 20, 2007, 03:30:31 AM
About the only work that puzzles me is Jeux.   I like the work (obviously) but I still listen to it hearing Debussy in some kind of new phase.   

Impossible to find a single favourite piece.   His work is intuitive, revolutionary, totally in command, symbolist. 

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 20, 2007, 05:37:58 AM
I, too, have been listening to some Debussy after some time.  I recently played Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane (I don't think it gets talked about too much).  Although I've played it before,  I was blown away yet again by what excellent music it is.

Yes, really a charming work, Allan.

The pieces I've spent the most time with over the past year and a half have been the late Sonatas, especially the one for flute, viola and harp, Jeux and Iberia.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on December 20, 2007, 06:16:40 AM
About the only work that puzzles me is Jeux.   I like the work (obviously) but I still listen to it hearing Debussy in some kind of new phase.   

Impossible to find a single favourite piece.   His work is intuitive, revolutionary, totally in command, symbolist. 



Love the late pieces like Jeux and En Blanc et Noir, not to mention the Etudes. I've yet to hear the sonatas, however, that will be remedied soon.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Montpellier on December 20, 2007, 07:00:11 AM
I, too, have been listening to some Debussy after some time.  I recently played Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane (I don't think it gets talked about too much).  Although I've played it before,  I was blown away yet again by what excellent music it is.  That's given me some interest in exploring his music again.

Allan 

AFAIK, that's one of the few pieces scored for a fully chromatic harp.   It's time I gave it another spin.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on December 20, 2007, 09:34:16 AM
Great name for this thread!

Gotta put in a good word for Pelléas et Mélisande!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 20, 2007, 02:33:09 PM
Great name for this thread!

Gotta put in a good word for Pelléas et Mélisande!

Absolutely.  The first time I ever heard the score was in a concert version with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Haitink, and I was hooked pretty fast.  I've now seen it twice at the Met (both with Levine conducting) and while I wouldn't mind hearing another conductor's take on it, I thought it was pretty special.  It feels quite different from any other opera I've ever seen.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ChamberNut on December 20, 2007, 06:53:52 PM
Corey, thanks for starting this thread.

Danse Sacrée et Danse Profane is also a favorite of mine.

And surprisingly no one has yet mentioned Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune.

Recently discovered his String Quartet.  Very nice!!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2007, 05:49:24 AM
And surprisingly no one has yet mentioned Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune.

Well, you know: you've heard one antique cymbal, you've heard 'em all.

j/k . . . that there's a lovely little piece from time to time.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on December 21, 2007, 05:57:56 AM
I was just looking for a biography on Debussy, without any luck. Does anyone know of an authoritative text?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: greg on December 21, 2007, 06:08:18 AM
The late piano music of Debussy have been unequaled in the piano literature ever since. Discuss.
hahaha yeah right

I'm not prepared to place it as a pinnacle of 20th c. piano music, though, too much good Prokofiev out there. Not to mention Ravel. But there's no denying its power.
this is exactly what i would've said.

La Mer, Nocturnes, Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun/Boulez- now that's the stuff!  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on December 21, 2007, 06:12:42 AM
hahaha yeah right

Why would it be laughable if it were the case? Who is to say it isn't?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Josquin des Prez on December 21, 2007, 06:15:48 AM
I am sad at the lack of respect shown towards Debussy's piano music.

 :'( <-- See? Sadness.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Brewski on December 21, 2007, 07:31:01 AM
Debussy's piano music is not only some of his best work, but some of the best writing for the instrument, period.  I've heard some great performances in the last few years, such as Pollini doing the complete Preludes, Book II (after a first half of Chopin), and Aimard mixing up some of the Etudes in his incredible recital last year called "Study of a Study," a program of 24 etudes including Messiaen, Scriabin and others.  And then in 2005, Moravec doing Pour le piano, the highlight of his program that included Janáček and Chopin. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2007, 07:41:31 AM
I am sad at the lack of respect shown towards Debussy's piano music.

Well, you were asserting that nothing since has equalled it.  You were asking for it to be knocked down a peg or three.

I love the two books of Preludes;  but I find them a more mixed affair than (e.g.) the Shostakovich Opus 87.  Stylistically, they're apples and oranges, of course; broadly speaking they are both important monuments in 20th-c. piano lit.  But I'd give Shostakovich the edge for writing with greater consistency, here.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bogey on December 21, 2007, 07:48:50 AM
I was just looking for a biography on Debussy, without any luck. Does anyone know of an authoritative text?

Try ebay Corey, I believe you will find a handful there.

http://books.search.ebay.com/debussy_Books_W0QQ_trksidZm37QQcatrefZC12QQfromZR40QQsacatZ267
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Josquin des Prez on December 21, 2007, 06:14:00 PM
Well, you were asserting that nothing since has equalled it.  You were asking for it to be knocked down a peg or three.

Hey, you don't have to blame Debussy merely because I fail at life.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2007, 06:15:48 PM
Hey, you don't have to blame Debussy merely because I fail at life.

I don't blame Debussy for not being otherwise than himself  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: techniquest on December 22, 2007, 11:41:13 PM
Did anyone see the LSO / Gergiev concert on BBC4 last Friday (21st)? They played 3 Preludes which had been orchestrated by Colin Matthews, one of which was the beautiful 'Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir’. Fascinating arrangements.
By the way (and don't shoot me for this), has anyone heard the album 'The Seduction of Claude Debussy' by The Art of Noise?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Montpellier on December 23, 2007, 12:02:57 PM
I couldn't shoot someone at this time of year. 

I'll just turn the other way...

;)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: pjme on December 23, 2007, 12:29:30 PM
Belgian composer Luc Brewaeys orchestrated the Préludes - recently- aswell. International press was very positive.

Excellent performance by the Antwerp P.O :Daniele Callegari.

(http://www.defilharmonie.be/files/covers/Debussy-Brewaeys%20-%20low%20resolution_0.jpg)


"Danse sacrée et danse profane" is indeed a magical work ( in his letters, Francis Poulenc mentions it as one of the works that brought him to classical music).

Early Debussy can be quite interesting : the pianotrio (1880!), the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra
( excellent version with Zoltan Kocsis) !

The late sonatas are exquisite .

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Montpellier on December 23, 2007, 03:35:22 PM
I'll merely register disapproval of people who "orchestrate" Debussy's Prèludes.  I met Debussy in one of the interior spiritual spaces (he and I seem to have a point chaud in common, and he was fateful, saying if he wanted them for orchestra he'd had written them for orchestra....I'll add that I'm a little inebriated but inner contacts sometime happen like that.  He suggested I did a rewrite of La Mer for electric guitar, bass and Micro-Korg,   

Last spring I was home long enough to play in our local (amateur) orch.   As usual the program needed a filler so one of the aspiring(?) arrangers ran up Clair de Lune....in Db of all keys.  I had a go about his choice of key - why not D Major because it would be vasstly simpler for most players.   He said "no, it'll sound different and out of character."  But blimey, was my retort - it's going to sound different for orchestra anyway and you might as well make it accessible to less accomplished players.   But no.  It ended up sounded more like some Penderecki in the Moonlight.   

Danse Sacré is magical, as is Jeux.   
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ephemerid on January 23, 2008, 08:00:52 PM
Oh, I adore Debussy's music-- back in the summer of 2006, I went on a crazy shopping spree & bought up at least one good recording of all his major works as well as many of his lesser known ones. 

Pelleas & Melisande, The Afternoon of a Faun, the Nocturnes, La Mer, the Preuldes all go without saying as being "must" when delving into Debussy (and there's so much more!), but I'll bring up a few lesser known ones:

The three sonatas (cello & piano / flute, viola & harp / violin & piano) are marvellous.  What a shame that his life was cut short-- these pieces (and En Blanc et Noir & Jeux) showed he was expanding his musical vocabulary in an exciting new direction. 

Danse sacree et profane is a lovely little gem.

Syrinx for solo flute is a fascinating piece.

Its really hard to go wrong with Debussy-- there's something so utterly magical about his music (when it is performed right-- Debussy is very easy to perform sloppily).

As far as recordings go, I prefer Boulez' for the orchestral works.  Zimmerman's recordings of the Preludes are gorgeous & Pollini's Etudes are spot on.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Montpellier on January 27, 2008, 03:13:02 PM
Jeux is indeed a most mysterious piece, written to a ballet libretto it had to satisfy Nijinsky, yet is never subordinate to the dance.  As his last large orchestral work it had to advance him and how!  The moves between chromatic, diatonic and modal are imperceptive unless you're looking out for them.  The work has no "main themes" unless you regard the motive that enters 2 bars after rehearsal 6 as a main theme.  If so it only appears for a few bars in the whole work.  His use of whole-tone scales occurs only in the prelude and coda (postlude?) rehearsal 81. 
 
.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: paulb on January 28, 2008, 06:49:31 AM
Have so much to say on Debussy. Towering high creative genius in 20th C music, and yet never allows us to forget that idyllic past.  Much to say, for later.........
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: scottscheule on January 28, 2008, 09:37:08 AM
I, too, find the preludes to be one of the best piano cycles of all time.  I don't (think I) agree with Karl's description of them as uneven. 

Like commenters above, Jeux mystifies me.  Or maybe it just leaves me cold.  Images, too, I can do without. 

I don't know if anyone's mentioned the Nocturnes, but Les Nuages is lovely.  La Mer has grown better and better with every listening.  La Prelude is amazing, but one does grow tired of it.

Some very good songs, too.

Debussy was my first classical love.  Of course, I tired of him--someday I'll return, I'm sure.  But even now, I have the utmost respect for his abilities.  The exotic harmonies are a big reason.  But following along the preludes, one also finds an exquisite sense of form.  He can say so much with so little--compare Mahler, who can say so much with so much.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: paulb on January 28, 2008, 10:17:26 AM
I, too, find the preludes to be one of the best piano cycles of all time.  I don't (think I) agree with Karl's description of them as uneven. 



First Book  Preludes, all masterpieces. Now the 2nd Bk, its not as consistently on that same level of creative expression found in the 1st Bk. I've noticed others  feel the same way.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ephemerid on January 28, 2008, 06:21:53 PM
First Book  Preludes, all masterpieces. Now the 2nd Bk, its not as consistently on that same level of creative expression found in the 1st Bk. I've noticed others  feel the same way.
Yes, the first book is extraordinarily good, whereas the 2nd book is not quite as remarkable (except for Brouillards, which is amazing)-- good music, but definitely not Debussy at his best.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 12, 2008, 04:10:41 PM
That's certainly a work comparable with P+M in many ways, yes. And an equally fine piece, too.

Of course, Eric has set us a very small target, however - his criterion for acceptance of a work as P+M's equal is that the work must be precisely as x, y and z as P+M. Which therefore means P+M and no other work. Which therefore means Eric can keep patting himself on that back, reassuring himself that, yes, he's right, there's nothing quite equal to  P+M. Problem is, in doing so, Eric forgets about a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i and all the other features one could find pleasurable in a piece of music.

So I could recommend pieces and composer to Eric - Takemitsu would be an obvious one. But Takemitsu, for all the extraordinary sensous refinement of his music, didn't write Pelleas et Melisande, and so therefore Eric can happily discard him.

The logic is flawless!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: greg on October 12, 2008, 04:16:20 PM
I've recommended Takemitsu as well, though I'm not sure if Eric has heard any of his stuff.
Especially sensuous are his quotations from La Mer.  0:)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 12, 2008, 04:31:04 PM
The logic is flawless!

And economical of neurological demands!  Why, the brain of a chipmunk could handle it!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 12, 2008, 08:09:41 PM
Like Bluebeard's Castle. Listen to it Eric.

Guido,

I know Bartok's opera well through the Boulez recording with Jessye Norman.

Sorry but it was a 'forgettable' work for me... And yes, I have seen it coupled with  P&M  in books and commentaries but it makes no difference to me. And the opening of  Bluebeard.... Ugh!  So "rough".   :-[ 

I was dying to go back to Debussy's incomparable prelude to Act 1 - how those divided and muted cellos, double-basses and bassoons intone that solemn and brooding theme...

Ah, such divine and exquisite romanticism...   0:)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 12, 2008, 08:11:01 PM
However, I don't think the 'exquisiteness' of Pelleas et Melisande puts it in a class apart - there are any number of works equally exquisite, equally sensitive and sensuous (if these are the sorts of adjectives that appeal to you most). Why limit yourself?

My esteemed Luke, I am afraid that here you are mistaken...  :)

Review the critical commentary on  P&M  over the past 100 years (all of the books, reviews, monographs, etc) and catalogue the number of times you see the following words:

Unique, refined, exquisite, sensitive, delicate beauty, individual harmonies, atmospheric, blended subtlety and simplicity, sophistication, grave reticence, lovely, eloquence, otherworldly, enchanting, hypnotic, sui generis.

And then compare it against Bartok's  Bluebeard Castle  (or anything by Stravinsky for that matter)

Do you see now ? There is something VERY special here and both the music scholars and general opera public have recognized this.

This is not to take away from Stravinsky's greatness as a composer but there is just no comparing the sophistication, refinement and exquisiteness found in Debussy's opera to anything by Stravinsky (or Bartok). 

And here is another review [excerpted] from Lawrence Gilman:

"This is a score rich in beauty and strangeness, yet the music has often a deceptive naïveté, a naïveté that is so extreme that it reveals itself, finally, as the quintessence of subtlety and reticence...  And it is a 'a magic orchestra'—an orchestra of indescribable richness, delicacy, and suppleness—an orchestra that melts and shimmers with opalescent hues—an orchestra that has substance without density, sonority without blatancy, refinement without thinness..."

One more point:

P&M  is not a 'modernist drama par excellence' as some perverse directors and conductors have said in recent years. .... Listen folks, it was composed in the final years of  the 19th century  -  it is a work of post-Wagnerian impressionist decadence and romanticism. 


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 12, 2008, 08:32:51 PM
One more point:

P&M  is not a 'modernist drama par excellence' as some perverse directors and conductors have said in recent years. .... Listen folks, it was composed in the final years of  the 19th century  -  it is a work of post-Wagnerian impressionist decadence and romanticism. 

No, Pink. Your vaunted Karajan is guilty of making P&M sound as if it's Parsifal's offspring but that's not what Debussy intended.

Debussy sought to move away from the Wagnerian ethos in the theater. And any good French recording will show you the modernism in it.

Further, trying to deny Debussy's place in the modernist spectrum is like denying the sun emits light. You can't win. The facts are that Debussy lead the charge straight into modernism. Deal with it.

 

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 12, 2008, 08:36:05 PM
Logic bounces off the Ardent Pelleastre like a brick off a steam ship.

We'll never win him over that way.



Sad, but true! ;D



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 12, 2008, 09:31:51 PM
One more point:

P&M  is not a 'modernist drama par excellence' as some perverse directors and conductors have said in recent years. .... Listen folks, it was composed in the final years of  the 19th century  -  it is a work of post-Wagnerian impressionist decadence and romanticism. 

And just to be clear, Pink: you've taken pains in the past to point out that there are only THREE Debussy works you consider worthy of your attention: La Mer, Faun, and P&M.

This hardly makes you an expert on Debussy's muse.

You simply can't take three works and decide you "have him all figured out". Debussy deserves much more credit than that.

If you move PAST these three works the picture of Debussy as a major lead-in to modernism is readily apparent. Actually, it's apparent in these three works, too, but I'll wager Karajan is your guide in these works which unfairly portrays Debussy in that shimmering post-Wagnerian light you so favor. Which is unfair to Debussy.

Anyway, if you REALLY loved Debussy you'd give him the benefit of an unbiased appraisal and listen with open ears to the entirety of his highly diverse output. Only then will you do true justice to a composer whose many heights stretch far beyond the romantics (including Wagner).


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 12, 2008, 11:15:33 PM
I think this is one of the most deliciously crazy posts I've ever read:

My esteemed Luke, I am afraid that here you are mistaken...  :)

Review the critical commentary on  P&M  over the past 100 years (all of the books, reviews, monographs, etc) and catalogue the number of times you see the following words:

Unique, refined, exquisite, sensitive, delicate beauty, individual harmonies, atmospheric, blended subtlety and simplicity, sophistication, grave reticence, lovely, eloquence, otherworldly, enchanting, hypnotic, sui generis.

And then compare it against Bartok's  Bluebeard Castle  (or anything by Stravinsky for that matter)

Do you see now ? There is something VERY special here and both the music scholars and general opera public have recognized this.

This is not to take away from Stravinsky's greatness as a composer but there is just no comparing the sophistication, refinement and exquisiteness found in Debussy's opera to anything by Stravinsky (or Bartok). 

And here is another review [excerpted] from Lawrence Gilman:

"This is a score rich in beauty and strangeness, yet the music has often a deceptive naïveté, a naïveté that is so extreme that it reveals itself, finally, as the quintessence of subtlety and reticence...  And it is a 'a magic orchestra'—an orchestra of indescribable richness, delicacy, and suppleness—an orchestra that melts and shimmers with opalescent hues—an orchestra that has substance without density, sonority without blatancy, refinement without thinness..."

Oh, Eric, where do we start here? With the fact that you use your lovingly collected bunch of positive critical commentary as 'proof' of anything? With your convenient discarding of all the reviews which damn Pelleas heavily? With your belief that:

Unique, refined, exquisite, sensitive, delicate beauty, individual harmonies, atmospheric, blended subtlety and simplicity, sophistication, grave reticence, lovely, eloquence, otherworldly, enchanting, hypnotic, sui generis.

are the only adjectives worth striving for?

Eric, you've fallen in love with P+M, of course, and have spent many hours delving into the literature to find the opinions of others on it. (Hence of course, all the P+M PMs you send out asking for those opinons). Nothing wrong with loving P+M - there are few works I love more myself. But your monomania has blinded you to the fact that exactly the sort of extreme swooning critical commentary you've collected and triumphantly brandished for P+M could easily be collected for Bluebeard, Le Sacre, Tapiola.... - I mention three works discussed recently which are in historical terms, in musical terms, in terms of critical reception every bit as garlanded and revered as P+M. And, to be honest, although you have your peculiar prioritising of certain adjectives  ::) , I am positive that exactly the collection you printed above

Unique, refined, exquisite, sensitive, delicate beauty, individual harmonies, atmospheric, blended subtlety and simplicity, sophistication, grave reticence, lovely, eloquence, otherworldly, enchanting, hypnotic, sui generis.

will have been applied to Bluebeard and Tapiola too. Not all of them to Le Sacre, perhaps, but its aims are elsewhere.

Attempting to set P+M apart from all others by selectively reading reviews of it (and selectively ignoring reviews of other pieces) just won't wash, then. P+M is a stand-alone work, of course, but only in the sense that Bluebeard, Tapiola, Le Sacre and many, many other pieces are equally stand-alone works, equally lauded and loved by critics and listeners alike, works about which one could just as easily and justifiably say, as you do of P+M:

Quote from: Eric the Pink
There is something VERY special here and both the music scholars and general [opera] public have recognized this.

It's just that something about P+M has grabbed you and your taste for a certain type of expression, and from this you extrapolate that P+M's stand-aloneness is of a different and better sort to the stand-aloneness of other pieces.

I love this example of your blinkered viewpoint, btw: speaking of Bluebeard, you say

Quote from: Eric the Pink
I was dying to go back to Debussy's incomparable prelude to Act 1 - how those divided and muted cellos, double-basses and bassoons intone that solemn and brooding theme...

which description, I suppose, is meant to remind us how very different P+M is from all other music. Instead it reminded me how very comparable are the openings of these two very comparable operas.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 13, 2008, 03:57:25 AM
Instead it reminded me how very comparable are the openings of these two very comparable operas.

Luke,

P&M  and  Bluebeard's Castle  are definitely not similar in aesthetic or technique.

Is that what you are saying ?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 13, 2008, 03:58:50 AM
We who are left behind with this masterpiece should do with it as we please...  P&M  only works if it is taken at a very slow and ponderous tempo while at the same time sounding as lush and superheated as possible.   

Another non sequitur. 'Do you what you want, but the only correct way is the way I say.'   ::) BTW, the approach you advocate towards P+M is an absolute turnoff to me. I adore this piece, but played the way you describe it, it would have me reaching for the off switch quickly. As you say elsewhere - correctly - P+M is a remarkably delicate work. In fact the most striking thing about it, to my mind, is the way in which Debussy makes silence, suggestion and restraint a key player in the drama. How one can wish to slow down 'superheat' this is beyond me - sounds very crass and unmusical.

The ideal recording, to me, is Desormiere - whose light and delicate but supremely expressive reading only serves to highlight the depths which fall into the silences in this work. It's not a piece which needs heavy underscoring IMO.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 13, 2008, 03:59:14 AM
Trying to deny Debussy's place in the modernist spectrum is like denying the sun emits light. You can't win. The facts are that Debussy lead the charge straight into modernism. Deal with it.

Of course he did but I don't care about that because I was referring only to  P&M  there. It is a late Romantic work and I don't care what anybody says... I love the French tradition of sweetness and gentleness.
 
No, Pink. Your vaunted Karajan is guilty of making P&M sound as if it's Parsifal's offspring but that's not what Debussy intended.

Downyn,

I don't give a damn what Debussy intended.

We who are left behind with this masterpiece should do with it as we please...  P&M  only works if it is taken at a very slow and ponderous tempo while at the same time sounding as lush and superheated as possible.   

Btw, I attended all 5 performances of  P&M  at the Metropolitan Opera back in February of 2005 under James Levine and let me tell you something.... it sounded VERY MUCH like the 1978 Karajan recording.

It was very lush and delicate and that made me so happy...  :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 13, 2008, 04:10:14 AM
Nice editing, Eric. Future generations would wonder how I managed to quote something which hadn't yet been posted, if they were ever fool enough to read this thread.  ;D


Luke,

P&M  and  Bluebeard's Castle  are definitely not similar in aesthetic or technique.

Is that what you are saying ?


Eric, I don't think you're in a position to talk about technique, especially not 'definitively' as you try to here. Not as you are explicitly not interested in knowing anything about it. But maybe you'd be interested to know that P+M and Bluebeard are manifestly very similar in technique, and in aesthetic stance too. That's why every single study on Bluebeard that I've read ends up talking about the technical and artistic links with Pelleas extensively. And I was reading two pretty lengthy and penetrating ones this morning, FWIW. The music shares all manner of technical similarities - and the aesthetic worlds of the two operas are closely intertwined. (Not surprisingly since Bluebeard is a subject taken from Maeterlinck). If I really have to I can quote extensively from all manner of people on this - as I know how much you love quotation. However, I also know you only take notice of quotation when I agrees with your prejudices, so there's probably not much point in my bothering
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 13, 2008, 04:12:49 AM
Another non sequitur. 'Do you what you want, but the only correct way is the way I say.'   ::) BTW, the approach you advocate towards P+M is an absolute turnoff to me. I adore this piece, but played the way you describe it, it would have me reaching for the off switch quickly. As you say elsewhere - correctly - P+M is a remarkably delicate work. In fact the most striking thing about it, to my mind, is the way in which Debussy makes silence, suggestion and restraint a key player in the drama. How one can wish to slow down 'superheat' this is beyond me - sounds very crass and unmusical.

The ideal recording, to me, is Desormiere - whose light and delicate but supremely expressive reading only serves to highlight the depths which fall into the silences in this work. It's not a piece which needs heavy underscoring IMO.

But Luke, I need to hear the indebtedness to Richard Wagner in practically every measure...

0:)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 13, 2008, 04:21:12 PM
I don't give a damn what Debussy intended.

We who are left behind with this masterpiece should do with it as we please...  P&M  only works if it is taken at a very slow and ponderous tempo while at the same time sounding as lush and superheated as possible.

Goodness, only works at a ponderous tempo?? Here's what Debussy himself had to say about ponderous and P&M:


Quote
"I have tried to beat out a path where others can follow by adding their own discoveries and by ridding dramatic music of the heavy constraint from which it has suffered for so long a time".

"The characters of [P&M] endeavor to sing like real persons, and not in an arbitrary language built on antiquated traditions".

So you really SHOULD give a damn about what Debussy intended because it was his life's work to make music NEW!! Strip away the old...

So those who portray P&M as a modernist masterpiece are actually adhering to Debussy's wishes, his expressed desires. Nothing "perverse" (as you put it) in that at all!!

BTW, your dates are wrong. Debussy completed P&M in 1901!! And subsequently not premiered until the bad old 20th century.



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 14, 2008, 05:16:52 PM
Goodness, only works at a ponderous tempo?? Here's what Debussy himself had to say about ponderous and P&M:

So you really SHOULD give a damn about what Debussy intended because it was his life's work to make music NEW!! Strip away the old...

So those who portray P&M as a modernist masterpiece are actually adhering to Debussy's wishes, his expressed desires. Nothing "perverse" (as you put it) in that at all!!

Downyn,

I've listened to those pre-war recordings, Desormiere, etc. and they are a great disappointment.. They're too damn 'thin', airy and fleet!

Quote
BTW, your dates are wrong. Debussy completed P&M in 1901!! And subsequently not premiered until the bad old 20th century.

Well, yes, the orchestral interludes were but the bulk of it was composed in the 1890's... Either way, the only thing that matters is how it sounds and the fact of the matter is that it's a highly sophisticated, late Romantic work, with no trace of acerbity.




Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 14, 2008, 06:00:48 PM
I've listened to those pre-war recordings, Desormiere, etc. and they are a great disappointment.. They're too damn 'thin', airy and fleet!

Which is exactly what Debussy was shooting for! Did you not read my Debussy quotes above??

Quote
Well, yes, the orchestral interludes were but the bulk of it was composed in the 1890's...

The 1890s is the point of origin for modernism.

Quote
Either way, the only thing that matters is how it sounds and the fact of the matter is that it's a highly sophisticated, late Romantic work, with no trace of acerbity.

You do understand that your whole approach to Debussy is in complete opposition to what he represents?

Yes, it may be fun to dream about a plush P&M but to do so is to miss its expressed purpose (again, see quotes above).


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 14, 2008, 06:10:58 PM
Yes, it may be fun to dream about a plush P&M but to do so is to miss its expressed purpose (again, see quotes above)

O.k... But why then did Karajan do what he did in 1978 ?

I am aware that it was a controversial recording but it has many devoted fans and it did garner one of EMI's greatest recordings of the century award.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 14, 2008, 06:21:26 PM
O.k... But why then did Karajan do what he did in 1978 ?

You'll have to put that to HvK.

Quote
I am aware that it was a controversial recording but it has many devoted fans and it did garner one of EMI's greatest recordings of the century award.

EMI's GROTC isn't an "award". It's marketing.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 14, 2008, 06:27:18 PM
You'll have to put that to HvK.

Downyn,

Still, you personally will have to concede that there are at least  some  great and unusual beauties in his recording.

Quote
EMI's GROTC isn't an "award". It's marketing

Huh.

???
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 14, 2008, 06:47:25 PM
Huh.

???

EMI's Great Recordings Of The Century (GROTC) isn't an award.

It's just a way to market recordings. Record companies do it all the time. Look at DG's "Originals" series.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 14, 2008, 06:55:33 PM
EMI's Great Recordings Of The Century (GROTC) isn't an award.

It's just a way to market recordings. Record companies do it all the time. Look at DG's "Originals" series.

O.k.

But are you saying that there is nothing worthwhile to hear or beautiful in the Karajan recording ?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 14, 2008, 07:10:24 PM
Pink, do you have any thoughts on world hunger??


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 05:39:21 AM
Or any of a number of topics, Eric, absolutely irrelevant to Prokofiev or Stravinsky?

Legumes

Reusable bags

Hybrid vehicles

Sugar substitutes

Crinkle-cut fries

Microwaves

The taxation of apparel

The Estonian-Latvian border

Salinity of the Bay of Bothnia

Elgar

Your favorite ice cream

How so very very much you luuuuuuv Debussy's opera

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 07:20:55 AM
I, too, find the preludes to be one of the best piano cycles of all time.  I don't (think I) agree with Karl's description of them as uneven.

I don't think I described them as uneven;  probably I reported hearing others so describe them, but it is not a description I endorse.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 07:25:09 AM
Gosh, all it took was a judicious mod pulling the off-topic Debussy dross from the Prokofiev Vs. Stravinsky thread, and this thread doubles in volume!

A couple of nights ago I revisited both Jeux and the Images pour orchestre (Martinon/ORTF National Orchestra) . . . absolutely wonderful, and Debussy at the top of his form.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Brewski on October 15, 2008, 07:29:51 AM
Gosh, all it took was a judicious mod pulling the off-topic Debussy dross from the Prokofiev Vs. Stravinsky thread, and this thread doubles in volume!

 ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 10:38:17 AM
A couple of nights ago I revisited both Jeux and the Images pour orchestre (Martinon/ORTF National Orchestra) . . . absolutely wonderful, and Debussy at the top of his form.

I execrate  Jeux.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on October 15, 2008, 10:50:14 AM
Anyone seen that Johnny Depp movie Trepidation and Execration in Las Vegas?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 10:52:29 AM
I execrate  Jeux.

No matter, Eric;  it only reflects your musical shortcomings.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 10:56:59 AM
No matter, Eric;  it only reflects your musical shortcomings.

"One cannot but note the manner in which it abhors and shuns the easily achieved, the facile, the expected. Its colors and designs are rare and far-sought and most heedfully contrived; its eloquence is never unrestrained; and this hatred of the obvious is as plainly sincere as it is passionate and uncompromising; it is not the fastidiousness of a précieux, but of an extravagantly scrupulous and austerely exacting artist..."

That was Lawrence Gilman writing on  P&M.

It's too bad that it can't be applied to  Jeux


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 10:58:49 AM
"One cannot but note the manner in which it abhors and shuns the easily achieved, the facile, the expected. Its colors and designs are rare and far-sought and most heedfully contrived; its eloquence is never unrestrained; and this hatred of the obvious is as plainly sincere as it is passionate and uncompromising; it is not the fastidiousness of a précieux, but of an extravagantly scrupulous and austerely exacting artist..."

That was Lawrence Gilman writing on  P&M.

It's too bad that it can't be applied to  Jeux.

But you really are dense, Eric.  For every syllable of that paragraph applies to Jeux, as well.

Your personal preferences do not map onto universal aesthetics, Eric.  Get. Over. It.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:00:53 AM
If anything, Debussy applies yet more the principle of "hatred of the obvious" in Jeux than he had done in Pelléas.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:08:43 AM
In The Guardian, 23 February 2001:

Quote from: Andrew Clements
The poème dansé that is arguably Debussy's supreme achievement, and certainly his greatest orchestral work, was written in the astonishingly short period of three weeks in August 1912, though the premiere, danced by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, did not take place until the following May. Perhaps it was the very speed of composition that allowed Debussy's musical thoughts freer than usual rein, and gave an intuitive shape to the piece that came to closer than ever before to the ideal of free musical association to which so much of his mature music aspires.

Even an "impressionist" masterpiece such as La Mer has a strong symphonic framework to bolster its evocative imagery, but Jeux is sustained on a web of tenuously connected ideas in which one motif seems to spawn the next, so that nothing ever returns in identical fashion. The scenario to which it was originally danced seems almost irrelevant nowadays. "There is a park, a tennis court; there is a chance meeting of two girls and a young man seeking a lost ball; a nocturnal landscape, and a suggestion of something sinister in the darkening shadows" - that was how Debussy described it in a letter to the Paris newspaper Le Matin. But it was the fact that the score seem to score defy rigorous analysis that raised into a modernist icon for the post-Webern generation of serialists, who pored over the subtle interrelations of its themes and the ambiguity of its overall form, clothed in ever-changing orchestral colours.

Jeux has never been as popular in the concert hall and on disc as La Mer and Debussy's orchestral Images . . . .

"Arguably Debussy's supreme achievement," is Jeux.  And he calls Jeux "certainly his greatest orchestral work," greater even than La mer.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:10:32 AM
Quote from: Emile Vuillermoz on Jeux
This supple music is extraordinarily nimble, always ready for sudden movements. It is constantly on the alert like the tennis players it describes. Every few bars its movement and color change. It quickly abandons a design, a timbre, an impulse, and rushes off in another direction. Presently, the melody is returned with a skilful back-hand stroke; the theme, dexterously taken, is sent to and fro in volleys or half-volleys, now stopped short in its course, now taken on the rebound like a cut ball.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 11:10:47 AM
But you really are dense, Eric.  For every syllable of that paragraph applies to Jeux, as well.

Your personal preferences do not map onto universal aesthetics, Eric.  Get. Over. It.

Jeux  sounds very contrived; it is hard-edged and unsensuous. There is no magic there.

But it doesn't really matter because the gods of music gave us plentiful enchantment in works like Faun, Pelleas and La Mer.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:13:15 AM
Quote from: Peter Laki
Another unusual idea of Debussy's concerning Jeux had even wider ramifications for the future of music: "I would like to make something inorganic in appearance and yet well-ordered at its core." In fact, it has been shown that there are subtle patterns of recurring orchestral timbres, motifs, and tempos throughout the score, following the action of the ballet, and providing threads of continuity in a musical texture often characterized by discontinuity.

Interestingly, Jeux - Debussy's last completed orchestral score - remained relatively unknown for decades after it was written. It didn't start to attract widespread attention until the 1950s, when its innovative musical ideas - those on continuity and discontinuity, among others - came to be better understood. It seems that the portrait of "the man of 1913" may indeed be found in Jeux, but he lives in Debussy's music rather than in Nijinsky's banal story. Jeux survives today almost exclusively as a concert piece, and as such, it is both one of Debussy's most exciting works and one of the great scores written for Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes.

"[ S]omething inorganic in appearance and yet well-ordered at its core."  A large part of the magic of Jeux, IMO.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:15:46 AM
Sorry, Eric;  there's ample magic in Jeux.  Nor do I find even a single "contrived" note in it.  No "hard edges";  no lack of sensuous timbre.  These are just your catch-phrases to try to dismiss music that you don't like, and probably do not understand.

Sorry you can't taste the magic;  it is for taste-buds more refined than yours, perhaps  ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:19:43 AM
Quote from: Bill Rosen
Jeux is Debussy's final and most neglected orchestral masterpiece. One reason for the neglect is that this Mt. Everest of musical abstraction was actually presented as a Diaghilev ballet (1913) with a trivial wisp of a story involving two female tennis players vying for the same male, where the fall of the tennis balls signal the key points in the structure. The second reason is that this music is profoundly new, a far advance beyond La Mer and Images. It is a subtle, interconnected web of musical tissue with motives appearing, developing and transforming without borders or boundaries, always coruscatingly beautiful.

"Always coruscatingly beautiful," Eric.  Mr Rosen is alive to the piece's constantly fresh beauties.  And he understands Jeux better who speaks of its "subtle, interconnected web of musical tissue" than whoever it was thought there were "hard edges" in the piece.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 11:22:06 AM
In The Guardian, 23 February 2001:

"Arguably Debussy's supreme achievement," is Jeux.  And he calls Jeux "certainly his greatest orchestral work," greater even than La mer.

How can that be ?     ???

Putting aside its more complex structure, etc..

Can you honestly say that  Jeux  is intensely beautiful ?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:23:22 AM
Can you honestly say that  Jeux  is intensely beautiful ?

You don't listen, do you, Eric?  I have said that, honestly and repeatedly.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:24:54 AM
Put it this way, Eric.  I can listen to Jeux every day for two weeks straight.  Its delights are never-failing.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 11:27:22 AM
You don't listen, do you, Eric?  I have said that, honestly and repeatedly.

One of the great mysteries to me is how anyone could prefer the unromantic  Jeux  over the delicately-structured, enchanting and otherworldly opera.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 11:31:10 AM
One of the great mysteries to me is how anyone could prefer the unromantic  Jeux  over the delicately-structured and magical, otherworldly opera.

Your talk always chases its own tail, EricJeux is no more "unromantic" than the pieces you prefer.  Jeux is, if anything, more delicately-structured than the pieces you prefer;  and a great many of the people who appreciate Jeux apply the terms magical & otherworldly to it.

The mystery boils down, not to these traits, Eric, but to your liking some pieces, and somehow not liking (say) Jeux.  Doesn't mean that Jeux is at all "deficient";  just means that you don't like/understand it.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 11:38:41 AM
Jeux is no more "unromantic" than the pieces you prefer.

Really ?

But it sounds much more austere and rigorously formed.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Joe_Campbell on October 15, 2008, 11:42:01 AM
Really ?

But it sounds much more austere and rigorously formed.

But according to you, it shouldn't matter how it's formed. The sole basis for critique is how it makes the listener feel. Clearly, it makes Karl feel quite nicely!

BTW, what's with this thread? I see a mishmash of quotes of text I haven't seen posted, and responses to things not even written. ???
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 12:07:39 PM
But according to you, it shouldn't matter how it's formed. The sole basis for critique is how it makes the listener feel. Clearly, it makes Karl feel quite nicely!

BTW, what's with this thread? I see a mishmash of quotes of text I haven't seen posted, and responses to things not even written. ???

JCampbell,

I just think it's a shame when Karl wrote the following about  P&M:

"I continually marvel at the slow pace, tedium, monochrome wash, somnolence, indistinct rhythm, and sustained boredom in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande..."

****

Sad to read this about such an immensely sophisticated and great masterwork.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Wendell_E on October 15, 2008, 12:25:27 PM
BTW, what's with this thread? I see a mishmash of quotes of text I haven't seen posted, and responses to things not even written. ???

Some of these posts were originally an off-topic tangent in the "Prokofiev vs. Stravinsky" thread, but a moderator was good enough put 'em in here.  For which I would like to add my thanks.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 12:45:50 PM
"I continually marvel at the slow pace, tedium, monochrome wash, somnolence, indistinct rhythm, and sustained boredom in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande..."

Why, Eric, don't you see the hommage in that post's subtly refined phrasing?

I just think it's a shame that you are incapable of enjoying Pelléas, or La mer, or Faune, without the need to trash other pieces by Debussy, pieces which in fact are just as romantic, just as sensitive, just as magical, just as refined, just as otherworldly, just as masterly (and in some respects, more so) than the ones which enjoy your especial favor.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 15, 2008, 12:51:07 PM
But  Jeux  is much more austere and 'modern'.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on October 15, 2008, 12:53:13 PM
But  Jeux  is much more austere and 'modern'.

I think Jeux is very lighthearted and joyful. But then, my favorite piece by Debussy is En Blanc et Noir — you probably "execrate" that as well.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 15, 2008, 12:54:38 PM
But  Jeux  is much more austere and 'modern'.

Eric, you're just slinging adjectives.  There are 200 pieces which come to my mind in response to the word austere, way ahead of Jeux.

Jeux is arguably Debussy's chef-d'oeuvre, and entirely characteristic of him.

I think Jeux is very lighthearted and joyful.

It is, indeed.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 06:06:25 AM
. . . my favorite piece by Debussy is En Blanc et Noir . . . .

A piece which (I blush to say) I haven't gotten around to listening to, yet!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: jowcol on October 16, 2008, 10:01:00 AM
I might as well weigh in on another of my favorite composers here. 

First, I was drawn to him because he championed the work of Mussorgsky, my first real musical hero.  There is a great quote of his about Mussorgsky (that I haven't yet found on line) that reduces me to tears each time I read it.


Although I tend to go for orchestral music, I still think that Debussy's solo piano music is his greatest work.  In the best of his Preludes, it's like he managed to erase 300 years of keyboard tradition form his mind and approach the piano as a completely new instrument.  I don't like all of the preludes equally-- but that may be my problem, not his.  Actually, I may have more faves in Book II.  The ones the kill me the most are:

Book 1
Voiles (Veils or sails): Modéré
Des pas sur la neige (Footsteps in the Snow): Triste et lent  Wonderfully dark and tense.  That last chord is so SICK!
La cathédrale engloutie (The Engulfed Cathedral): Profondément calme  I don't even know where to start.

Book 2
Brouillards (Mists): Modéré
Feuilles mortes (Dead Leaves): Lent et mélancolique
La Puerta del Vino (The Wine Gate): Mouvement de Habanera -- This is relentless.  Some of the most powerful stuff he's done.
Canope (Canopic jar): Très calme et doucement triste --  This may now be my favorite. The opening chords  sound a bit like some of Mussorgsky's late piano works (The Tear, The Village), but he tosses in some very "random" elements, and the ending is overwhelming.

For other piano works, Hommage a Rammeau has the killer lick in the first two minutes-- the best Debussy sound bite I know.

I have a two-piano arrangement of Nocturnes I like- particularly the first movement that Debussy wanted to be completely monochromatic.

Danse Sacree and Danse Profane-- I love them.   Particularly the Profane, but then again, I like anything profane! >:D


Orchestral stuff:
Something may be wrong with me-- but I only like parts of La Mer-- I find the Nocturnes much more enjoyable and consistent from end to end.  Jeux is fine by be-- a bit more mysterious than some.  The Romance for Soprano Sax deserves more attention.  Children's Corner is nice-- hard to turn down Golliwog's Cakewalk.

Faun is good-- there's others I love more.

It's funny-- I've found the Ravel String Quartet that usally gets bundled with the Debussy quartet sounds more like Debussy than the Debussy one.

I won't comment on P&M, or the previous thread on that, except to say I don't know how one can assume any real meaning to adjectives describing music beyond describing one's subjective reaction.  I call Albinoni's Adagio a beautifully moving work, and one of my best friends called it a dull, depression dirge.  Who was right?   If I find a reviewer that agrees with me, what does that provide?  If you want to talk about the contents of the score in terms of musical notation (use of whole tone, pentatonic, etc) , you can prove something, but adjectives aren't provable.  Some people find hip-hop as "dreamy".  Who am I to correct them?  It's like the 6 blind men arguing over what is an elephant where they are all touching a different part.


wjp
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 10:11:45 AM
I might as well weigh in on another of my favorite composers here [. . . .]

Thanks for posting! Very interesting, all of it.

When I scare up En blanc et noir, I will be sure to check out the 2-piano Nocturnes.  These were actually the first Debussy pieces I got to know well;  we played Nuages & Fêtes in an all-state orchestra when I was in high school.

I was leafing through a bio of Debussy last night, which seriously whetted my interest in Khamma. Anyone know it?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Brewski on October 16, 2008, 10:27:28 AM
I was leafing through a bio of Debussy last night, which seriously whetted my interest in Khamma. Anyone know it?

I have it on this CD, which I bought primarily for Ravel's Daphnis.  Haven't listened to Khamma in awhile but I recall liking it. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: jowcol on October 16, 2008, 10:31:33 AM
Thanks for posting! Very interesting, all of it.

When I scare up En blanc et noir, I will be sure to check out the 2-piano Nocturnes.  These were actually the first Debussy pieces I got to know well;  we played Nuages & Fêtes in an all-state orchestra when I was in high school.

I was leafing through a bio of Debussy last night, which seriously whetted my interest in Khamma. Anyone know it?

I have it on this collection here:   http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Orchestral-Works-II/dp/B000HWZANI

I must admit that I may need to go back to it.  It didn't really grab me at first, and I was interested in the eastern spin it had.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 10:40:27 AM
I have it on this collection here:   http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Orchestral-Works-II/dp/B000HWZANI

I've got the Vol I of that (in fact, listening to Jeux on that very two-fer as we speak) . . . so Vol II may be in my near future.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: jowcol on October 16, 2008, 11:21:33 AM
Vol II is nice because it has a lot of the rarer material.  The Antique Toybox was my favorite as I recalled. 
None of these rarities really stunned me-- but it's always nice to have more Debussy....
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 11:23:13 AM
Hi Jowcol,

Thanks for sharing...  :)

Something may be wrong with me-- but I only like parts of La Mer

I understand this... Even though I love the entire piece, the first movement - From Dawn To Midday At The Sea - is  really superb  and could stand independently as far as I'm concerned. I consider it his finest achievement for orchestra.

Quote
Faun is good-- there's others I love more.

Merely good ?   :'(   But it's one of the landmarks of Western music and a turning point in the history of aesthetics.

Quote
I won't comment on P&M, or the previous thread on that, except to say I don't know how one can assume any real meaning to adjectives describing music beyond describing one's subjective reaction.  I call Albinoni's Adagio a beautifully moving work, and one of my best friends called it a dull, depression dirge. 

Who was right?   

If I find a reviewer that agrees with me, what does that provide?  If you want to talk about the contents of the score in terms of musical notation (use of whole tone, pentatonic, etc) , you can prove something, but adjectives aren't provable. 

You are right here of course and I can't argue with this but I'd still like to hear your opinions of it.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 11:33:06 AM
 But it's one of the landmarks of Western music and a turning point in the history of aesthetics.

From what to what in your eyes, and don't you see that change as a bad thing?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 11:44:53 AM
From what to what in your eyes, and don't you see that change as a bad thing?

But how ?

It was change that brought forth a masterwork of delicate potency and pastoral beauty.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 11:49:17 AM
I'm asking you to characterise what your conception of what the aesthetic turning point was - i.e. from what (preceeding) to what (following).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 11:49:54 AM
Also what are your thoughts on the exquisite cello sonata?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 12:12:07 PM
I'm asking you to characterise what your conception of what the aesthetic turning point was - i.e. from what (preceeding) to what (following).

From the supremacy of Wagner to the 'quiet' revolution.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 12:23:49 PM
What is that in musical terms? I seriously don't know what you mean. From Wagner's loud operas to a quiet movement of composers? Morton Feldman and the like? I just don't know what you think it heralds when you talk about it as a revolution. (Though I know what I think it heralds and signifies). Quietness in music?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 16, 2008, 12:50:16 PM
Thanks for posting! Very interesting, all of it.

When I scare up En blanc et noir, I will be sure to check out the 2-piano Nocturnes.  These were actually the first Debussy pieces I got to know well;  we played Nuages & Fêtes in an all-state orchestra when I was in high school.


Karl, this cheap two-fer is an absolute winner for Debussy and Ravel duets - it's got everything on it, including some pretty obscure treasures (and not a harmonic in sight  0:) ). Debussy's four hand output is of major importance in his oeuvre as a whole. En blanc et noir is late, great Debussy at his best - and as we're otherwise left with only the Etudes, the three sonatas and a couple of odd scraps, the importance of this set can't be over-estimated; the Epigraphs Antiques are simply exquisite - evidently the composer of the faun, but older and even more seismically sensitive (I have fond memories of playing these at university with Huw Watkins). Even the early Petite Suite has a lot going for it. And the Ravel - Ma Mere l'Oye in its original pristine form (as played ay our wedding, with aforementioned Huw taking the primo part); rarities like Frontispiece (for 5 hands!) and Entre-cloches; duet versions of La Valse and the Rhapsodie Espagnole.... And I haven't listed everything. The two piano Debussy Nocturnes in Ravel's arrangement is here too, in fact.

Might be tonight's listening, in fact.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BT2XHT1GL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 12:53:03 PM
What is that in musical terms? I seriously don't know what you mean. From Wagner's loud operas to a quiet movement of composers? Morton Feldman and the like? I just don't know what you think it heralds when you talk about it as a revolution. (Though I know what I think it heralds and signifies). Quietness in music?

And neither do I to be honest with you...  ???

I think it's a revolution because of its new harmonies (timbres) and the prominence that Debussy gave to the woodwinds... This is what comes to mind first.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: pjme on October 16, 2008, 01:16:00 PM
Khamma (1910) isn't top drawer Debussy like Jeux ( absolutely wonderful, subtle,enigmatic).
Khamma ( "ballet Egyptien") is partly orchestrated by Charles Koechlin .

In a litle book on Koechlin (Carrés Musiques/Séguier-Atlantica 2001) one can read :

( I translate freely): Debussy had financial problems and he accepted a commission by the British dancer Maud Allan. The argument, by mrs.Allan and W.L.Courtney, tells the story of Khamma , a young woman who sacrifices herself .The city is besieged and Khamma dances for Amon Râ, hoping that he will help the people. Her dance becomes so extatic that she dies suddenly, in front of Amon Râ's statue....
The work on Khamma is slowed down since Debussy is working on Le martyre de Saint Sébastien. By 1912 however, the score is almost complete and Debussy is really satisfied. Then a violent argument breaks out between Debussy and Maud Allan. She is not happy at all ( after seeing the pianoscore), wants many changes and threatens to give the commission to someone else. Debussy is deeply offended and refuses to finish the scoring. . Jacques Durand, Debussy's editor tries to mend the problems.He presents a young composer, pupil of Fauré, to finish the job : Charles Koechlin. Koechlin did similar work on Saint Saen's "Lola" ...
Koechlin finishes the orchestration,supervised by Debussy and "in friendship".
Koechlin :"Every week I went to show Debussy my sketches. We talked little - only about the orchestration. He was really satisfied with my work but warned me that performing Khamma would be very difficult.
Koechlin worked from december 1912 till the end of January 1913. But the ballet wasn't premiered till november 1924 ( Orchestre Colonne/Gabriel Pierné)
Koechlin is very enthusiastic about the score :" It is often very vigorous, but contains many moments of Debussy's inimitable charm. He finds influence of Stravinsky's Petrushka in it :" It is darker, some chords are almost bitonal.There is dissonance , loud gong strokes, the frenetical character of the last dance - it forshadowes the violent primitivism of Le sacre...".
Koechlin: "Very somber colors, low registers, the orchestral piano, divisi strings...it all strives for "une effrayante obscurité" -a menacing darkness.
Debussy : Nothing is more difficult than to look for transparence in dark nuances....


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/81/243177375_b04aad1f4c.jpg?v=0)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 16, 2008, 01:20:09 PM
You're welcome - it's available for about £5 at Amazon UK at the moment...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 02:33:20 PM
And neither do I too be honest with you...  ???

I think it's a revolution because of its new harmonies (timbres) and the prominence that Debussy gave to the woodwinds... This is what comes to mind first.

Really that's it? That's why you're always harping on about why it's such an inredible revolution? Hmm...

Again, what do you think of that incredible masterpiece - the cello sonata?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 03:33:19 PM
Karl, this cheap two-fer is an absolute winner for Debussy and Ravel duets - it's got everything on it, including some pretty obscure treasures (and not a harmonic in sight  0:) ). Debussy's four hand output is of major importance in his oeuvre as a whole. En blanc et noir is late, great Debussy at his best - and as we're otherwise left with only the Etudes, the three sonatas and a couple of odd scraps, the importance of this set can't be over-estimated; the Epigraphs Antiques are simply exquisite - evidently the composer of the faun, but older and even more seismically sensitive (I have fond memories of playing these at university with Huw Watkins). Even the early Petite Suite has a lot going for it. And the Ravel - Ma Mere l'Oye in its original pristine form (as played ay our wedding, with aforementioned Huw taking the primo part); rarities like Frontispiece (for 5 hands!) and Entre-cloches; duet versions of La Valse and the Rhapsodie Espagnole.... And I haven't listed everything. The two piano Debussy Nocturnes in Ravel's arrangement is here too, in fact.

Might be tonight's listening, in fact.


*ordered* along with the complete piano music and a two-fer of orchestral works...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 03:47:15 PM
Really that's it? That's why you're always harping on about why it's such an inredible revolution? Hmm...

Guido,

O.k. so  maybe the  Faun  was not that innovative after all...  ???

Why then do scholars place it alongside other seminal works like Monteverdi's  Orfeo, Beethoven's  Eroica  and  Wagner's  Tristan ?

Didn't the flute of the faun 'bring new breath to the art of music', as Boulez said.

He goes on:

The Prelude gave wings to a supple, mobile expressiveness, demanding a technique of perfect instantaneous adequacy. Its use of timbres seemed essentially new, of exceptional delicacy and assurance in touch; the use of certain instruments - flute, horn and harp - showed the characteristic principles of the manner in which Debussy would employ them in later works. The writing for woodwinds and brasses, incomparably light-handed performed a miracle of proportion, balance and transparency. The potential of youth possessed by this score defies exhaustion and decrepitude....."

Either way it makes no difference to me what the scholars and commentators say because the only thing that matters is how it sounds and how it makes me feel.

Quote
Again, what do you think of that incredible masterpiece - the cello sonata?

I've never heard it but I will start listening to it this weekend.   
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 16, 2008, 03:53:34 PM
Guido,

O.k. so  maybe the  Faun  was not that innovative after all...  ???

Why then do scholars place it alongside other seminal works like Monteverdi's  Orfeo, Beethoven's  Eroica  and  Wagner's  Tristan ?

Didn't the flute of the faun 'bring new breath to the art of music', as Boulez said.


etc.

Eric, I don't think Guido or anyone else is arguing against the significance of the piece - it's often cited as one possible symbol of the beginning of musical modernism, or of the true beginning of the musical 20th century, or as both. (Though why an anti-modernist like you should wish for it to be in that position eludes me). I think Guido simply wanted a little musical elucidation of what you mean by 'quiet revolution' and, when you gave it, was surprised to see - as I was - that it didn't really amount to much. The Faun is a major piece, but not becuase of its woodwind writing, wonderful and even 'new' though that often is.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 04:08:35 PM
etc.

Eric, I don't think Guido or anyone else is arguing against the significance of the piece - it's often cited as one possible symbol of the beginning of musical modernism, or of the true beginning of the musical 20th century, or as both. (Though why an anti-modernist like you should wish for it to be in that position eludes me). I think Guido simply wanted a little musical elucidation of what you mean by 'quiet revolution' and, when you gave it, was surprised to see - as I was - that it didn't really amount to much. The Faun is a major piece, but not becuase of its woodwind writing, wonderful and even 'new' though that often is.

Luke,

You're absolutely right...  Why the heck am I trying to cite passages which speak of it as a doorway to 20th century music... There must be something in my apple juice this evening...  :-[

It really did stand by itself and pointed vaguely at what the future might turn out to be. I like the idea of it having been largely consigned to the status of dreamy exoticism and cuddly charm.

 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 16, 2008, 04:13:34 PM
etc.

Eric, I don't think Guido or anyone else is arguing against the significance of the piece - it's often cited as one possible symbol of the beginning of musical modernism, or of the true beginning of the musical 20th century, or as both. (Though why an anti-modernist like you should wish for it to be in that position eludes me). I think Guido simply wanted a little musical elucidation of what you mean by 'quiet revolution' and, when you gave it, was surprised to see - as I was - that it didn't really amount to much. The Faun is a major piece, but not becuase of its woodwind writing, wonderful and even 'new' though that often is.

Yes this is exactly what I meant. Just as Luke said, paraphrasing athousand commentator's before him, it is usually considered one of the first Modern works - a revolution against the past in some way - as Boulez was saying. I was just surprised that you kept talking about it as revolutionary (as if you thought that was a good thing), when you then dismiss any and all modernism which it inspired (including the majority of Debussy's own later music!) Revolution suggests rejection of the past, not an adding of subtlety, or whatever you think this piece has that is lacking in all other music - but 'quiet revolution' just appears to be an empty phrase that has no meaning.

Look forward to the cello sonata - it's an absolute gem. Try and listen with open ears.

EDIT: I see you have replied. I don't think you're going to find anything that doesn't say that it in some way opened the door to early 20th century musical Modernism. To use your own example as a parallel, it's like saying that you don't think that the Eroica opened the door to Romanticism and 19th century music.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 04:20:32 PM
Karl, this cheap two-fer is an absolute winner for Debussy and Ravel duets - it's got everything on it, including some pretty obscure treasures (and not a harmonic in sight  0:) ). Debussy's four hand output is of major importance in his oeuvre as a whole. En blanc et noir is late, great Debussy at his best - and as we're otherwise left with only the Etudes, the three sonatas and a couple of odd scraps, the importance of this set can't be over-estimated; the Epigraphs Antiques are simply exquisite - evidently the composer of the faun, but older and even more seismically sensitive (I have fond memories of playing these at university with Huw Watkins). Even the early Petite Suite has a lot going for it. And the Ravel - Ma Mere l'Oye in its original pristine form (as played ay our wedding, with aforementioned Huw taking the primo part); rarities like Frontispiece (for 5 hands!) and Entre-cloches; duet versions of La Valse and the Rhapsodie Espagnole.... And I haven't listed everything. The two piano Debussy Nocturnes in Ravel's arrangement is here too, in fact.

Might be tonight's listening, in fact.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BT2XHT1GL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Thanks, Luke;  that did catch my eye . . . wonder if they've got it at Borders . . . .
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 04:22:14 PM
Khamma (1910) isn't top drawer Debussy like Jeux ( absolutely wonderful, subtle,enigmatic).
Khamma ( "ballet Egyptien") is partly orchestrated by Charles Koechlin .

In a litle book on Koechlin (Carrés Musiques/Séguier-Atlantica 2001) one can read :

( I translate freely): Debussy had financial problems and he accepted a commission by the British dancer Maud Allan. The argument, by mrs.Allan and W.L.Courtney, tells the story of Khamma , a young woman who sacrifices herself .The city is besieged and Khamma dances for Amon Râ, hoping that he will help the people. Her dance becomes so extatic that she dies suddenly, in front of Amon Râ's statue....
The work on Khamma is slowed down since Debussy is working on Le martyre de Saint Sébastien. By 1912 however, the score is almost complete and Debussy is really satisfied. Then a violent argument breaks out between Debussy and Maud Allan. She is not happy at all ( after seeing the pianoscore), wants many changes and threatens to give the commission to someone else. Debussy is deeply offended and refuses to finish the scoring. . Jacques Durand, Debussy's editor tries to mend the problems.He presents a young composer, pupil of Fauré, to finish the job : Charles Koechlin. Koechlin did similar work on Saint Saen's "Lola" ...
Koechlin finishes the orchestration,supervised by Debussy and "in friendship".
Koechlin :"Every week I went to show Debussy my sketches. We talked little - only about the orchestration. He was really satisfied with my work but warned me that performing Khamma would be very difficult.
Koechlin worked from december 1912 till the end of January 1913. But the ballet wasn't premiered till november 1924 ( Orchestre Colonne/Gabriel Pierné)
Koechlin is very enthusiastic about the score :" It is often very vigorous, but contains many moments of Debussy's inimitable charm. He finds influence of Stravinsky's Petrushka in it :" It is darker, some chords are almost bitonal.There is dissonance , loud gong strokes, the frenetical character of the last dance - it forshadowes the violent primitivism of Le sacre...".
Koechlin: "Very somber colors, low registers, the orchestral piano, divisi strings...it all strives for "une effrayante obscurité" -a menacing darkness.
Debussy : Nothing is more difficult than to look for transparence in dark nuances....


(http://farm1.static.flickr.com/81/243177375_b04aad1f4c.jpg?v=0)



Merci beaucoups!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 04:26:54 PM
Look forward to the cello sonata - it's an absolute gem. Try and listen with open ears.

Yes.

EDIT: I see you have replied. I don't think you're going to find anything that doesn't say that it in some way opened the door to early 20th century musical Modernism.

Yes, I have no problem acknowledging that in a  small  way it did open the door to musical Modernism.

Well now that we've got the  Faun  pretty much settled we are now left with the real biggie:

Do you consider Pelléas et Melisande, begun in the early 1890's and finished in 1902, the firstborn of a new century or the final exquisite rendering of the Wagnerian age ?


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 16, 2008, 05:48:52 PM
Yes, I have no problem acknowledging that in a  small  way it did open the door to musical Modernism.

Well now that we've got the  Faun  pretty much settled we are now left with the real biggie:

No, it's not settled, not by a long shot. Faun, in a CONSIDERABLE way opened the door to musical modernism.

Quote
Do you consider Pelléas et Melisande, begun in the early 1890's and finished in 1902, the firstborn of a new century or the final exquisite rendering of the Wagnerian age ?

It is what Debussy intended it to be - which I've taken pains to spell out for you already in Debussy's own words (see my previous posts).

IOW, P&M isn't the final flowering of Wagnerism. It is a reaction AGAINST Wagnerism and an attempt to introduce a new (modern) age. Just as Faun had been.



 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 06:30:41 PM
Donwyn,

Quote
P&M isn't the final flowering of Wagnerism

My ears say YES it is though in its own delicate and wonderfully eccentric way.

Quote
It is a reaction AGAINST Wagnerism and an attempt to introduce a new (modern) age. Just as Faun had been.

No,  Jeux  is a genuine reaction against Wagnerism.

I do not see  P&M  as a dawn, but as a sunset (like Debussy said of Wagner...)  Poetic sensitivity and refinement of this order is always a very, very late phenomenon.

In short, P&M  ends the 19th century.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 16, 2008, 06:41:06 PM
Donwyn,

My ears say YES it is though in its own delicate and wonderfully eccentric way.

No,  Jeux  is a genuine reaction against Wagnerism.

I do not see  P&M  as a dawn, but as a sunset (like Debussy said of Wagner...)  Poetic sensitivity and refinement of this order is always a very, very late phenomenon.

In short, P&M  ends the 19th century.

Bunk.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 07:12:01 PM
Donwyn,

Bunk.

It is not bunk.

Do you have any idea of my reverence for Debussy's opera ?

P&M  extracts so many techniques of harmony and orchestration from Wagner... I personally see it as the opera that takes  Parsifal  to  undreamt  levels of poetic sensitivity. Or at times it could be seen as the coolest, subtlest and most understated  Tristan  imaginable.

What it boils down to is:  P&M  exorcises Wagner and follows on from Wagner, while being UTTERLY Debussyan.

Bartok's  Bluebeard Castle ? ... Now there's a work firmly in the 20th century, presaging Expressionism.

And Wozzeck ? ... It is so dissimilar to  P&M  it needs no comment.

P&M  is a uniquely exquisite, late Romantic work. Modernism would have gone its own way without it just the same.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 16, 2008, 07:30:05 PM
It is not bunk.

Pink, read my signature.

THAT'S Debussy.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 16, 2008, 07:32:02 PM
Pink, read my signature.

THAT'S Debussy.

Exactly!   And  P&M  overflows with finesse and nuance...  0:)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 08:02:19 PM
It is not bunk.

Do you have any idea of my reverence for Debussy's opera ?

It is bunk, Eric, and your irrational reverence is feeding the bunk.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 16, 2008, 08:03:22 PM
Exactly!   And  P&M  overflows with finesse and nuance...  0:)

As do Jeux, the Cello Sonata, the Sonata for Flute, Viola & Harp, &c. &c. &c.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 16, 2008, 09:21:34 PM
Exactly!   And  P&M  overflows with finesse and nuance...

...and intelligence. (Read the whole thing).

The true implications of the ENTIRE quote are that to Debussy finesse and nuance are the perfect tools to counter Wagnerian excess. A way to dissipate gushing sentimentality closing in from all sides.

It's a battle of ideologies - German heaviness vs. French clarity.

So take a deep breath and understand the implications: Debussy is trying to DEFEAT Wagnerian heaviness.



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 16, 2008, 09:49:26 PM
This is why Debussy wrote of going through the score and finding with horror the 'ghost of old Klingsor' (i.e. Wagner, though I'm quoting from memory) hiding in the odd bar, and of his desire to rid the score of such things. Of course there's a superficial resemblance to Parsifal - as Brahms would say 'any fool can see that' - but at its core the music, which is full of evasions, of hints, of eloquent silences, is really coming from another, new world.

IIRC Dahlhaus has interesting things to say about the opera from this perspective, but I don't have time to dig out the quotation now....
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on October 16, 2008, 09:50:44 PM
As do Jeux, the Cello Sonata, the Sonata for Flute, Viola & Harp, &c. &c. &c.

&c. &c. &c. is right.

All the way down the line we see Debussy's sly hand at work.

When you have "intelligence" you don't need heaviness. 

 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 17, 2008, 05:27:56 AM
It is bunk, Eric, and your irrational reverence is feeding the bunk.

My reverence is not irrational!  And the pieces on your list do not speak to me. (I will reserve judgment on the cello sonata since I don't know it yet)

I am free to adore and daydream about  P&M  as much as I want.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 17, 2008, 06:10:16 AM
After doing a quick search I found there was no thread (:o) for this great composer . . . .

And by now, you've discovered why  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 17, 2008, 06:11:47 AM
Quote from: The Ardent Narcissist
I am free to adore and daydream about  P&M  as much as I want.

Right;  but your gushery is not of general interest;  nor is your daydreaming to be confused with history, or music, or any least thing outside the miasma of your daydreaming.  For the hundredth time, your "adoration of a piece" (in this case, the piece is only the occasion of your fond daydreams) does not map onto its general importance.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 17, 2008, 09:18:18 AM
Karl, this cheap two-fer is an absolute winner for Debussy and Ravel duets - it's got everything on it, including some pretty obscure treasures (and not a harmonic in sight  0:) ). Debussy's four hand output is of major importance in his oeuvre as a whole. En blanc et noir is late, great Debussy at his best - and as we're otherwise left with only the Etudes, the three sonatas and a couple of odd scraps, the importance of this set can't be over-estimated; the Epigraphs Antiques are simply exquisite - evidently the composer of the faun, but older and even more seismically sensitive (I have fond memories of playing these at university with Huw Watkins). Even the early Petite Suite has a lot going for it. And the Ravel - Ma Mere l'Oye in its original pristine form (as played ay our wedding, with aforementioned Huw taking the primo part); rarities like Frontispiece (for 5 hands!) and Entre-cloches; duet versions of La Valse and the Rhapsodie Espagnole.... And I haven't listed everything. The two piano Debussy Nocturnes in Ravel's arrangement is here too, in fact.

Might be tonight's listening, in fact.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BT2XHT1GL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Found it!  Right here on Washington Street.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on October 17, 2008, 09:31:53 AM
Discovering the wonderful sonata for flute, viola and harp — I think this will make the shortlist of my favorite Debussy.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 17, 2008, 02:51:31 PM
Discovering the wonderful sonata for flute, viola and harp — I think this will make the shortlist of my favorite Debussy.

That was a piece I first 'met' when Judith Shatin had me study it in Charlottesville.  Loved it from the first.

Separately:

Quote from: Paul Roberts
Madame Hébert’s diary shows that Debussy met Franz Liszt three times, and on one occasion heard the aged master play Au Bord d’une source (‘Beside a Spring’, from Liszt’s Années de pèlerinage), an intriguing detail for the future composer of works such as Reflets dans l’eau, L’Isle joyeuse, and Jardins sous la pluie.  Debussy never forgot this episode and how, as he recalled at the end of his life, Liszt ‘used the pedal as a kind of breathing’.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 17, 2008, 03:36:17 PM
Everyone,

I must confess that I have never met anyone either in person or on the internet who loved only the early string quartet, Faun, Pelleas et Melisande and  La Mer.

But one day I discovered that Fredreick Delius too disliked mostly everything Debussy wrote after Pelleas et Melisande.

He once wrote:

"Nowhere is Debussy more completely and fully himself, so happy in his medium than when he composed  P&M..."

Are Delius and I the only 2 "reactionaries" or do you know other people who rank the above works as his finest achievements and reject the later music ?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bulldog on October 17, 2008, 03:49:30 PM
Are Delius and I the only 2 "reactionaries" or do you know other people who rank the above works as his finest achievements and reject the later music ?

I don't understand how you can love his earlier works and just reject the later ones.  It's like saying that once Debussy found his own unique voice, his music suffered to the point of being unworthy.  What's going on?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 17, 2008, 03:50:11 PM
I don't know the passage that you have excerpted this from, but that really doesn't sound like a rejection of his later music to me. Delius must be one of the most ardent imitators of Debussy's style (well he has his own style, but you know what I mean - he is a Debussy disciple if ever there was one) and that includes young and old. It might be that he rejected the later music, but I some how doubt it.

He actually composed a cello elegy which is based on a small fragment of Faun - something I only discovered when listening to Faun for the first time and finding it very familiar! I think this illustrates my muddled up listening habits and the way round I have learnt musical history!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bulldog on October 17, 2008, 03:55:25 PM
I don't know the passage that you have excerpted this from, but that really doesn't sound like a rejection of his later music to me.

Me neither.  There's nothing in the passage other than praise for the opera.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 17, 2008, 03:59:07 PM
Eric, is your first language English?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 17, 2008, 04:04:55 PM
I don't know the passage that you have excerpted this from

Guido,

I have a book of composers' letters which contains one by Delius to Eric Fenby:

He wrote:

You know how much I've always loved L'Apres-midi d' un Faune and Pelleas, although I've remained very unimpressed by the piano music and his later work; the Frenchman has degenerated into a mannerist!   
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 17, 2008, 04:05:58 PM
Eric, is your first language English?

Yes, English is my native language.

Why do you ask ?

???
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bulldog on October 17, 2008, 04:13:43 PM
Guido,

I have a book of composers' letters which contains one by Delius to Eric Fenby:

He wrote:

You know how much I've always loved L'Apres-midi d' un Faune and Pelleas, although I've remained very unimpressed by the piano music and his later work; the Frenchman has degenerated into a mannerist!   

That does it.  No more late Debussy for me - When Delius speaks, the Bulldog listens.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 17, 2008, 04:41:05 PM
That does it.  No more late Debussy for me - When Delius speaks, the Bulldog listens.
lol!

Interesting Eric - thanks for that quotation.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 17, 2008, 04:45:11 PM
That does it.  No more late Debussy for me - When Delius speaks, the Bulldog listens.

Woof!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 17, 2008, 04:53:01 PM
I don't understand how you can love his earlier works and just reject the later ones.  It's like saying that once Debussy found his own unique voice, his music suffered to the point of being unworthy.  What's going on?

Or like saying that Sibelius made a great success of the Violin Concerto, but couldn't rub two notes together right in any of the seven symphonies.

— Oh, wait; somebody did suggest that, didn't he?  0:)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Kullervo on October 17, 2008, 05:07:44 PM
Delius must be one of the most ardent imitators of Debussy's style (well he has his own style, but you know what I mean - he is a Debussy disciple if ever there was one)

That's interesting — as much has been said of Delius being an "impressionist" and a Debussian, his music has never struck me as sounding like Debussy, or even being similar (other than the two sharing a sort of un-Germanic lack of heaviness in their music). He inhabits a very particular soundworld in my opinion.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 18, 2008, 04:30:15 AM
While yet a youth working on Diane au Bois:

Quote from: Debussy
There's no precedent to go on, and I find myself compelled to invent new forms.  I could always turn to Wagner, but I don't need to tell you how ridiculous it would be even to try.  The only thing of his I would want to copy is the running of one scene into another.  Also I want to keep the tone lyrical without it being absorbed by the orchestra.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 18, 2008, 04:39:08 AM
Quote from: Paul Roberts
The strength of Wagner's embrace is revealed as early as 1887 in Debussy's letter of thanks to Hébert, even before he had heard Tristan. (He possessed at this time a score for voice and piano, and later became renowned for rendering the whole of it himself at the keyboard, mostly from memory.) "The first act of Tristan and Isolde, decidedly the most beautiful thing that I know," he wrote.  "In its depth of emotion, which grasps and embraces you like a caress, it makes you suffer: what I mean is that you experience the same feelings as Tristan without doing violence to your own spirit or your own heart."  This act of self-identification, expressed so tellingly in contradictions, was costly, but wholly necessary.  No composer of this period came to know and understand the music of Wagner better than Claude Debussy, and nobody was to find a better means of escape.

Ah, blessed escape!  0:)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2008, 10:07:08 AM
Quote from: Zoltán Kocsis
Claude Debussy’s contemporaries were practically unanimous in their praise of his pianistic abilities.  Although only a few fairly low-quality recordings by the composer have remained, Debussy was undoubtedly one of the great pianists of his day, even though his rare public appearances were mostly restricted to performing his own compositions.  Small wonder, therefore, that piano pieces are to be found in all his creative periods.  Nor is it surprising that these pieces rank above his other works in style and in formal development.  The works Debussy wrote for the piano have a strong duality about them;  a firm bent for the archaic, interwoven with a wish to create something new – but the nature and the degree of this relationship changed with the stages of his life’s work.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 20, 2008, 10:21:59 AM
Here it is...

Thank you, James.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2008, 10:23:16 AM
Quote from: Paul Roberts
Originality comes at a price, and much of the initially hostile reaction to La mer was due to an inability to follow the composer down new paths.  Here was a descriptive work largely without the tried and tested formulae, those ocnventions of nineteenth-century descriptive music that Debussy largely spurned “in favor of his own highly individual vocabulary” (as Simon Trezise points out in his commentary Debussy: La Mer).  This is the answer to Lalo, and Debussy implies as much in his dignified but passionate letter of defense.  “If my idea of music isn’t the same as yours, I am none the less an artist and nothing but an artist,” he wrote to him.  “I love the sea and have listened to it with the passionate respect it deserves. . .  The heart of the matter is that you love and defend traditions which for me no longer exist, or at least exist only as representative of an epoch in which they were not all as fine and valuable as people make out;  the dust of the past is not always respectable.”

Of course, this invincible argument of Debussy's (The heart of the matter is that you love and defend traditions which for me no longer exist, or at least exist only as representative of an epoch in which they were not all as fine and valuable as people make out) is equally applicable against the claim in our day that music being written now 'fails to conform' somehow to Debussyan norms.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2008, 10:25:21 AM
Quote from: Paul Roberts
One of the most significant of early comments on La mer was made, almost in passing, by Debussy’s close friend of those years Louis Laloy, who in 1909 became the composer’s first biographer (in French;  there had been an English biography the previous year by Louise Liebich).  In an essay from 1908 entitled “The New Manner of Claude Debussy” Laloy examined the clear presence of symphonic form in La mer, noting that “the music can, strictly speaking, be explained by itself.  This fact in no way diminishes the descriptive power of the music, in fact quite the contrary.”  Descriptive music and pure music, he was saying, are not in opposition to each other, “in fact quite the contrary,” for the pure actually enhances the descriptive, the ‘purely musical’ procedures (quasi-developmental, cyclical, structural) of the work embodying the descriptive purpose.

Let's say it again: Descriptive music and pure music are not in opposition to each other.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Homo Aestheticus on October 20, 2008, 11:53:57 AM
An anonymous commentator on  Pelleas et Melisande:

There is clearly a forward thinking phenomenon occurring here, a sort of hybridism as we hear essentially tonal music moving further and further away from the center of what was considered to be "normal." While Wagner (and others) essentially did away with the old style aria-ensemble format, Debussy brought even  more  "naturalism" to the text settings, and while not mimicking speech, brought a sort of approximation to it even more daring (and less acceptable to many people, still) than Wagner.  It almost depends on how the "light" falls on  Pelleas  and I think the work is sui generis for a great many reasons. It is almost a division point between the past and the future and, as such, I don't think we can quite pin it down to being the last born or the first.  Pelleas  shows itself to be tied - firmly, so - by both centuries which it ties together. What fascination and thought it brings to us, yes ?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Joe_Campbell on October 20, 2008, 01:21:36 PM
yes ?
No .
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Joe_Campbell on October 20, 2008, 01:29:11 PM
Quote from: Zoltán Kocsis
Claude Debussy’s contemporaries were practically unanimous in their praise of his pianistic abilities.  Although only a few fairly low-quality recordings by the composer have remained, Debussy was undoubtedly one of the great pianists of his day, even though his rare public appearances were mostly restricted to performing his own compositions.  Small wonder, therefore, that piano pieces are to be found in all his creative periods.  Nor is it surprising that these pieces rank above his other works in style and in formal development.  The works Debussy wrote for the piano have a strong duality about them;  a firm bent for the archaic, interwoven with a wish to create something new – but the nature and the degree of this relationship changed with the stages of his life’s work.
Really? I remember reading that Debussy was, at best, a good amateur pianist who still struggled with some of his more difficult preludes.

Here's a self-critical composer: :D
Quote from: Debussy
Three piano preludes: I. Dancers of Delphi, II. The Girl with the Flaxen Hair, III. La Puerta del vino. In fact that's all my limited capabilities allow me to play! If necessary, I could always improvise on the Dutch national anthem?
This was in 1914, when he was ~52 years old. So perhaps he was no longer in his peak. I can't say for sure where I heard the original trivia from, though.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 20, 2008, 01:38:43 PM
Really? I remember reading that Debussy was, at best, a good amateur pianist who still struggled with some of his more difficult preludes.

I don't think he concertized much as pianist;  I somehow carry away from the Roberts book an impression that most of his public music-making was as conductor (his own works, and largely through the arrangements of his publisher, Durand . . . good publicity, and all).  In this regard, good amateur pianist may be broadly fair.  Roberts does mention contemporaries speaking very highly of the poeticality (a vile phrase, beautified's a vile phrase) of his touch, and expert pedaling.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on October 20, 2008, 02:22:53 PM
What do people think of the orchestrations of some of the preludes that Simon Rattle recorded on this CD:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZAW0CHF2L._SS500_.jpg)

They're rather beautiful to my ears. (though for obvious reasons lack the complexity and brilliance of his real orchestral works.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 21, 2008, 12:26:59 AM
I don't think he concertized much as pianist;  I somehow carry away from the Roberts book an impression that most of his public music-making was as conductor (his own works, and largely through the arrangements of his publisher, Durand . . . good publicity, and all).  In this regard, good amateur pianist may be broadly fair.  Roberts does mention contemporaries speaking very highly of the poeticality (a vile phrase, beautified's a vile phrase) of his touch, and expert pedaling.

You don't need to be content with having his playing described - you can hear it in some wonderful recordings on the Welte Mignon system - that's a kind of piano roll recording device, but it captures the pedalling too, and is obviously highly sensitive. (A huge advantage, of course, is that we can hear the performances in modern sound) This recording is extremely impressive:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414Y20A1CFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

The Welte recordings were made in 1913, and it's true that the pieces he's playing aren't his very hardest, although some, such as Le vent dans la plaine still require great delicacy and dexterity - there's a selection of Preludes from book 1, La plus que lente, La soiree dans Grenade, Children's Corner and D'un cahier d'esquisses.

Also on the disc are some earlier (1904) acoustic (that is, not reproducing-piano) recordings of Debussy accompanying the first Melisande, Mary Garden, in three of the Ariettes Oubliees (including Green, which is actually quite a hard piano part)....and...Eric will be disappointed - we get to hear the composer himself accompanying said Melisande in a short extract of the opera (Mes longs cheveux)

It's a disc all Debussy-lovers should hear. And there's another, comparable disc of Granados in the series which is equally unmissable.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 21, 2008, 12:38:34 AM
....and...Eric will be disappointed - we get to hear the composer himself accompanying said Melisande in a short extract of the opera (Mes longs cheveux)

Eric will be disappointed, I meant to say, to hear how Debussy accompanies without the longeurs and unnecessary slow pace that the self-proclaimed Ardent Pelleastrean claims are necessary to the interpretation of the piece.

But actually I don't think Eric will care - he's always maintained his distinct indifference to the question of the type of performance that Debussy might have intended, just as he's always been only too happy to discard the vast majority of the rest of Debussy's output. It's always stuck me as odd that at one and the same time Eric implies two contradictory positions: 1) that Debussy wrote the most sublime music ever composed; and 2) that Debussy didn't know how this piece should be performed and, what's more, that most of the rest of his output isn't worth listening to.

Why, it's almost as if Eric is suggesting that the act of Debussy composing P+M was a mere monkeys-writing-Shakespeare fluke, and that really it is Eric himself, and especially his infamous nobody-can-love-a-piece-as-I-love-this-one Appreciation of the piece, which is the true artwork.  ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ugh! on October 21, 2008, 01:25:39 AM

The Welte recordings were made in 1913, and it's true that the pieces he's playing aren't his very hardest, although some, such as Le vent dans la plaine still require great delicacy and dexterity

Yes, I love this CD. I think that it is the seemingly easiest pieces by Debussy that are actually the hardest. I am sure you would agree ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 21, 2008, 01:26:53 AM
Almost! I think the hard pieces are hard. I also think the easy pieces are hard!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ugh! on October 21, 2008, 03:45:42 AM
Tough composer   8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on October 21, 2008, 04:19:01 AM
You don't need to be content with having his playing described - you can hear it in some wonderful recordings on the Welte Mignon system - that's a kind of piano roll recording device, but it captures the pedalling too, and is obviously highly sensitive. (A huge advantage, of course, is that we can hear the performances in modern sound) This recording is extremely impressive: . . .

My musicianship thanks you;  my wallet does not  ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: lukeottevanger on October 21, 2008, 09:30:40 AM
Somehow I doubt that you'll regret it, nevertheless.  :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 17, 2009, 09:53:54 PM
I've read through this thread and don't really see any recommendations (recordings) for Debussy's piano music. Was wondering if anyone could steer me in the right direction on this. Thanks...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: bwv 1080 on February 17, 2009, 10:01:11 PM
I've read through this thread and don't really see any recommendations (recordings) for Debussy's piano music. Was wondering if anyone could steer me in the right direction on this. Thanks...

Arrau or Moravec is a good place to start - both are budget discs. (& the Chopin on the Moravec disc is also top-notch)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41E20PKKNVL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/80/e2/992e92c008a0ccc2a8487010._AA200_.L.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 17, 2009, 10:33:42 PM
I've read through this thread and don't really see any recommendations (recordings) for Debussy's piano music. Was wondering if anyone could steer me in the right direction on this. Thanks...

You're likely to have better luck on the Recordings board.

Try this thread. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,8773.0.html)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 17, 2009, 10:55:29 PM
Thanks!  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: The new erato on February 18, 2009, 02:01:39 AM
I see Giesekings recordings are available on a new, soon-to-be-released EMI Icons box.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 18, 2009, 06:40:59 AM
I see Giesekings recordings are available on a new, soon-to-be-released EMI Icons box.

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for it!!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 18, 2009, 08:49:26 AM
This is outstanding:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FXH50HPBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 18, 2009, 09:58:09 AM
This is outstanding:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FXH50HPBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Thanks Karl, it's in my cart. :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: jwinter on February 18, 2009, 10:49:09 AM
A while back at Berkshire Record Outlet I picked up Martino Tirimo's 4 disc set (http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Piano-Works-Martino-Tirimo/dp/B0000V86KK/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1234982684&sr=8-8) of the piano music for a pittance, and it is surprisingly good.  Very nice modern recordings, and well-reviewed by the Penguin Guide (if you put any weight behind that sort of thing).  Well worth your time if you find it in a bargain bin somewhere...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412VKWEHGCL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: George on February 18, 2009, 12:22:40 PM
I've read through this thread and don't really see any recommendations (recordings) for Debussy's piano music. Was wondering if anyone could steer me in the right direction on this. Thanks...

Favorites in bold:

Any - Moravec, Michelangeli

Etudes- Uchida
Preludes - Gieseking (mono), Richter (live BBC), Zimmerman
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Enkhbat Natsagdorj on February 21, 2009, 04:02:40 AM
I am huge fan of him.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 21, 2009, 11:44:46 AM
I am huge fan of him.

I stuck my toe in the water with:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61PJCD3NQ6L._SS400_.jpg) (http://cover6.cduniverse.com/CDUCoverArt/Music/Large/superd_1170182.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61PbfcI7ZSL._SS400_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HJAQM8H1L._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 23, 2009, 10:41:54 PM
I have to report so far that I'm very satisfied with the Roge "double decker" for the Piano Works. I believe David Ross said back in August that it is a nice one for a "lighter touch" and I really can that I'm thoroughly enjoying it.   8)

I am also satisfied with the Orchestral Works I and II. I've only listened to II once but have listened to I several times and am happy with it.

The Beroff/Collard disk has not arrived yet.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: George on February 24, 2009, 04:08:59 AM
I have to report so far that I'm very satisfied with the Roge "double decker" for the Piano Works. I believe David Ross said back in August that it is a nice one for a "lighter touch" and I really can that I'm thoroughly enjoying it.   8)

Roge's Satie is my favorite. You may wish to check him out there as well.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 24, 2009, 04:39:48 AM
I certainly will George, thanks! 8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on February 24, 2009, 06:08:17 AM
I am also satisfied with the Orchestral Works I and II. I've only listened to II once but have listened to I several times and am happy with it.

The Beroff/Collard disk has not arrived yet.

I like Martinon I very well, and should probably spring for II at some point.

The Béroff/Collard recording, I've been playing at least some of every week since it arrived.  Listened to most of disc 1 yesterday, in fact.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: haydnguy on February 24, 2009, 03:38:38 PM
Debussy: A World Revealed In Two Footsteps

Quote
NPR.org, February 18, 2009 - Composer Claude Debussy was not a natural at the piano. At first, he struggled to learn to love the instrument.

But as he continued to write piano music, Debussy started trying new things, new sounds. He seemed to want to take the piano to places it had never been before.

Where did he take it? The answer, commentator Rob Kapilow tells Performance Today host Fred Child, can be found in a tiny, quiet prelude called Footsteps in the Snow.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100814333
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: greg on February 24, 2009, 04:03:09 PM
Debussy: A World Revealed In Two Footsteps

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100814333
That was a nice program.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ten thumbs on February 25, 2009, 12:20:29 PM
Really? I remember reading that Debussy was, at best, a good amateur pianist who still struggled with some of his more difficult preludes.


You may find the following of interest:
http://www.djupdal.org/karstein/debussy/pianist/p02.shtml

Stravinsky persuaded Debussy to join him in playing his arrangement of The Rite of Spring for one piano, four hands. I haven't seen this score but I can't imagine it being easy, especially on a first reading.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: greg on February 25, 2009, 12:47:42 PM
You may find the following of interest:
http://www.djupdal.org/karstein/debussy/pianist/p02.shtml

Stravinsky persuaded Debussy to join him in playing his arrangement of The Rite of Spring for one piano, four hands. I haven't seen this score but I can't imagine it being easy, especially on a first reading.
I always wondered about that. Seems like it'd be too difficult to pull off- but if he did, he's not so bad.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Benji on March 05, 2009, 03:30:08 PM
A reminder for anyone who enjoyed the disc of Debussy preludes orchestrated by Colin Matthews (Hallé - Mark Elder) - the disc with the other half of the preludes is out this weekend.

Anyone familiar with that disc will recall that Matthews has arranged his orchestrations of the preludes in a different order to Debussy's original ordering of the sets. Matthews' first set of arrangements ends with the famous Prelude No.8 from Book 1 'La fille aux cheveux de lin', with which he took additional liberties in slowing the tempo to half of normal. I suspect this would sharply divide Debussy fans, but I rather liked the effect and with Matthews' string-rich orchestration the music could have easily been long-lost Vaughan Williams.

Well, on looking at the track listing for the next set of orchestrations, I see that Matthews is ending with what is perhaps the strongest of all the Preludes (and certainly my favourite) No.10 from Book I 'La cathédrale engloutie' and I am bursting to know how he treats it!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41gIp480WvL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: legoru on August 28, 2009, 10:52:21 AM
I'd be glad if anyone here could help me obtain Debussu's "Le triomphe de Bacchus"
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 11, 2010, 07:45:34 AM
Quote from: Debussy
Music really ought to have been a hermetical science, enshrined in texts so hard and laborious to decipher as to discourage the herd of people who treat it as casually as they do a handkerchief!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 11, 2010, 07:54:08 AM
Quote from: Paul Roberts
With prophetic discernment he tells Stravinsky: ‘You will go further than Petrushka, of course, but you should be proud of what this work achieves.’  What came next, of course, was Le sacre du printemps.  In the summer of 1912 the two composers played through an early version for four hands at the piano (one is reminded of Debussy’s formidable powers of sight-reading — he took the bass, Stravinsky the treble).  ‘We were dumbfounded,’ wrote Louis Laloy, in whose house the event occurred, ‘flattened as though by a hurricane from the roots of time.’  Debussy wrote afterwards to Stravinsky, ‘your Sacre haunts me like a beautiful nightmare.’
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Opus106 on March 11, 2010, 08:00:42 AM
Claude's ghost is probably happy to see that some "modern" "art music" composers are bringing that to fruition. (That was not directed at you, of course. :)) But as a statement about music in general, that is simply balderdash, in my opinion.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 11, 2010, 08:06:07 AM
Claude's ghost is probably happy to see that some "modern" "art music" composers are bringing that to fruition. (That was not directed at you, of course. :)) But as a statement about music in general, that is simply balderdash, in my opinion.

What I found interesting, is how certain lurvers of his music, Debussy must have dismissed as part of the herd.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Opus106 on March 11, 2010, 08:15:13 AM
What I found interesting, is how certain lurvers of his music, Debussy must have dismissed as part of the herd.

I will not be surprised if that quote was intended especially for those lurvers.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on March 11, 2010, 08:16:17 AM
I will not be surprised if that quote was intended especially for those lurvers.

Precisamente!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: jowcol on March 12, 2010, 05:43:43 AM
Claude's ghost is probably happy to see that some "modern" "art music" composers are bringing that to fruition. (That was not directed at you, of course. :)) But as a statement about music in general, that is simply balderdash, in my opinion.

As I recall (and I believe the Alex Ross book makes this point) that quote from Debussy about being a hermetic science was very early in is career, and he was on the other side of the fence later on.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Opus106 on March 12, 2010, 06:19:58 AM
As I recall (and I believe the Alex Ross book makes this point) that quote from Debussy about being a hermetic science was very early in is career, and he was on the other side of the fence later on.

That is interesting; and thanks for letting us know about it.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Guido on August 16, 2010, 02:43:53 PM
Has anyone ever orchestrated Debussy's Trois Chansons De Bilitis? If not, I fancy it!

EDIT: obviously I mean the songs, not the piece for speaker and orchestra...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2011, 09:31:51 PM
I've been digging more into Debussy's output lately and have found some real gems. In the next couple of months, I'm going to be digging back into the output of Debussy, Ravel, and Faure.

Some favorite Debussy works:

Recently:

Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp
Sonata for Violin & Piano
Sonata for Cello & Piano
Piano Trio
Pelleas et Melisande
Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone & Orchestra
Le martye de Saint Sebastien
Fantasie for piano & orchestra

Older favorites:

Images for orchestra
La Mer
Nocturnes
Jeux
Children's Corner (both for solo piano and orchestrated)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2011, 09:36:47 PM
I stuck my toe in the water with:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61PbfcI7ZSL._SS400_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HJAQM8H1L._SS400_.jpg)

Jean Martinon was such a master of Debussy. I know it's been awhile since you made your post, Haydnguy, but I would love to hear how you're getting along with those recordings?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2011, 08:02:22 PM
What is everybody favorite's recording of Pelleas et Melisande and why?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: just Jeff on January 31, 2011, 02:37:32 AM
Jean Martinon was such a master of Debussy. I know it's been awhile since you made your post, Haydnguy, but I would love to hear how you're getting along with those recordings?

I just got a hold of the original 6LP Martinon - Debussy set in Mint condition, German EMI / Electrola set of this material from 1974, it's going to sound great.  I can't imagine any digital recording topping this for sound quality.  I'm a analog vinyl lover when you get mint condition and recordings of this stature.

The Martinon - Ravel Orchestral Works set, same period recording is also stunning, and also on EMI.  The Debussy & Ravel sets are kind of like mates in some ways.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: DavidW on April 24, 2011, 06:58:48 AM
What is everybody favorite's recording of Pelleas et Melisande and why?

I've only heard two recordings.  Karajan sucks because he treats Debussy as a Romantic, but Boulez doesn't and so he's my pick:



Oh wait I'm sorry I just saw you asked in January, so you probably don't care anymore...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 24, 2011, 07:14:12 AM
I've only heard two recordings.  Karajan sucks because he treats Debussy as a Romantic, but Boulez doesn't and so he's my pick:



Oh wait I'm sorry I just saw you asked in January, so you probably don't care anymore...

Oh no, I care, if I ever expressed any interest in something, I still care about it. We all go through phases, but I always return to things that I was once interested in at some point or another. Thanks for the recommendation. Boulez seems like a natural choice.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 25, 2011, 02:43:53 AM
The late piano music of Debussy have been unequaled in the piano literature ever since. Discuss.

This post is even funnier, just after making the acquaintance of the Stevenson Passacaglia on DSCH ; )

But what I meant to post was . . . one upside to the recent inflation of interest in Koechlin is, I realize that it is high time that I listen to Khamma (or is it Khâmma?) . . . I mean, a Debussy ballet of almost 20 minutes' duration, and I haven't heard it yet? I hang my head in shame . . . .
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on May 25, 2011, 04:18:39 AM
For that matter, I think I may never have listened to aught from Le martyre de Saint Sébastien . . . which is also on this Apex disc I'm fetching in with Khâmma.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: karlhenning on June 07, 2011, 03:59:05 AM
But what I meant to post was . . . one upside to the recent inflation of interest in Koechlin is, I realize that it is high time that I listen to Khamma (or is it Khâmma?) . . . I mean, a Debussy ballet of almost 20 minutes' duration, and I haven't heard it yet? I hang my head in shame . . . .

Just listened to Khamma for the first time!

Who else knows it?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2012, 10:24:18 PM
Seriously looking forward to receiving this set in the mail...



Some here have expressed a disinterest with Debussy orchestrations by other composers besides himself. The reality is these same people don't mind hearing Mahler's 10th completed by someone else or Elgar's Symphony No. 3 which he only left sketches for. So I say what's the big deal? I've come to accept other musicians' intentions as long as they're not self-serving. One of the greatest orchestrations of all-time, in my view, is Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures At An Exhibition.

I should also say that Debussy, in fact, encouraged other musicians to orchestrate his music. That's the beauty of his music, it doesn't matter who orchestrates it, it will still sound like Debussy. Debussy through another lens? Sure, but these are still his own notes at the end of the day.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: The new erato on February 26, 2012, 03:20:52 AM
Anybody know the single discs from thos series? Are they really good (as opposed to just good)?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on February 26, 2012, 06:33:34 AM
Int. Release 02 Apr. 2012
6 CDs (http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/single?sort=newest_rec&PRODUCT_NR=4790333&SearchString=Ravel+Debussy&UNBUYABLE=1&per_page=50&flow_per_page=50&presentation=flow)

And just as I was preparing to buy this  :-\

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: The new erato on February 26, 2012, 08:18:50 AM
(http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/imgs/s300x300/4790333.jpg)

Int. Release 02 Apr. 2012
6 CDs (http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/cat/single?sort=newest_rec&PRODUCT_NR=4790333&SearchString=Ravel+Debussy&UNBUYABLE=1&per_page=50&flow_per_page=50&presentation=flow)
Thank you James. I had been wondering how long it would take before DG got around to this.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on February 26, 2012, 10:52:28 AM
I foresee others in the future, like one for Mahler ..
The Mahler seems likely

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: The new erato on February 26, 2012, 11:35:42 AM
The Mahler seems likely


Interesting label and release date:

Audio CD (December 31, 2020)
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Import
Label: Roc-A-Fella
ASIN: B004NO5HLG
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on February 26, 2012, 11:36:52 AM
Interesting label and release date:

Audio CD (December 31, 2020)
Number of Discs: 1
Format: Import
Label: Roc-A-Fella
ASIN: B004NO5HLG
;D

Hadn't seen those before, here's what it says on the UK site:
Audio CD (4 Mar 2013)
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Decca (UMO)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: The new erato on February 26, 2012, 11:39:22 AM
But why on Decca? Something's strange is going on here.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on February 26, 2012, 11:42:14 AM
But why on Decca? Something's strange is going on here.

Well, the UK site's information isn't any better, it's just less obviously fake.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2012, 06:40:08 PM
Anybody know the single discs from thos series? Are they really good (as opposed to just good)?

I haven't received the set yet, erato, but I listened to a few performances via YouTube and they're really good. Markl a dedicated, passionate Debussyian.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kentel on February 29, 2012, 03:40:29 PM
I haven't received the set yet, erato, but I listened to a few performances via YouTube and they're really good. Markl a dedicated, passionate Debussyian.

Given the fact that he has not the Berliner Philharmoniker nor the Cleveland SO at hand, this is really an impressive interpretation : neat and flowing, you hear everything and that does not sound dry. "La Mer" and "Jeux" especially are splendid, much better than Boulez actually, who did something very blurred and flabby there (and he DID have the Cleveland SO).

I also loved the idea of recording the "Pelleas & Melisande symphony" since the most interesting part of the opera is its orchestral score (the libretto is ridiculous and the soloists parts sound forced and unnatural IMO). As you do, I've nothing against the orchestrations : Koechlin, Caplet and Roger-Ducasse were brilliant orchestrators (probably even more than Debussy himself).

However, my favorite "complete orchestral Debussy" is undoubtedly Martinon's with the ORTF (Emi), and my favorite "Mer" is undoubtedly Karajan's with the BP. Markl is great, but he has not the right orchestra.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 29, 2012, 03:49:08 PM
Given the fact that he has not the Berliner Philharmoniker nor the Cleveland SO at hand, this is really an impressive interpretation : neat and flowing, you hear everything and that does not sound dry. "La Mer" and "Jeux" especially are splendid, much better than Boulez actually, who did something very blurred and flabby there (and he DID have the Cleveland SO).

I also loved the idea of recording the "Pelleas & Melisande symphony" since the most interesting part of the opera is its orchestral score (the libretto is ridiculous and the soloists parts sound forced and unnatural IMO). As you do, I've nothing against the orchestrations : Caplet and Roger-Ducasse were brilliant orchestrators (probably even more than Debussy himself).

However, my favorite "complete orchestral Debussy" is undoubtedly Martinon with the ORTF (Emi), and my favorite "Mer" is undoubtedly Karajan's with the BP. Markl is great, but he has not the right orchestra.

I think the orchestra are right for the interpretations that Markl set forth in these recordings. I never understood the mentality that this or that orchestra was the orchestra for this or that composer. Hell, I've got a set of Shostakovich symphonies conducted by Oleg Caetani with an Italian orchestra! The orchestra doesn't matter that much to me, because a good conductor, like Markl, can get good results. I'm not looking for a replacement for Martinon, who is my favorite Debussy conductor, but I'm looking for an alternative. Boulez, for me, was an alternative, Tortelier was an alternative. For me, it's all about finding the right balance and hearing different views on the music that I love so dearly. In closing, a great conductor can make a third-tier orchestra sound magnificent.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kentel on February 29, 2012, 04:01:51 PM
I think the orchestra are right for the interpretations that Markl set forth in these recordings. I never understood the mentality that this or that orchestra was the orchestra for this or that composer. Hell, I've got a set of Shostakovich symphonies conducted by Oleg Caetani with an Italian orchestra! The orchestra doesn't matter that much to me, because a good conductor, like Markl, can get good results. I'm not looking for a replacement for Martinon, who is my favorite Debussy conductor, but I'm looking for an alternative. Boulez, for me, was an alternative, Tortelier was an alternative. For me, it's all about finding the right balance and hearing different views on the music that I love so dearly.

To me, Lyon's brass are far too weak (in La Mer that's obvious), the sound of the strings is too thin, it has no density : compare with Karajan and the BP, the richness of the bass string sections, the colours and the deepness of the orchestral textures is beyond comparison. Here I sometimes feel like I'm hearing a chamber reduction (with baroque brass instruments). Incidentally, the general shyness of the orchestra allows one to hear neatly the harp, which is quite rare.

However, I agree with your three other statements : 1- less famous orchestras can be very good (this is not, to me, the case of the Lyon NO) AND good orchestras can be disappointing (Boulez and Cleveland) 2- Martinon, yes, no question there and 3- Yes, Markl is definitely very good.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 29, 2012, 04:08:52 PM
To me, Lyon's brass are far too weak (in La Mer that's obvious), the sound of the strings is too thin, it has no density : compare with Karajan and the BP, the richness of the bass string sections, the colours and the deepness of the orchestral textures is beyond comparison. Here I sometimes feel like I'm hearing a chamber reduction (with baroque brass instruments). Incidentally, the general shyness of the orchestra allows one to hear neatly the harp, which is quite rare.

However, I agree with your three other statements : 1- less famous orchestras can be very good (this is not, to me, the case of the Lyon NO) AND good orchestras can be disappointing (Boulez and Cleveland) 2- Martinon, yes, no question there and 3- Yes, Markl is definitely very good.

Are you French per chance?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kentel on February 29, 2012, 04:13:52 PM
Are you French per chance?

I'm Breton :)

but by necessity, and until an hypothetic secession I do have a French passport  :D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 29, 2012, 04:21:51 PM
I'm Breton :)

but by necessity, and until an hypothetic secession I do have a French passport  :D

Oh, that's awesome. Is Breton a difficult language to learn? I've read a good bit about this language. It's derived from a Celtic language correct?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kentel on February 29, 2012, 04:28:42 PM
Oh, that's awesome. Is Breton a difficult language to learn? I've read a good bit about this language. It's derived a Celtic language correct?

Correct  :).  I wouldn't say "difficult", but certainly very different from what people are used to.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 29, 2012, 04:32:32 PM
Correct  :).  I wouldn't say "difficult", but certainly very different from what people are used to.

Do the Breton people feel any kind of connection with the rest of France or is it a case like Quebec and the rest of Canada?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kentel on March 01, 2012, 03:34:16 AM
Do the Breton people feel any kind of connection with the rest of France or is it a case like Quebec and the rest of Canada?

That's a quite complicated matter (maybe we could open a new thread in the back room to discuss this topic ?)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2012, 07:55:37 AM
That's a quite complicated matter (maybe we could open a new thread in the back room to discuss this topic ?)

Yeah, I shouldn't derail this thread any further...

Back to Debussy! :D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kentel on March 01, 2012, 02:18:46 PM
Yeah, I shouldn't derail this thread any further...

Back to Debussy! :D

I posted an answer in the back room.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 02, 2012, 06:38:46 AM
John, I want the story on how there's a Pelléas et Mélisande Symphonie . . . .
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2012, 07:51:34 AM
John, I want the story on how there's a Pelléas et Mélisande Symphonie . . . .

I'll have to read up on it in the booklet, Karl, but there might be some information here:

http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Nocturnes-Pelleas-Melisande-Symphonie/dp/B001HBX8VO/ref=sr_1_8?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1330703294&sr=1-8

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 02, 2012, 08:25:53 AM
Hm, thanks, John. Seems like it's just the orchestral interludes strung together.  Interesting that (FWIW) Hurwitz doesn't seem to think much of Märkl with Debussy.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2012, 08:43:43 AM
Hm, thanks, John. Seems like it's just the orchestral interludes strung together.  Interesting that (FWIW) Hurwitz doesn't seem to think much of Märkl with Debussy.

No problem, Karl. Yeah, Hurwitz doesn't think too much of Markl's Debussy series, but his opinion isn't the only one. As I have said before (somewhere), Markl will not replace Martinon or Boulez for me, but it's so nice to have such a comprehensive set in my possession. This said, I do think Markl is a good conductor.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 02, 2012, 08:50:52 AM
Oh, I've differed with Hurwitz more than once, myself.

I could see such a "symphony" of the orchestral interludes for concert programming purposes, but I wouldn't beat a path to own a disc with it. (YMMV, of course.)  I could probably program a playlist from one of the recordings I have of the opera, and experience it in that wise . . . .

 
The thought of orchestrating piano études strikes me as . . . profoundly eccentric. Fair disclosure:  I'm not crazy about the orchestration of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, either.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2012, 09:07:17 AM
Oh, I've differed with Hurwitz more than once, myself.

I could see such a "symphony" of the orchestral interludes for concert programming purposes, but I wouldn't beat a path to own a disc with it. (YMMV, of course.)  I could probably program a playlist from one of the recordings I have of the opera, and experience it in that wise . . . .

 
The thought of orchestrating piano études strikes me as . . . profoundly eccentric. Fair disclosure:  I'm not crazy about the orchestration of Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit, either.

It certainly is an intriguing arrangement. I own two recordings: Abbado on DG and Boulez on Sony. They're both quite good. Abbado recorded the Pelleas et Melisande Suite (arr. Leinsdorf), but I do not own this recording. I did enjoy this arrangement on Naxos though. Is it something I'm going to listen to very often? No, probably not.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 29, 2012, 01:04:02 PM
I finally feel qualified to join in this thread! :D

Recently, I have been exploring this brilliant set of the Debussy orchestral works, as you may have seen on the listening thread. I have enjoyed every second of it, it was my first proper exploration into the work of this incredible composer. And, gosh... the performances... :o Simply divine! I doubt they can get much better than these...



La Mer and the Prelude of course, with the Nocturnes (Fetes is so brilliant!) and Images were obviously amazing. But, also one of the pieces I really really came to adore was Printemps, absolutely beautiful! La Boite a joujoux was certainly an interesting, amusing work, though with many moments of absolute beauty. The Children's Corner Suite orchestration was charming, what a delightful piece! What a great work Khamma is too, many thrilling moments. The Rapsodie for Saxophone and Orchestra is so brilliant, absolutely love this piece. You may have seen my post expressing my happiness about playing in the orchestra for a concert performance of it not so long ago. Was great fun! The Fantasie pour piano et orchestre was absolutely gorgeous, a beautiful work. I really enjoyed the two shorter concerti works too, the harp pieces, and also the cimbalon piece, what a great instrument! And the Tarantelle styrienne.. what a brilliant way to end of the set! Highly enjoyable music.

So Debussy is now a definite favourite of mine, I shall definitely be keen to hear more recordings and pieces, although this Martinon set I can imagine being very hard to beat!
Thank you so very much again to John for very kindly giving me this set!  :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 29, 2012, 01:06:30 PM
Daniel, the real question now remaining is: are you madaboutdebussy? ; )
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 29, 2012, 01:12:01 PM
Daniel, the real question now remaining is: are you madaboutdebussy? ; )

I suppose I am, Karl! ;)

If I had to give a top 5 favourite composers list right now, it would probably be Mahler, R.Strauss, Elgar, Debussy and Prokofiev. I'm really madadboutmahler, madaboutstrauss, madaboutelgar, madaboutdebussy, madaboutprokofiev... I think I'm just generally mad.  ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 29, 2012, 01:46:56 PM
Bonkers, but agreeable : )
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 29, 2012, 01:55:33 PM
I finally feel qualified to join in this thread! :D

Recently, I have been exploring this brilliant set of the Debussy orchestral works, as you may have seen on the listening thread. I have enjoyed every second of it, it was my first proper exploration into the work of this incredible composer. And, gosh... the performances... :o Simply divine! I doubt they can get much better than these...



La Mer and the Prelude of course, with the Nocturnes (Fetes is so brilliant!) and Images were obviously amazing. But, also one of the pieces I really really came to adore was Printemps, absolutely beautiful! La Boite a joujoux was certainly an interesting, amusing work, though with many moments of absolute beauty. The Children's Corner Suite orchestration was charming, what a delightful piece! What a great work Khamma is too, many thrilling moments. The Rapsodie for Saxophone and Orchestra is so brilliant, absolutely love this piece. You may have seen my post expressing my happiness about playing in the orchestra for a concert performance of it not so long ago. Was great fun! The Fantasie pour piano et orchestre was absolutely gorgeous, a beautiful work. I really enjoyed the two shorter concerti works too, the harp pieces, and also the cimbalon piece, what a great instrument! And the Tarantelle styrienne.. what a brilliant way to end of the set! Highly enjoyable music.

So Debussy is now a definite favourite of mine, I shall definitely be keen to hear more recordings and pieces, although this Martinon set I can imagine being very hard to beat!
Thank you so very much again to John for very kindly giving me this set!  :)

You're welcome. I'm glad you enjoyed the music, Daniel. Debussy is definitely in my top 10 favorite composers no doubt. I would say that the Boulez Debussy recordings or the Nash Ensemble set of Debussy/Ravel chamber works would be in order next.

Edit: Check these recordings out sometime:





Unfortunately, this Nash Ensemble two CD set is out-of-print, but you should be able to find it used on Amazon MP. It's definitely worth the trouble to find it because the performances are just exquisite.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on March 29, 2012, 10:15:23 PM
Unfortunately, this Nash Ensemble two CD set is out-of-print, but you should be able to find it used on Amazon MP. It's definitely worth the trouble to find it because the performances are just exquisite.
It's included here:

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 30, 2012, 07:00:36 AM
Bonkers, but agreeable : )

:D

Thank you John and Karlo. I shall make sure to pick these up at some point!

Or considering the Boulez orchestral music recordings, would it be a better idea to wait for the DG Debussy/Ravel box set which is coming out in April? This is a set I would certainly want to own, I have been wanting many of these performances for ages!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on March 30, 2012, 07:54:40 AM
:D

Thank you John and Karlo. I shall make sure to pick these up at some point!

Or considering the Boulez orchestral music recordings, would it be a better idea to wait for the DG Debussy/Ravel box set which is coming out in April? This is a set I would certainly want to own, I have been wanting many of these performances for ages!

If you can wait 2 days  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 30, 2012, 08:00:10 AM
:D

Thank you John and Karlo. I shall make sure to pick these up at some point!

Or considering the Boulez orchestral music recordings, would it be a better idea to wait for the DG Debussy/Ravel box set which is coming out in April? This is a set I would certainly want to own, I have been wanting many of these performances for ages!

Well, for me, I like urgency of Boulez's earlier recordings more than I do his later ones, but he still made some fine recordings for DG. It's really up to you. I still think Debussy's chamber music is essential listening for anyone interested in the composer.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 30, 2012, 08:40:38 AM
Well, for me, I like urgency of Boulez's earlier recordings more than I do his later ones, but he still made some fine recordings for DG. It's really up to you. I still think Debussy's chamber music is essential listening for anyone interested in the composer.

Ok, thank you John! I certainly would want the Boulez DG Ravel recordings at some point though.

If you can wait 2 days  8)

hmmmm... ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 30, 2012, 08:55:07 AM
Writing something on this thread is dutiful as this year is the 150th anniversary of Debussy' birth....

I've already mentioned that on Ravel's thread....Claude Debussy in one of my absolute favourite french composer, along with Hector Berlioz and, of course, Maurice Ravel.
His music has always impressed me very much, it's incredibly beautiful and evocative, incredibly poetical and powerfully emotional; like Wagner, he seems to express a sort of continuous melody in his compositions, extremely enchanting, less locked up to the harmonic tonality, but equally moving and impressive. Moreover, it shows a colourful orchestration, a brilliant chromaticism and great harmonies rich of shades, with chord progressions often using dissonances without resolution, absolutely wonderful.
La Mer is one of my favourite Debussy' works, so striking with its ethereal, expressive melodies depicting the sea. Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune is another favourite work of mine, very charming, with amazing chromatic descents and ascents. Though, Nocturnes and Printemps are certainly beautiful as well.
About the piano music, I particularly appreciate Clair de lune, Préludes, Images, Valse Romantique and Children's Corner.

Karajan made some of the most impressive recordings of Debussy' pieces I've ever heard, as well as Martinon. :D

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 30, 2012, 11:02:21 AM
Another very beautiful description, Ilaria! :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Lisztianwagner on March 30, 2012, 11:32:44 AM
Another very beautiful description, Ilaria! :)

Thank you! :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: mc ukrneal on April 01, 2012, 03:14:33 AM
A remarkable number of multi-disc sets coming out this month (not to mention a number of single and double dics releases):
Debussy/Ravel Boulez (DG, 6 discs)
Debussy Complete Piano Gieseking (EMI, 4 discs - SACD)
Debussy Piano Edition (Decca, 6 discs)
Debussy Samson Francois (EMI, 3 discs)
The Debussy Edition (DG, 18 discs)
The Dubssuy Edition Pascual Roge (Onyx, 5 discs)
Debussy, The Piano Works. Philippe Cassard (Decca, 4 discs)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Brewski on August 22, 2012, 05:30:34 AM
Debussy@150!  8)

Listening to Boulez/Cleveland Images (DG), and later, Fournet/Concertgebouw in Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (live recording, 24 February 1995).

--Bruce
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 02, 2013, 05:04:17 PM
Bought this not too long ago:

(http://image.betamonline.com/sdimages/upc14/675754037949.jpg)

Really looking forward to hearing this set. I've read nothing but positive things about Ogawa's performances and I even listened to some of them via NML. I like her touch and, most of all, her feel on the piano. She's not a player consumed with ego. I believe she loves this music and plays it with great emotion.

This set was brought to my attention via Dave (SonicMan) and Jeffrey Smith.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 02, 2013, 06:02:46 PM
I'm definitely entering into a Debussy phase right now...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on January 03, 2013, 07:26:17 AM
Izumi Tateno plays Debussy Preludes

(http://www.farhanmalik.com/hatto/debussy1/sourcecover.jpg)

I'm very keen to hear this CD. If anyone sees it for sale please let me know.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: petrarch on January 03, 2013, 01:22:05 PM
And I for this one, unfortunately sold-out almost immediately since its release:

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 11, 2013, 06:14:45 AM
I've not thought about the pop group Renaissance for an age . . . nor am I quite clear as to how I come to think of them this morning.

But in listening to the clips of their album Ashes Are Burning, I see that they scavenged La cathédrale engloutie for “In the Harbour.”
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: MishaK on February 11, 2013, 07:33:42 AM
Bought this not too long ago:

(http://image.betamonline.com/sdimages/upc14/675754037949.jpg)

Really looking forward to hearing this set. I've read nothing but positive things about Ogawa's performances and I even listened to some of them via NML. I like her touch and, most of all, her feel on the piano. She's not a player consumed with ego. I believe she loves this music and plays it with great emotion.

This set was brought to my attention via Dave (SonicMan) and Jeffrey Smith.

I recently started doing a survey of all Debussy piano recordings on Spotify and was amazed that Ogawa, who I had never heard of before, was almost always among the top four or five "finalists" for each piece, if not the overall winner, alongside such greats as Michelangeli, Richter, Freire, Francois, Monique Haas or Moravec. She just so completely thoroughly internalized Debussy's idiom. She really speaks his musical language with practically native fluency, even if she doesn't always have the verve or virtuosity of some of the great pianists. I bought this set immeidately and it has been my basic go to reference since.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2013, 07:35:46 AM
I recently started doing a survey of all Debussy piano recordings on Spotify and was amazed that Ogawa, who I had never heard of before, was almost always among the top four or five "finalists" for each piece, if not the overall winner, alongside such greats as Michelangeli, Richter, Freire, Francois, Monique Haas or Moravec. She just so completely thoroughly internalized Debussy's idiom. She really speaks his musical language with practically native fluency, even if she doesn't always have the verve or virtuosity of some of the great pianists. I bought this set immeidately and it has been my basic go to reference since.

Yes, I've only heard a few performances from the set but have thoroughly enjoyed them.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Geo Dude on August 15, 2013, 02:33:17 PM
I'm starting to build a Debussy collection and would like to know where to go next.  I have his complete works on piano by Crossley and Michelangeli's partial set, and have my eye on the Bavouzet; this chamber disc (http://www.amazon.com/Sonata-Flute-Viola-Harp-Cello/dp/B000000AD6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376606711&sr=8-2&keywords=debussy+chamber+music) is in the mail and I have the complete orchestral works by Martinon on hand.  Where should I go next?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Parsifal on August 15, 2013, 03:10:24 PM
And obvious item is the Opera, Pelleas et Melisande.  Your chamber music collection is also missing significant items such as the string quartet.  There are some two piano works that are just as interesting as the solo piano music.  Then there are some superb melodies.



And of course there are lots of alternate recordings to the ones you have which it might be fun to explore.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on August 15, 2013, 03:21:08 PM
I'm starting to build a Debussy collection and would like to know where to go next.  I have his complete works on piano by Crossley and Michelangeli's partial set, and have my eye on the Bavouzet; this chamber disc (http://www.amazon.com/Sonata-Flute-Viola-Harp-Cello/dp/B000000AD6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376606711&sr=8-2&keywords=debussy+chamber+music) is in the mail and I have the complete orchestral works by Martinon on hand.  Where should I go next?
Pelleas & Melisande, Le Martyre de saint Sebastian, songs, music for piano four hands / two pianos, the String Quartet, the Piano Trio seem to be the only major omissions. You might consider getting one of the complete edition boxes. The Sony one has fewer songs, and some of the Crossley cycle, so perhaps get the DG box (which has one disc of ABM)?

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Octave on August 15, 2013, 03:30:05 PM
One thing I've enjoyed immensely, several times, maybe pieces of music you do not have yet:

(http://i1274.photobucket.com/albums/y434/8ve/Debussy_Bertini_zps4e4e843d.jpg)
Debussy: L'ENFANT PRODIGUE & LA DAMOISELLE ÉLUE (Orfeo)
w/Jessye Norman, FiDi, Cotrubas, Carreras, Stuttgart dir. Bertini
Amazon ASIN: B00000596M  (maybe a second product page floating around?)

I've been quite slow to look up other performances, so if there's something different/better, I'd like to know about it!  This Orfeo disc is usually a bit spendy at Amazon, so I waited for a Presto label sale.  It's totally been worth the extra bucks.

Also, I am not always hungry for reductions or arrangements/re-orchestrations, even in Debussy (one thing that's made me slow to jump for the Naxos orchestral box), but one of the last things I got was this:


Debussy: COMPLETE MUSIC FOR PIANO DUO [Damerini/Rapetti]  (Brilliant, 3cd)

and I think it's great.  I have a soft spot for two-piano and piano-four-hands music, methinks.  I have been lazy learning about these pieces/arrangements, but it looks like maybe they are all by Debussy's own hand?  Also curious if the performances can be bettered.  The pillowy, shadowy sonorities make it an amphibious little subgenre in his body of work, maybe a nice complement to both the orch/solo-piano stuff you know.

Also I made an arrangement-exception for this disc:


Debussy: CHAMBER MUSIC [Boston Symphony Chamber Players] (DG/Eloquence)

for a remarkable, pungent transcription of the Prelude for a somewhat unusual chamber ensemble (2 violins, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, cymbals, piano, harmonium) done by Benno Sachs, a student of Schoenberg.  I think this Eloquence disc might have been a Mandryka recommendation; perhaps he's mentioned here.

I dig the harmonium!  I once heard a weird chamber arrangement of a Bruckner symphony (#6?) that included harmonium and iirc saxophone.  That sounds like a nightmare but I found it fascinating.  I really need to look that one up again. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Octave on August 15, 2013, 03:41:18 PM
Oh, and LE MARTYRE of course!  I need to get deeper into that piece.  I am sure the Ansermet included in the DG big box is very fine, but I got this more recent recording by MTT, which sounds great:


Debussy: LE MARTYRE DE SEBASTIEN (Michael Tilson-Thomas w/LSO)

The edition I got was from the same Amazon seller now offering it absurdly cheap with free shipping (of the supersaver 'bundled' variety), and this edition came with a neat thickish booklet with the text.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on August 15, 2013, 09:54:38 PM
I'm starting to build a Debussy collection and would like to know where to go next.  I have his complete works on piano by Crossley and Michelangeli's partial set, and have my eye on the Bavouzet; this chamber disc (http://www.amazon.com/Sonata-Flute-Viola-Harp-Cello/dp/B000000AD6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376606711&sr=8-2&keywords=debussy+chamber+music) is in the mail and I have the complete orchestral works by Martinon on hand.  Where should I go next?

Why did you order that chamber disc? (I haven't heard it.) The complete orchestral music from Martinon could be a mistake , because his best Debussy recordings may not really be in that box. You can also do better than Bazouzet  so I say hold off.


I'm very interested in the late works, all I can do is list some performances which I think are a bit interesting.

For the sonata for flute, viola and harp, the recording with Marcel Moyse was a revelation. For St. Senastien and La Mer and Iberia, Inghelbrect was a revelation. I got much much more out of his St Seb than from Tilson-Thomas's . You should hear all Inghelbrecht's Debussy. Maderna also in St Sebasien and La Mer.

For the piano Etudes, the live Pollini recording from Salzburg was a revelation, and his studio record isn't bad either. Rosen in the Etudes too, the REB record. PM me if you want to hear the Rosen.  For Jeux, the live record from Boulez in London in 1964 (PM me again of you can't find it). For the cello sonata, Gendron and Tortelier (did Navarra record it?). The version on that record from The Boston Chamber Players that Octave recommended is also excellent. For the violin sonata Gerard Poulet and Suk and Szigeti. If you're interested in the songs and Peleas let me know, and I'll think harder, there are nice tnings.

As far as stuff like the preludes, images etc go, you've already got Crossley, who's certainly got his own interestingn ideas about how to play the music, so that's good. I would say that Kocsis's preludes seems to me a really amazing recording. At his best, Kocsis strobe-lights the music, digging deep deep down into the harmonies. And he's a gifted communicator. Wonderful! You should hear it urgently. Erincourt is also essential to know, and Cortot's first set of recordings.

Basically, if you wanted one next step with Debussy I would say just get all the Inghelbrect recordings you can find.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Geo Dude on August 16, 2013, 06:21:21 AM
Good to hear about all of this stuff.  It seems that I'm on roughly the right track because most of the stuff recommended is in my hit list wish list.  I would definitely be interested in hearing about areas where I should double up, specifically works for solo piano (complete boxes preferred :)) and orchestra.

(In regards to his solo piano works, I'm interested in Bavouzet but I am yet settled upon that set, so critiques are certainly welcome.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Todd on August 16, 2013, 06:37:30 AM
specifically works for solo piano (complete boxes preferred :))


Complete piano music, well, in addition to the excellent Bavouzet, there's always:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uN4T%2BO4mL._SX300_.jpg)

(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/10/7/4/045.jpg)

(http://img.hmv.co.jp/image/jacket/400/25/7/9/629.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qUFbI8LDL._SY300_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IqMOa9boL._SY300_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41W0AEMENDL.jpg)


Gieseking, in this or the more recent incarnation, is a must have I would say.  Rouvier and Beroff are Japan only as far as I can tell, but both are top flight.  I usually reach for Beroff first when I get a hankerin' for Debussy.  (The Denon cycle is later and better than the EMI recordings, which themselves are pretty darned good.)  Ericourt is superb across the board, but in terrible sound.  Thibaudet has it's strong points, but is not quite as good as the others.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Parsifal on August 16, 2013, 06:46:15 AM

Complete piano music, well, in addition to the excellent Bavouzet, there's always:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51uN4T%2BO4mL._SX300_.jpg)

This one sounds much better.



I listened to the SACD layer but I would presume that CD layer sounds more-or-less identical.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Geo Dude on August 16, 2013, 06:49:12 AM
Todd is nothing if not thorough.  Thanks to the both of you.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on August 16, 2013, 06:59:14 AM
Good to hear about all of this stuff.  It seems that I'm on roughly the right track because most of the stuff recommended is in my hit list wish list.  I would definitely be interested in hearing about areas where I should double up, specifically works for solo piano (complete boxes preferred :)) and orchestra.

(In regards to his solo piano works, I'm interested in Bavouzet but I am yet settled upon that set, so critiques are certainly welcome.)

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/32995837/DEBUSSY+Piano+Music+Vol+1.jpg)

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2008/Feb08/Debussy_Hass_2564699672.jpg)

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/158/MI0001158753.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The Austbø will complement your Crossley in a way.

I quite enjoyed the Rouvier that Todd mentioned too. I've got less pleasure from the post war Gieseking and Bavouzet than everyone else it seems.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Todd on August 16, 2013, 07:10:14 AM
I've got less pleasure from the post war Gieseking and Bavouzet than everyone else it seems.



Gieseking's pre-war Debussy, and his smattering of post-war radio broadcast Debussy, are better than his EMI set, but that written, his EMI set is still one of the benchmark sets, at least in my estimation, plus it's a(n almost) complete set.  For me, the best Gieseking Debussy is:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71SOMHllwaL._SY300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on August 16, 2013, 07:38:41 AM


Gieseking's pre-war Debussy, and his smattering of post-war radio broadcast Debussy, are better than his EMI set, but that written, his EMI set is still one of the benchmark sets, at least in my estimation, plus it's a(n almost) complete set.  For me, the best Gieseking Debussy is:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71SOMHllwaL._SY300_.jpg)

I understand.

What did you think of Philippe Cassard's set, the HIP one on original instruments? I've never heard it.

Here's something really quite interesting I think on authentic Debussy performance, especially what he might have meant by the famous  "without hammers"

http://www.djupdal.org/karstein/debussy/method/m08.shtml

Earlier this year I heard Sokolov play the first Schubert impromptu, which starts with a very loud chord. The sound he made was very loud and powerful, but somehow very soft and mellow at the same time. Burnished, rich, velvety. I thought to myself: now I understand how you can forget that the piano has hammers.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Todd on August 16, 2013, 07:49:25 AM
What did you think of Philippe Cassard's set, the HIP one on original instruments? I've never heard it.



I have the earlier 2-disc set from Accord, with the Preludes and some other key works.  (My understanding is that Decca reissued the same recordings.)  Overall, it's good, and the sound he gets is on the warmer, almost hammerless side, but despite that I was not compelled to buy the complete set.  Something is missing that prevents it from challenging my favorites.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 16, 2013, 03:30:45 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IqMOa9boL._SY300_.jpg)

Thibaudet has it's strong points, but is not quite as good as the others.


One of those strong points is the études. Elusive works for many folks but here just ravishing.


Another I enjoy, even though it's not quite complete:





Sadly the it's OOP and extravagantly priced on the Marketplace, but a paired-down version is here. (http://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Preludes-Childrens-Corner/dp/B007FOV0LM/ref=pd_sim_sbs_m_1)



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 16, 2013, 03:39:21 PM
I've got less pleasure from the post war Gieseking and Bavouzet than everyone else it seems.

I used to have a significant portion of the post-war Gieseking on LP, and even with multiple auditions on CD I've yet to find enough in it to win me over. So I sympathize. I'm just not so keen on his heavy pedal use.

And at this late date I'm too taken with Thibaudet, Kocsis, Egorov, Moravec, Rév, and so on...
 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 16, 2013, 03:46:23 PM
Then there are some superb melodies.


That's a great disc. The songs are definite contenders. I also like these:








Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Todd on August 16, 2013, 04:07:41 PM
Another I enjoy, even though it's not quite complete:







Kocsis is among the very best.  Hopefully, he gets the big box treatment one day.  I'd gladly buy for the few items I don't have.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 16, 2013, 04:36:27 PM


Kocsis is among the very best.  Hopefully, he gets the big box treatment one day.  I'd gladly buy for the few items I don't have.

A Big Box from Kocsis would be nice indeed.



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on August 16, 2013, 10:07:08 PM
Do either of you know his Haydn sonatas CD? I haven't heard it but I noticed that Hungaraton have rereleased it.

Sometimes he can be pretty uninteresting for me  you know, like in Art of Fugue, which seems to me as dry as dry can be.

Thanks for mentioning Thibaudet, who I've never heard. It's on spotify so I'll check the Etudes this weekend.

Like you  I like Rodde's Debussy CD with Noel Lee. Another one I like is from Dawn Upshaw, called "Forgotten Melodies", and the one from Veronoque Gens called "Nuit  d'étoiles". Also  Kruysen and Lee of course, and Schafer with Irwin Gage.

And I would very much like to hear this one, which I've heard good things about, but have never been able to find, from Francis Dudziak. Please let me know if you see it anywhere

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/20/200947.jpg)

I haven't heard the Danco CDs yet
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on August 17, 2013, 05:50:37 AM
When it comes to Debussy's chamber music, it doesn't get any better than this set with the Nash Ensemble:

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Todd on August 17, 2013, 06:41:43 AM
Do either of you know his Haydn sonatas CD?



Yes.  They are vibrant and played with ease, though not Bavouzet-level refinement.  That's not a criticism, just an observation.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 12, 2013, 07:22:57 PM
I'll go ahead and say if I haven't said it before --- Debussy was a genius. From his solo piano music to his chamber works to his orchestral music, he certainly knew how to cast his spell in each of these genres and also how to retain his own signature throughout. I need to give Pelleas et Melisande a spin as it's been far too long.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Artem on December 13, 2013, 09:19:06 PM
I'm fairly new to Debussy's music, but from what I've heard so far, I find Book One of the Preludes to be the most enjoyable of his works for me (I'm listening to Gieseking play them). I've read Paul Roberts short book about Debussy and he calls Preludes "the music of escapism... from an increasingly disordered everyday life".
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 14, 2013, 05:18:30 PM
The Préludes are certainly great favorites of mine, and also the three late Sonates, especially the one for flute, viola & harp.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 14, 2013, 05:51:55 PM
I'm fairly new to Debussy's music, but from what I've heard so far, I find Book One of the Preludes to be the most enjoyable of his works for me (I'm listening to Gieseking play them). I've read Paul Roberts short book about Debussy and he calls Preludes "the music of escapism... from an increasingly disordered everyday life".

Do give his chamber works a try. The Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, Violin Sonata, and the Cello Sonata are magnificent.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on December 14, 2013, 06:05:59 PM
The Préludes are certainly great favorites of mine, and also the three late Sonates, especially the one for flute, viola & harp.
Do give his chamber works a try. The Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp, Violin Sonata, and the Cello Sonata are magnificent.
Agreed.

Other favourites: Deux Dances (Sacrée et profane), Jeux, Trois Nocturnes, La mer, the orchestral Images, and Le Martyre de saint Sebastian. Looks like Sunday will be dedicated to Debussy  :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: NJ Joe on December 14, 2013, 07:39:14 PM
the three late Sonates, especially the one for flute, viola & harp.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AqRq63kYL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Those works are included on this disc, which I enjoy immensely.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 14, 2013, 07:46:55 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AqRq63kYL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Those works are included on this disc, which I enjoy immensely.

(* pounds the table *)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 14, 2013, 08:15:16 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AqRq63kYL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Those works are included on this disc, which I enjoy immensely.

Yep, that's a fine set right there. Top-drawer Debussy and performances.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 16, 2013, 10:15:13 AM
Just cross-posting this from the WAYLT thread, since it'll likely disappear after a couple days.


Re: Haitink's P&M:

Haitink in absolute control of every bar - per his style - but as often happens while listening to him his power of persuasion has me sold pretty much right from the start. Of all the works his "iron grip" would seem most out of place in a work like P&M, which relies so heavily on atmosphere and a revolving door of moods. But seemingly out of nowhere this "control" produces a wonderful sense of freedom and the work has all the spaciousness and moodiness required of it.

Of course the singing plays a huge part in this and overall everything is in good hands.





Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 16, 2013, 10:41:13 AM
That doesn't surprise me at all.  The atmosphere is created by intention and control.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 16, 2013, 10:01:45 PM
That doesn't surprise me at all.  The atmosphere is created by intention and control.

Yes, absolutely.

And Haitink's "intention" and "control" are unlike anyone else's in the business. When it works - as it does with his P&M - it's a thing of matchless beauty.



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on December 17, 2013, 06:08:21 AM
Just cross-posting this from the WAYLT thread, since it'll likely disappear after a couple days.


Re: Haitink's P&M:

Haitink in absolute control of every bar - per his style - but as often happens while listening to him his power of persuasion has me sold lickety split. Of all the works his "iron grip" would seem most out of place in a work like P&M, which relies so heavily on atmosphere and a revolving door of moods. But seemingly out of nowhere this "control" produces a wonderful sense of freedom and the work has all the spaciousness and moodiness required of it.

Of course the singing plays a huge part in this and overall everything is in good hands.






I am one of those people who absoutely love this work and must have half a dozen recordings.  This is could be the one I listen to most often.

 :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 17, 2013, 09:10:15 AM
I am one of those people who absoutely love this work and must have half a dozen recordings.  This is could be the one I listen to most often.

 :)

Yes, same thing with me. I have five recordings of the work, myself (down from six). I like all five but probably Baudo's and Haitink's are my top two faves.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mr Bloom on December 17, 2013, 01:58:38 PM
You can't say that they're is great "intention" and "control" in Haitink's recording : it misses half of Debussy's indications of nuance and phrasing. This recording doesn't survive a listen with the score in hand. There are tons of these indications in P&M, they're essential to the music, and they are simply not played in this recording. On this aspect, it's one of the worst recording of P&M, and overall I think it is subpar.
The most accurate recording I've heard is Abbado's, but the singing is not great. Yet, the orchestra part is probably the closest to what Debussy actually wrote.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 17, 2013, 06:45:21 PM
I have Abbado's and Boulez's Pelleas et Melisande (his first recording and the DVD performance) and never felt a need for another performance. This said, Abbado wins here for me. He conjures up such a wondrous atmosphere and the Berliners aren't slouches either. :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on December 17, 2013, 08:55:06 PM
This said, Abbado wins here for me. He conjures up such a wondrous atmosphere and the Berliners aren't slouches either. :)

It's actually the Wieners. But I get your drift. :)


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 17, 2013, 08:57:15 PM
It's actually the Wieners. But I get your drift. :)

Ah, right you are. A foolish error on my part.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on December 18, 2013, 05:37:12 AM
You can't say that they're is great "intention" and "control" in Haitink's recording : it misses half of Debussy's indications of nuance and phrasing. This recording doesn't survive a listen with the score in hand. There are tons of these indications in P&M, they're essential to the music, and they are simply not played in this recording. On this aspect, it's one of the worst recording of P&M, and overall I think it is subpar.
The most accurate recording I've heard is Abbado's, but the singing is not great. Yet, the orchestra part is probably the closest to what Debussy actually wrote.

Would you provide just one of these examples where what is indicated in the score (and essential to the music) that is ignored by Haitink but observed by Abbado?  I would like to do my own comparison, i.e. to see if Haitink's performance will survive the exercise.

Thanks.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on December 18, 2013, 05:52:48 AM
I found this complete live performance from 2009

https://www.youtube.com/v/d5ymIp1KoW0

Direction musicale : Bertrand de Billy
Orchestre de l'ORTF - Symphonieorchester Wien
Mise en scène au Théatre de Vienne (2009) : Laurent Pelly
Réalisation vidéo-TV au Théatre de Vienne (live, janvier 2009) : Paul Landsmann

Golaud : Roland Naouri (baryton-basse)
Mélisande : Natalie Dessay (soprano)
Pelléas, frère de Golaud : Stéphane Degout (baryton)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mr Bloom on December 21, 2013, 02:22:26 PM
Would you provide just one of these examples where what is indicated in the score (and essential to the music) that is ignored by Haitink but observed by Abbado?  I would like to do my own comparison, i.e. to see if Haitink's performance will survive the exercise.

Thanks.
Sadly I don't have Haitink's recording and couldn't find it online yet.
I will give you examples as soon as I get the recording.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on February 14, 2014, 07:32:36 AM
Debussy ~ Images

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/others/1C1165.gif)

Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra | Emmanuel Krivine

I think all of Debussy's orchestral works have been recorded by Krivine in the Timpani label.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2014, 07:34:30 AM
Debussy ~ Images

(http://cdn.naxosmusiclibrary.com/sharedfiles/images/cds/others/1C1165.gif)

Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra | Emmanuel Krivine

I think all of Debussy's orchestral works have been recorded by Krivine in the Timpani label.

How is that disc of Debussy on Timpani? I don't really need more Debussy, but inquiring minds want to know. :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on February 14, 2014, 07:38:12 AM
How is that disc of Debussy on Timpani? I don't really need more Debussy, but inquiring minds want to know. :)

I have enjoyed Krivine on other recordings, his complete Beethoven Symphonies (with a period instrument group) is a very good set, IMO.  So far, I like this one too, but if you already have these works by a variety of ensembles, I don't see any reason to add this one.  I am listening on NML. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2014, 07:40:47 AM
I have enjoyed Krivine on other recordings, his complete Beethoven Symphonies (with a period instrument group) is a very good set, IMO.  So far, I like this one too, but if you already have these works by a variety of ensembles, I don't see any reason to add this one.  I am listening on NML.

Cool, thanks for the feedback. 8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on February 27, 2014, 09:58:32 AM
I am listening to this on MOG right now ~



So far, I am enjoying the sound of the 1897 Erard very much. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on August 05, 2014, 01:47:27 PM
Recommendations for a relatively modern set of Preludes?

I have Gieseking, but 1950s is often a bridge too far for me in terms of sound quality (it's okay in one of my common listening environments, but not in any of the others). I seem to be perfectly fine with recordings from the late 60s onwards.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kishnevi on August 05, 2014, 02:51:15 PM
I have two complete sets of the Preludes other than Gieseking:  Aimard and Osborne, plus Bavouzet and Ogawa's complete piano works.  Of them I would point to Osborne, but I do like Gieseking most.  Michelangeli also did them all but I have never heard that one,  plus a look at Arkivmusic shows several pianists I have never heard of but I am sure other people here have.
If you are willing to go for Book I alone I would immediately suggest Nelson Friere.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 05, 2014, 08:00:45 PM
Recommendations for a relatively modern set of Preludes?

Kocsis or Thibaudet:






Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: amw on August 05, 2014, 08:13:59 PM
Recommendations for a relatively modern set of Preludes?

Lubimov 4eva

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on August 06, 2014, 12:42:55 AM
Kocsis or Thibaudet:







Am I right in thinking the Thibaudet is also available as part of a larger 'piano works' set?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on August 06, 2014, 07:06:43 AM
Am I right in thinking the Thibaudet is also available as part of a larger 'piano works' set?

Apparently it is. I hadn't realized. It's here:





Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 30, 2014, 11:11:13 AM
I love Debussy so much it hurts but he has some pieces that are, while extremely beautiful, also at the same time depressing or "scary". I feel that way for ex. about the girl with a flaxen hair and clair de lune. Girl with a flaxen hair in particular is simply put a perfect piece IMO and it is so beautiful but it also feels sorrowful, kind of like the girl in question would have a sad smile on her face. I haven't read that much about Debussy's life so I don't know if he had any real person in mind when he wrote that. Clair de lune also has some kind of melancholy in it.

At first Sibelius's Oceanides was more to my liking than la Mer when it comes to impressionistic compositions about water. At first I didn't even think about sea that much when hearing it. But nowadays I love it.

Pelleas et Melisande is one of my favorite operas of all time. It is really impressive Debussy managed to make such an original work, all the more due to the fact it was his first and only completed opera.

However, when it comes to Debussy, I most often so far have listened to his chamber music which includes several masterpieces. In general I think his style fits in well with piano works and chamber music, in smaller ensembles, although I have no problem with his orchestral works.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 30, 2014, 12:20:43 PM
You remind me Alberich I need to listen to Boulez's Pelleas et Melisande at some point. It's certainly a wonderful opera full of magical colors, textures, and atmosphere.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 30, 2014, 12:41:47 PM
You remind me Alberich I need to listen to Boulez's Pelleas et Melisande at some point. It's certainly a wonderful opera full of magical colors, textures, and atmosphere.

Pelleas is Debussy's greatest work, hands down.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 30, 2014, 01:18:29 PM
Pelleas is Debussy's greatest work, hands down.

Perhaps, but my favorite Debussy work is Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp. This never fails to put me under its spell and take my mind away to some distant land.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on December 30, 2014, 05:42:15 PM
Perhaps, but my favorite Debussy work is Sonata for Flute, Viola, and Harp. This never fails to put me under its spell and take my mind away to some distant land.

I just listened to it. Splendid, certainly. And the combination of instruments is certainly interesting.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on December 30, 2014, 05:55:24 PM
I just listened to it. Splendid, certainly. And the combination of instruments is certainly interesting.

Excellent. I'm glad you enjoyed it. If there's one work by Debussy that gives me any problems whatsoever it is Jeux, but even I'm warming to this one. Such an enigmatic work.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on January 02, 2015, 08:35:43 AM
Pelleas is Debussy's greatest work, hands down.
Says someone whose forum name is Alberich.  ::)
If I had to choose I'd take the piano & chamber music.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 03, 2015, 08:45:13 AM
Says someone whose forum name is Alberich.  ::)

Not sure whether you're implying that it is obvious that my favorite work from Debussy is opera because my forum name is after an opera character, or whether it's ironic for Wagner fan to like it considering Debussy deliberately composed Pelleas as anti-wagnerian sounding as possible.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on January 03, 2015, 09:59:17 AM
..., or whether it's ironic for Wagner fan to like it considering Debussy deliberately composed Pelleas as anti-wagnerian sounding as possible.
Yes, but if there hadn't been a Parsifal, there would never have been a Pelléas et Mélisande!  :D

I tend to agree with Alberich: I think the opera ranks very, very high among Claude de France's works. I would add the Études for piano and, yes, Jeux! Don't make me choose between these three works, though...

Cheers,
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 10:17:46 AM
Am I alone in thinking that La damoiselle élue is one of the best things Debussy composed? I mean it's just drop-dead gorgeous.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 03, 2015, 10:22:27 AM
Listened recently to Debussy's Images for piano. Most impressive. Perhaps I'll move next to orchestral ones.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 10:29:28 AM
Listened recently to Debussy's Images for piano. Most impressive. Perhaps I'll move next to orchestral ones.

Images is an amazing work. The orchestral version is a feast for the ears. Enjoy!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 03, 2015, 10:39:50 AM
Images is an amazing work. The orchestral version is a feast for the ears. Enjoy!

Thank you. I'll listen to la damoiselle elue first, though, after reading your post about it. So far I'm enthralled. This is a bit worrying. Surely there is Debussy work I do not love? Well, images for piano did not instantly receive my unconditional love but after a few relistenings 'tis not anymore so.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 10:50:52 AM
Thank you. I'll listen to la damoiselle elue first, though, after reading your post about it. So far I'm enthralled. This is a bit worrying. Surely there is Debussy work I do not love? Well, images for piano did not instantly receive my unconditional love but after a few relistenings 'tis not anymore so.

The Upshaw/Salonen performance of La damoiselle élue is something else and remains my reference for the work. What performance are you listening to? There will always be works that give problems on the first, second, and even third hearings, but, with a composer like Debussy, the more I listen, the more I begin to fall under the music's spell. It certainly doesn't take long at all or at least this is how it is in my own listening.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 03, 2015, 11:01:02 AM
The Upshaw/Salonen performance of La damoiselle élue is something else and remains my reference for the work. What performance are you listening to?

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/958/MI0000958583.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)


 8)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 11:12:06 AM
(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0000/958/MI0000958583.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)


 8)

Thumbs up! 8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Abuelo Igor on January 03, 2015, 11:41:01 AM
Images is an amazing work. The orchestral version is a feast for the ears. Enjoy!

I was quite certain that the only thing in common between the orchestral Images and the piano Images was basically the title...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on January 03, 2015, 01:56:14 PM
Thumbs up! 8)
Wonderful performance indeed! Upshaw and Salonen get this really right. There's only one version that I rank even higher: Bidù Sayão  under Ormandy on Columbia...ravishing! Sayão's sweet but also crystal clear voice, and her caressing of every word, are almost miraculous...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KQK2r-dWL._SS280.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/rBZjSH7EkzY

As for La Damoiselle being one of Debussy's greatest creations, well...it is gorgeous, no doubt, but stands well below the great achievements of late Debussy, where the compsoer has perfected his very personal and groundbreaking style...and the text, with it's bizarre erotic mysticism, is questionable (to put it mildly)...

I was quite certain that the only thing in common between the orchestral Images and the piano Images was basically the title...
Indeed...the orchestral Images are not an orchestral version of the piano Images...completely unrelated works...  ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 02:02:18 PM
Wonderful performance indeed! Upshaw and Salonen get this really right. There's only one version that I rank even higher than this: Bidù Sayão  under Ormandy on Columbia...ravishing! Sayão sweet but also very clear voice, and her caressing of every word, are almost miraculous...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51KQK2r-dWL._SS280.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/v/rBZjSH7EkzY

As for La Damoiselle being one of Debussy's greatest creations, well...it is gorgeous, no doubt, but stands well below the great achievements of late Debussy, where the compsoer has perfected his very personal and groundbreaking style...and the text, with it's bizarre erotic mysticism, is questionable (to put it mildly)...

Thanks, I'll check out this performance at some point and if really enjoy it, I may seek out the recording of it. It doesn't really matter to me whether something is groundbreaking or scores lower in rank compared to some of his other works. Debussy is always worth a listen and the same goes for so many of my other favorite composers. Good music is good music...it's that simple.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on January 03, 2015, 02:21:30 PM
Thanks, I'll check out this performance at some point and if really enjoy it, I may seek out the recording of it. It doesn't really matter to me whether something is groundbreaking or scores lower in rank compared to some of his other works. Debussy is always worth a listen and the same goes for so many of my other favorite composers. Good music is good music...it's that simple.
I hope you enjoy the Sayão ...it's one of my desert island discs, actually (and the Mozart arias--Susanna and Zerlina--that accompany it are also fantastic)...And you being an admirer of Villa-Lobos, you should check out (if you haven't yet) her Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 conducted by the composer...outstanding! (even if it's incomplete: when they recorded the piece, only the first movement, Aria, had been composed).

Agree that Debussy is always worth a listen  :), disagree about it being "that simple"  ;)

Cheers,

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 03, 2015, 03:16:58 PM
I hope you enjoy the Sayão ...it's one of my desert island discs, actually (and the Mozart arias--Susanna and Zerlina--that accompany it are also fantastic)...And you being an admirer of Villa-Lobos, you should check out (if you haven't yet) her Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 conducted by the composer...outstanding! (even if it's incomplete: when they recorded the piece, only the first movement, Aria, had been composed).

Agree that Debussy is always worth a listen  :), disagree about it being "that simple"  ;)

Cheers,

Thanks, will do, Ritter and, yes, it's not really 'that simple'. ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 10, 2015, 03:08:36 PM
Are there any complete recordings of "Le martyre de saint Sébastien" available?  We seemingly always listen to recordings of the Orchestral Suites or fragments of the work? I understand that the full work actually is very long (five hours according to a Monteux booklet!!). Is that correct or a misprint?  Does anybody know if there is an accessible full recorded version out there?   The booklet I have states that Monteux at one point recorded the full score with the London SO, but does not mention a date? I cannot find such a full version in the Monteux discographies that I have researched so far. Is that recording available anywhere?








Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 10, 2015, 03:23:57 PM
There are two fairly recent recordings:

Michael Tilson Thomas



And this one which has a more French cast



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 10, 2015, 03:36:26 PM
There are two fairly recent recordings:

Michael Tilson Thomas



And this one which has a more French cast



Thanks!  8)     Yes, I believe both of those are the brief version. I am looking for a full length recording (if such a recording actually exists).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 10, 2015, 04:36:16 PM
Both of those versions include the narration and are the standard performing version, IOW not the symphonic fragments which is what I assumed you meant by the "short version". 

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 10, 2015, 04:50:58 PM
Are there any complete recordings of "Le martyre de saint Sébastien" available?  We seemingly always listen to recordings of the Orchestral Suites or fragments of the work? I understand that the full work actually is very long (five hours according to a Monteux booklet!!). Is that correct or a misprint?  Does anybody know if there is an accessible full recorded version out there?   The booklet I have states that Monteux at one point recorded the full score with the London SO, but does not mention a date? I cannot find such a full version in the Monteux discographies that I have researched so far. Is that recording available anywhere?

Must be some kind of misprint. I've never heard of the work lasting longer than a Ring opera.

Anserment recorded the full score:



Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 10, 2015, 04:55:33 PM
Five hours?  Should be five acts or parts.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 10, 2015, 04:56:39 PM
Must be some kind of misprint. I've never heard of the work lasting longer than a Ring opera.

Anserment recorded the full score:




Yes, it sounded a bit extreme, but that is what it said..   >:D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ken B on May 10, 2015, 05:37:51 PM
Five hours?  Should be five acts or parts.

La Mer lasts just over 6 hours.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 10, 2015, 07:26:16 PM
La Mer lasts just over 6 hours.

It is because it slows down time....   ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jo498 on May 10, 2015, 10:08:03 PM
Depends on the season. If dawn is at 4:30 La mer lasts almost 8 hours...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 10, 2015, 10:30:14 PM
Are there any complete recordings of "Le martyre de saint Sébastien" available?  We seemingly always listen to recordings of the Orchestral Suites or fragments of the work? I understand that the full work actually is very long (five hours according to a Monteux booklet!!). Is that correct or a misprint?  Does anybody know if there is an accessible full recorded version out there?   The booklet I have states that Monteux at one point recorded the full score with the London SO, but does not mention a date? I cannot find such a full version in the Monteux discographies that I have researched so far. Is that recording available anywhere?
Well, I think the explanation for this is that, performed in it's entirety as a play, Le Martyre should be rather long. AFAIK, there's no modern recording of the whole thing (i.e., all the music and all the spoken text). When we get complete versions of the piece, I think they're complete (or nearly so) as far as the music is concerned, with the text substituted by narration (that's the case for Inghelbrecht live on Montaigne, MTT, Ansermet, Boulez live on Col Legno, Mercier on RCA--of the versions in my collection). There was an old Cluytens recording on French Columbia, never transferred to CD and which I've never heard--but did see in a familiy friend's collection many years ago--, which spanned 3 LPs; I suppose this is a close as a recorded version ever came to what the original concept of Le Martyre was (but even here the text is abriged)...

(http://img.cdandlp.com/2016/07/imgL/118237486.jpg)

A French language forum (unkonwn to me until now) discsussed this some time ago. One poster sums the Cluytens up in this classic line: "J'ai aussi la version Cluytens, belle oubliée, mais l'overdose de texte parlé devient vite indigeste". More info here (http://classik.forumactif.com/t5633-debussy-le-martyre-de-saint-sebastien-integrale)

The cast is the following:

Debussy, Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien (version abrégée par Véra Korène), Véra Korène (Le Saint), Henriette Barreau (La Mère douloureuse), Jean Marchat (L'Empereur), Rita Gohr [sic], Solange Michel (Les Gémeaux), Jacques Eyser (Le Préfet), Martha Angelici (La voix de la vierge Erigone), Maria Casarès (La fille malade des fièvres), Mattiwilda Dobbs (Vox Coelestis), Jacqueline Brumaire (Vox Sola), Paul Guers (Sanaé), Lucienne Jourfier (Anima Sebastiani), Choeurs Raymond Saint-Paul, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, André Cluytens (vers 1952)

Some inetersting and intriguing names here (Maria Casarès among  the actresses, soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs). But one poster in that forum states that there are 15 minutes spans in the recording of all talk and no music.  ::)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 01:17:01 AM
Thanks ritter for doing the research.  After reading your post I do remember Debussy's music being described as incidental music to a play when I first was interested in the work and read its history.  I think it contains some of his best music, and find the symphonic suite to be a good way to hear the best chunks of this music.  However, the usual version performed as "complete" with the narrations include much more of the music, and the narrations are comparatively short, 3 minutes is about the longest, IIRC, and do add some context that could enhance an appreciation of the music.

I'd stay away from two recordings, though, Bernstein and Cambreling since Bernstein re-wrote the narration in English and Cambreling's is in German.  Unless you happen to want to hear the narration in precisely those languages.

Not too long ago I listened to as many of the available long versions as I could find and chose MTT and Gatti as my favorites.  Ansermet and the other older recordings suffer from old sound IMO and the music is so beautiful I felt it marred the experience.  The Cluytens IMO is out of the question since I am not interested in the dialogue, per se, and is in old sound and merely adds more of the talking which is not the point, IMO.

If I had to choose and recommend just one it would be Gatti, released in 2012, it has modern sound and a mostly French team, but the MTT was released in 1993 and has very good sound and overall a very good recording too.

Which is why in my original post those were the ones I suggested.

 ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 01:20:10 AM
I hope you enjoy the Sayão ...it's one of my desert island discs, actually (and the Mozart arias--Susanna and Zerlina--that accompany it are also fantastic)...And you being an admirer of Villa-Lobos, you should check out (if you haven't yet) her Bachianas Brasileiras No.5 conducted by the composer...outstanding! (even if it's incomplete: when they recorded the piece, only the first movement, Aria, had been composed).

Agree that Debussy is always worth a listen  :), disagree about it being "that simple"  ;)

Cheers,

Agree about Sayão.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 11, 2015, 01:46:29 AM
Thanks for recommending the Gatti, which is (still) absent from my collection, sanantonio. I have a soft spot for the MTT, which I think is the all-around best Martyre I know, and a female diseuse--Leslie Caron here--appears at first sight more coherent with the "original" conception of the work (it was an Ida Rubinstein commission--we owe this lady a hell of a lot of interetsting pieces!) . The Boulez (hard to find, and which IIRC you and I discussed some time ago) is also good (but you know I'm never impartial when good ol' Pierre is concerned)  ;) ).

The French in that froum also mention an Orrmandy /  Vera Zorina recording on Columbia (also not transferred to CD) that looks appealing (I have that tandem's pioneering Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher on Prostine Audio, and it has its charms).

In any case, I agree that Le Martyre has some excellent music (top-drawer Debussy at times)...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 11, 2015, 02:04:38 AM
Agree about Sayão.
:) Here she is (she steps in at ca. 9:40):

https://www.youtube.com/v/rBZjSH7EkzY
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 02:06:31 AM
I am listening to MTT right now and agree that his soloists are excellent, including Ms. Caron who brings a certain cache to the narrration. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 11, 2015, 02:57:14 AM
It occurred to me, Pelleas is often compared to Parsifal, even though they are very different. But I think it can likewise be compared to Tristan. And the opening measures of the opera actually sound very similar to Tristan's words "So starben wir, um ungetrennt", from act 2. And of course there is the whole love triangle-thing which of course is cliché older than dirt.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 11, 2015, 03:05:53 AM
. . . And of course there is the whole love triangle-thing which of course is cliché older than dirt.

The point is not so much that the general story is nothing new — all storylines boil down to one or more of a small handful of scenari — but the artistry with which it's done, of course.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 03:55:11 AM
:) Here she is (she steps in at ca. 9:40):

https://www.youtube.com/v/rBZjSH7EkzY

I have that one and the Villa-Lobos too,  but haven't listened to either in too long of a time.

 ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 11, 2015, 04:22:32 AM
It occurred to me, Pelleas is often compared to Parsifal, even though they are very different. But I think it can likewise be compared to Tristan. And the opening measures of the opera actually sound very similar to Tristan's words "So starben wir, um ungetrennt", from act 2. And of course there is the whole love triangle-thing which of course is cliché older than dirt.
I'll have to check that Tristan - Pelléas connection you point out, Alberich! Very interesting... As for the Parsifal - Pelléas connecttion, though, the first interlude in Act 1 of Debussy's opera must be inspired in the transformation music of Parsifal... I cannot think of any other explanation... ;)
— but the artistry with which it's done, of course.
Artistry which, IMHO, is superb both in Tristan and Pelléas...new angles to an age-old stroy!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 04:59:10 AM
The Tristan:Pelleas connection mainly involves aspects of the plot: the love triangle with an intended bride/wife being in love with a younger trusted relation (much younger half-brother in Pelleas and "adopted son" or ward in Tristan).  But the love/death aspect and the ridiculous philosophy of Wagner's that drives so much of the plot of Tristan is thankfully not found at all in Pelleas. 

Musically, Debussy was slightly more influenced by Parsifal, which he heard shortly before beginning Pelleas - but Debussy strove to distance himself as far from Wagner as possible.  Tristan has some of Wagner's most impressionistic music it is much more expressionistic than anything in Debussy.  The other similarity between Parsifal and Pelleas is the amount of sung speech in Parsifal, and with Pelleas entirely done as expressive recitative.  But Wagner is always more operatic with soaring melodies and dramatic singing than Pelleas which is purposely more restrained and understated.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 11, 2015, 05:41:13 AM
The Tristan:Pelleas connection mainly involves aspects of the plot: the love triangle with an intended bride/wife being in love with a younger trusted relation (much younger half-brother in Pelleas and "adopted son" or ward in Tristan).  But the love/death aspect and the ridiculous philosophy of Wagner's that drives so much of the plot of Tristan is thankfully not found at all in Pelleas. 

Musically, Debussy was slightly more influenced by Parsifal, which he heard shortly before beginning Pelleas - but Debussy strove to distance himself as far from Wagner as possible.  Tristan has some of Wagner's most impressionistic music it is much more expressionistic than anything in Debussy.  The other similarity between Parsifal and Pelleas is the amount of sung speech in Parsifal, and with Pelleas entirely done as expressive recitative.  But Wagner is always more operatic with soaring melodies and dramatic singing than Pelleas which is purposely more restrained and understated.
All very interesting, sanantonio, thanks...but I take strong exception to the use of the term "ridiculous philosphy" in relation to Tristan...  >:(  >:D ;D  ;) I think the Tristan libretto is, poetically, perhaps Wagner's greatest achievement.

It is clear that Debussy wanted to distance himself from Wagner, but it is also known that he admired Parsifal (particularly the desolate prelude to Act 3), and it's obvious he couldn't avoid Wagner's long shadow...

And, even good ol' Claude couldn't surpress the occasional "operatic" outburst. For instance, Pelléas's soaring exclamation "Et maintenant je t'ai trouvée...Je l'ai trouvée!...", which ijn its intensity is really striking in  live performace, and is very effective.

Cheers,
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 05:59:53 AM
I'm sorry, but to the extent Wagner was channeling Schopenhauer, Wagner becomes ridiculous (not the poetry, but with the ideas), of course this is all IMHO.  The music is glorious, and that's enough for me, although I prefer Pelleas to all other operatic works.

 ;)

I am writing an article which will deal with Wagner, Mahler and Debussy: comparing and contrasting these three composers and in general how the German and French lines of tradition through these composers led to different but mutually important strands in the 20th century, and even the 21st.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 11, 2015, 06:03:00 AM
And I forgot: Tristan is actually a love square. :P
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on May 11, 2015, 06:04:48 AM
And I forgot: Tristan is actually a love square. :P

The more, the merrier . . . well, no:  it doesn't end at all merrily, does it?

http://www.youtube.com/v/ufDIxGLcUHE
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on May 11, 2015, 06:11:31 AM
the first interlude in Act 1 of Debussy's opera must be inspired in the transformation music of Parsifal... I cannot think of any other explanation... ;)

The strings in the background in interlude remind me of Siegfried's Waldweben section.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 11, 2015, 06:26:23 AM
I am writing an article which will deal with Wagner, Mahler and Debussy: comparing and contrasting these three composers and in general how the German and French lines of tradition through these composers led to different but mutually important strands in the 20th century, and even the 21st.
I look forward to reading this when it is completed--even if it turns out to be of Wagnerian or Mahlerian proportions  :D (if you care to share it, of course  ;) ).

Cheers,

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 11, 2015, 07:17:30 AM
Well, I think the explanation for this is that, performed in it's entirety as a play, Le Martyre should be rather long. AFAIK, there's no modern recording of the whole thing (i.e., all the music and all the spoken text). When we get complete versions of the piece, I think they're complete (or nearly so) as far as the music is concerned, with the text substituted by narration (that's the case for Inghelbrecht live on Montaigne, MTT, Ansermet, Boulez live on Col Legno, Mercier on RCA--of the versions in my collection). There was an old Cluytens recording on French Columbia, never transferred to CD and which I've never heard--but did see in a familiy friend's collection many years ago--, which spanned 3 LPs; I suppose this is a close as a recorded version ever came to what the original concept of Le Martyre was (but even here the text is abriged)...

(http://collectorsfrenzy.com/gallery/370441423594.jpg)

A French language forum (unkonwn to me until now) discsussed this some time ago. One poster sums the Cluytens up in this classic line: "J'ai aussi la version Cluytens, belle oubliée, mais l'overdose de texte parlé devient vite indigeste". More info here (http://classik.forumactif.com/t5633-debussy-le-martyre-de-saint-sebastien-integrale)

The cast is the following:

Debussy, Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien (version abrégée par Véra Korène), Véra Korène (Le Saint), Henriette Barreau (La Mère douloureuse), Jean Marchat (L'Empereur), Rita Gohr [sic], Solange Michel (Les Gémeaux), Jacques Eyser (Le Préfet), Martha Angelici (La voix de la vierge Erigone), Maria Casarès (La fille malade des fièvres), Mattiwilda Dobbs (Vox Coelestis), Jacqueline Brumaire (Vox Sola), Paul Guers (Sanaé), Lucienne Jourfier (Anima Sebastiani), Choeurs Raymond Saint-Paul, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, André Cluytens (vers 1952)

Some inetersting and intriguing names here (Maria Casarès among  the actresses, soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs). But one poster in that forum states that their are 15 minutes spans in the recording of all talk and no music.  ::)

Thank you Ritter!  Plenty to explore but likely hard to find. I wonder why the booklet mentioned a complete Monteux version with the LSO? Perhaps it has been extinguished in some old vault...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 11, 2015, 07:20:45 AM
Thanks ritter for doing the research.  After reading your post I do remember Debussy's music being described as incidental music to a play when I first was interested in the work and read its history.  I think it contains some of his best music, and find the symphonic suite to be a good way to hear the best chunks of this music.  However, the usual version performed as "complete" with the narrations include much more of the music, and the narrations are comparatively short, 3 minutes is about the longest, IIRC, and do add some context that could enhance an appreciation of the music.

I'd stay away from two recordings, though, Bernstein and Cambreling since Bernstein re-wrote the narration in English and Cambreling's is in German.  Unless you happen to want to hear the narration in precisely those languages.

Not too long ago I listened to as many of the available long versions as I could find and chose MTT and Gatti as my favorites.  Ansermet and the other older recordings suffer from old sound IMO and the music is so beautiful I felt it marred the experience.  The Cluytens IMO is out of the question since I am not interested in the dialogue, per se, and is in old sound and merely adds more of the talking which is not the point, IMO.

If I had to choose and recommend just one it would be Gatti, released in 2012, it has modern sound and a mostly French team, but the MTT was released in 1993 and has very good sound and overall a very good recording too.

Which is why in my original post those were the ones I suggested.

 ;)

I actually found the Bernstein version interesting to listen to. It gave me a sense of the play and narration (as I do not know French), which in turn allowed me to appreciate the original in a different fashion. Bernstein's recording does in no way replace a recording in the original French, but rather enhances the listening experience of the original (IMHO).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on May 11, 2015, 08:11:02 AM
The more, the merrier . . . well, no:  it doesn't end at all merrily, does it?
A case of too many cooks, I think.  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 11, 2015, 08:38:56 AM
Thank you Ritter!  Plenty to explore but likely hard to find. I wonder why the booklet mentioned a complete Monteux version with the LSO? Perhaps it has been extinguished in some old vault...
My pleasure... :)

And a little bonus: the complete Cluytens thing (with all that spoken text   :D ) can be listened to here (http://www.mqcd-musique-classique.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6106)    :)

As for Monteux, I find no trace whatsover of a complete Martyre with the LSO (except, surpsiningly, a passing mention in the Spanish Wikipedia--but with no reference provided  ??? )... I'm afraid it's a confusion with his well-known recprding of the symphonic fragments (originally on Philips, now on Australian Eloquence)...

Amicalement,
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: pjme on May 11, 2015, 09:26:03 AM
(http://p9.storage.canalblog.com/97/69/1210564/94038555.jpg)

(http://p9.storage.canalblog.com/91/36/1210564/94038558_o.jpg)

Véra Korène, (French/Russian actress Rebecca Vera Koretsky,  (17 july 1901  Bakhmut/Ukraine-20 novembre 1996 Louveciennes.)

The version of Cluytens was made after a series of representations at the Theâtre de Fourvière in Lyons / july 1952.

(http://wikitravel.org/upload/shared//thumb/9/92/LyonRomanTheatre.jpg/250px-LyonRomanTheatre.jpg)

Thanks for sharing an audio file!

P.


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Abuelo Igor on May 11, 2015, 09:30:17 AM
All of which reminds me I should be giving this CD another spin one of these days:

(http://rymimg.com/lk/f/l/0d8d9c68b991d2df67521c8ecbe12a28/3778754.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 09:37:06 AM
All of which reminds me I should be giving this CD another spin one of these days:

(http://rymimg.com/lk/f/l/0d8d9c68b991d2df67521c8ecbe12a28/3778754.jpg)

I've never heard the Debussy Fall of the House of Usher, and didn't even know it had been recorded.  I am assuming someone other than Debussy prepared it for performance - who was it?  I will definitely look for that recording, thanks.

 ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 09:42:13 AM
For anyone interested in Debussy's Usher:

https://www.youtube.com/v/VA68Qc0m6bA
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on May 11, 2015, 09:45:41 AM
I've never heard the Debussy Fall of the House of Usher, and didn't even know it had been recorded.  I am assuming someone other than Debussy prepared it for performance - who was it?  I will definitely look for that recording, thanks.

 ;)
La chute de la maison Usher (in the reconstruction by Juan Allende-Blin) Jean-Philippe Lafont, François Le Roux, Christine Barbaux, Pierre-Yves le Maigat, Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Georges Prêtre (EMI, 1984)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_chute_de_la_maison_Usher_(opera)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 11, 2015, 09:49:33 AM
La chute de la maison Usher (in the reconstruction by Juan Allende-Blin) Jean-Philippe Lafont, François Le Roux, Christine Barbaux, Pierre-Yves le Maigat, Monte Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Georges Prêtre (EMI, 1984)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_chute_de_la_maison_Usher_(opera)

Ah, thanks.  The Robert Orledge version might be the one to have (which was done after Allende-Blin's), and that's what is in the in the video posted above - but it would be interesting to compare the two.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Abuelo Igor on May 11, 2015, 02:21:20 PM
Another "posthumous reconstruction" that I've had for ages:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Wal7bWWZL._SY300_.jpg)

Wikipedia says that "all that survives" of Le diable dans le beffroi is "three pages of sketches", but, a few paragraphs later, it is stated that a performing version was premiered in 2012 in Montreal. Any recordings of this?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on May 12, 2015, 02:28:15 AM
I wonder why the booklet mentioned a complete Monteux version with the LSO? Perhaps it has been extinguished in some old vault...

Or perhaps whoever wrote the booklet just got their facts wrong. It would hardly be the first time.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 15, 2015, 05:53:02 AM
Anyone know anything of Noël des enfants qui n'ont plus de maison?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on June 15, 2015, 06:04:39 AM
Anyone know anything of Noël des enfants qui n'ont plus de maison?

Here's roughly translated page (https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/No%C3%ABl_des_enfants_qui_n'ont_plus_de_maison) from the Italian Wiki.

A better description (http://www.allmusic.com/composition/no%C3%ABl-des-enfants-qui-nont-plus-de-maison-for-voice-piano-l-139-mc0002362157).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 15, 2015, 07:29:19 AM
Merci!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bogey on July 07, 2015, 04:29:45 AM


Any reflections on these performances appreciated:

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/AHIR_046__106810__06052015010729-176.jpg)

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/AORG_169-45__94062__08292013035840-9846.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Drasko on July 07, 2015, 07:44:57 AM

Any reflections on these performances appreciated:

(http://store.acousticsounds.com/images/large/AHIR_046__106810__06052015010729-176.jpg)

I find it a bit ponderous, but many obviously disagree as it was released in EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Bogey on July 07, 2015, 11:16:30 AM
I find it a bit ponderous, but many obviously disagree as it was released in EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series.

EMI's opinion of their own body of work does not hold much here.  Yours does.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ken B on July 07, 2015, 12:14:58 PM
I find it a bit ponderous, but many obviously disagree as it was released in EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series.

La Mer ponderous? Do tell ...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 07, 2015, 12:37:37 PM
La Mer ponderous? Do tell ...

Nah, Giulini is a sprinter compared to the conductor of my favorite La Mer:

De l'aube à midi sur la mer: Giulini LA 9:26, Celibidache 12:42.

Now that is taking the très lent marking seriously  8)

Sarge
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Christo on July 07, 2015, 12:40:37 PM
Nah, Giulini is a sprinter compared to the conductor of my favorite La Mer:

De l'aube à midi sur la mer: Giulini LA 9:26, Celibidache 12:42.

Sarge

De  l'aube au soir?  ;D


Edit: oops, le soir. #ofcourse
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 07, 2015, 12:44:07 PM
De l'aube à la soir?   ;D

 ;D :D ;D   ....till damn near bedtime.

Sarge
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: EigenUser on July 07, 2015, 02:23:31 PM
Nah, Giulini is a sprinter compared to the conductor of my favorite La Mer:

De l'aube à midi sur la mer: Giulini LA 9:26, Celibidache 12:42.

Now that is taking the très lent marking seriously  8)

Sarge
Satie made a witty (as usual) remark "I really liked the part that was quarter past 10." or something like that.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Sergeant Rock on July 07, 2015, 02:31:47 PM
Satie made a witty (as usual) remark "I really liked the part that was quarter past 10." or something like that.

That's great  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 08, 2015, 03:07:29 AM
That Satie was such a carte!  8)

La mer is one of the few Celibidache recordings I have heard, and it is revelatory.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on July 08, 2015, 05:44:58 AM
That Satie was such a carte!  8)

La mer is one of the few Celibidache recordings I have heard, and it is revelatory.

You haven't heard Celibidache's Bruckner, Karl?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Uhor on January 29, 2016, 05:42:44 PM
As subtle as Mozart, unsurpassed in harmony, rhythmically rich, in his best a giant to stand on.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on January 30, 2016, 09:57:55 AM
I think Debussy's musical language is among the most varied in history of music. Debussy uses so extremely rich colors in his compositions that I fall in love with them instantly. He always manages to surprise me. There is only one composer whose variety of musical language I place higher than Debussy's.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on February 01, 2016, 06:06:59 PM
Curious if anyone has ever heard this?



It seems to be the only recording. I looked on streaming sites and iTunes for a sample but couldn't find it. Only the CD.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on February 02, 2016, 02:00:07 AM
Curious if anyone has ever heard this?



It seems to be the only recording. I looked on streaming sites and iTunes for a sample but couldn't find it. Only the CD.
I have, some years ago (it wasn't easy to get). Unorchetsrated; it was done posthumously--very posthumously  :D--by Edison Denisov for the world première in 1993 (from which this recording emanated). Catulle Mendès libretto is not that great, and the opera is miles away from Pelléas or mature Debussy in general. A historical curiosity, not much more than that (but I must relisten sometime soon, as it's beeen a while).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on February 02, 2016, 02:04:53 AM
Yeah, I knew Debussy didn't orchestrate it (true of quite a few of his works, it seems), but it was interesting because apparently he did complete quite a lot of music for it, unlike some of his other abandoned projects.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 18, 2016, 05:26:41 AM
Any recommendations for collections of Debussy's songs?

They don't have to be complete, but anyone who splits apart a set that Debussy composed loses points immediately.

Being a constant fan of the Hyperion label, I've got my eye on the (so far) 3 volumes with Malcolm Martineau as pianist, but I don't recall having seen mention of them around here.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Spineur on March 19, 2016, 01:06:03 AM
Not complete, but the best.  Nobody understand this music like Gérard Souzay.
I would also be interested in a recommendation for Debussy's "chansons de bilitis" after Pierre Louys, a truely erotic piece.  The music in Lydian and Dorian modes, also used in the Preludes.  I used to have them in vynil...

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 19, 2016, 02:32:02 AM
Funnily enough, Chansons de Bilitis are the only melodies I already have! I recently bought them on this disc of Regine Crespin, of which there are a couple of different editions:



However, I don't have anything to compare it to. But having listened to the Debussy and Poulenc so far, I've enjoyed it a lot.

EDIT: I will consider the Souzay, but the program does have the bits-and-pieces approach I specifically don't like. Such as doing just 2 songs out of the 6 Ariettes Oubliees.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Spineur on March 19, 2016, 03:51:58 AM
Thank you Orfeo.  Yes the bits and pieces syndrome is really annoying in many CD releases today.  I suspect it has to do with the record industry and not with the performers who usually go in depth a complete cycle.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 19, 2016, 04:17:10 AM
I'm less sure about that. I suspect that in some cases, a singer finds certain songs that suit their voice but shy away from the complete collection/cycle because other songs won't suit them so well.

Come to think of it, many of the complete collections I'm aware of are based on a single pianist, and multiple singers. The Hyperion sets have gone that way (with Graham Johnson dominating as pianist - Schubert, Schumann, Faure, Poulenc, Brahms in progress and others I've probably forgotten), and there's also an excellent Rachmaninov set with Iain Burnside as pianist and 7 different singers. He's now working on an equivalent Medtner collection which I am very much looking forward to.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on April 13, 2016, 01:32:32 PM
This might be of interest to admirers of "Claude de France" (cross-posted from the "New Releases" thread):

The two operas by Claude Debussy based on works by Edgar Allan Poe, completed by Robert Orledge:

(https://media1.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/7619990103429.jpg)
Fragments of the Usher piece have long been available on CD conducted by Prêtre (and there's also a DVD of the completed / reconstucted version from the Bregenz Fesitival), but I at least have never come across any music from The Devil in the Belfry...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner [1862-1918]
Post by: Scion7 on April 23, 2016, 06:26:48 AM
(https://img.discogs.com/8qp5hmJV9VE05X2ZiUHDmR-i12Y=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-8301249-1459211050-4365.jpeg.jpg)
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51lvtSh9JJL.jpg) 



(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/819Vg3wRAbL._SX522_.jpg) (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/9108aT8RVML._SX425_.jpg) 




Marius Constant’s concert suite is his 1983 arrangement of music from Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (1893-1902).
A quite beautiful arrangement.  Recorded in 1989 and released in 1991, it has now been re-issued with two other works.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on April 23, 2016, 12:09:10 PM
The Marius Constant arrangement of Pelléas et Mélisande is also available on Naxos, conducted by Jun Märkl:


Also available in the big 9 CD box of the complete orchetsral music.

There's also an adaptation by Erich Leinsdorf, which Claudio Abbado recorded with the BPO:


I've listened to both arrangements, but have come to the conclusion that Debussy's Pelléas makes little sense when robbed of the words, and that these arrangements disfigure the work (much like, in the case of Wagner, all those "The Ring without Words" concotions)....
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Scion7 on April 23, 2016, 01:56:57 PM
But for those who don't care for opera, or THE opera,  at least you get the gorgeous melodies with the Suite.  I played it several times last night, as I haven't listened to it in years.

There is an interesting bio on Brahms by Richard A. Leonard in his book The Stream of Music (1943) with the following passage:

      At the very time that he was composing his Four Serious Songs, Claude Debussy was working upon Pelleas et Melisande
      Between these two works lies a chasm.  It would be difficult to imagine a greater contrast in style, technical procedure, and in the
      ultimate aims of the two composers.

Of course, in 1943 he hadn't begun to imagine some of the extreme, often unlistenable avant-garde stuff that was yet to come that makes Brahms and Debussy seem like musical cousins.  :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Spineur on May 05, 2016, 12:13:57 PM
This might be of interest to admirers of "Claude de France" (cross-posted from the "New Releases" thread):
Fragments of the Usher piece have long been available on CD conducted by Prêtre (and there's also a DVD of the completed / reconstucted version from the Bregenz Fesitival), but I at least have never come across any music from The Devil in the Belfry...
I tried to search for the 2005 Bregenzer Festspiele DVD production in all my usual OOP sources without success.


I listen to the youtube version
https://www.youtube.com/v/VA68Qc0m6bA
Its very different from Pelleas.  Much darker.  This is a bloody story.  I really would like to see a staged version.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on June 04, 2016, 03:45:06 AM
Asking for recommendations again, but this time for any/all of the 3 late sonatas.

That's the Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata and the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. There are a couple of interesting discs I've spotted, but I don't want to pre-empt anyone else's suggestions just yet.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2016, 04:23:19 AM
Asking for recommendations again, but this time for any/all of the 3 late sonatas.

That's the Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata and the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. There are a couple of interesting discs I've spotted, but I don't want to pre-empt anyone else's suggestions just yet.

I definitely recommend the Nash Ensemble's performances on Virgin Classics. For my money, they can't be beat.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Spineur on June 04, 2016, 04:33:42 AM
Asking for recommendations again, but this time for any/all of the 3 late sonatas.

That's the Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata and the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp. There are a couple of interesting discs I've spotted, but I don't want to pre-empt anyone else's suggestions just yet.
I have this one which is I believe OOP.  The CD is quite nice except perhaps the Flute, viola & harp sonatawhich never turned me on.  I am afraid I am not terribly helpful here...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on June 04, 2016, 04:39:49 AM
I have this one which is I believe OOP.  The CD is quite nice except perhaps the Flute, viola & harp sonatawhich never turned me on.  I am afraid I am not terribly helpful here...

I'm not 100% certain it's exactly the same recordings, but I believe there's a repackaged version of this.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: amw on June 04, 2016, 04:42:46 AM
iirc the Kuijkens on Arcana are pretty good in the sonatas & quartet
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on June 04, 2016, 04:47:50 AM
I definitely recommend the Nash Ensemble's performances on Virgin Classics. For my money, they can't be beat.



Thanks, this is on my radar and I have to look at this again. The reviews of the Debussy disc tend to be glowing. The Ravel coupling I'm slightly less sure about, but it does have a couple of things I'm very interested in.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on June 04, 2016, 05:05:07 AM
Thanks, this is on my radar and I have to look at this again. The reviews of the Debussy disc tend to be glowing. The Ravel coupling I'm slightly less sure about, but it does have a couple of things I'm very interested in.

You're welcome. Yeah, I think you would enjoy these performances. I haven't heard a lot of performances of Debussy's chamber music, but these Nash Ensemble performances have always stuck out to me.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Scion7 on June 07, 2016, 01:52:54 PM
Put this on today after years of neglect:

(https://img.discogs.com/fUlgW1AiW8yeOHCCsX_jnr826w0=/fit-in/600x582/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2008901-1454784294-2282.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Scion7 on June 07, 2016, 02:04:05 PM
One I wish I had - the artwork tells the story.

(https://img.discogs.com/xFU9DDEtK3IcMvcJcekYsllO0xo=/fit-in/584x584/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3010803-1341484306-5467.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Scion7 on July 14, 2016, 06:44:41 AM
some favorites:
                                             1980 LP
(https://img.discogs.com/vvBQuC2O8nanHmp9t8BtuNW8a-I=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6970713-1430679343-8149.jpeg.jpg)   

(https://img.discogs.com/afR4pG7VEXBhntTUbJxzwF_jT-w=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-2943132-1308422842.jpeg.jpg)  (https://img.discogs.com/2OFsS_YZgWvhCNsyd4dl40Uw0e0=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-4021633-1435860262-7960.jpeg.jpg)
 ^ original 1962 issue                                                                       ^1985 re-issue
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on July 15, 2016, 02:35:08 PM
Both of those are still kicking around, I've got notes about them both on my shopping list.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Scion7 on July 15, 2016, 03:24:43 PM
But not in those vinyl editions!  Unless you go to the used shoppes or eBay or some such.  But, yes, they are on CD issues.

While the Chung/Lupu is quite nice, if you have not yet purchased it, the Midori/McDonald set on Sony would be my choice first over theirs. And the Suk/Panenka is a given.    0:)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: James on November 26, 2016, 07:47:27 PM
Quote
What Debussy called the ‘beautiful nightmare’ of Stravinsky’s Rite would never have been possible without the harmonic freedom of the Frenchman’s earlier works. But in realising Debussy’s orchestral ideal, Jeux had lessons for the radical post-war generation of composers in its fluidity of form. Rather than using form for unity and integration, Debussy’s score explores discontinuity, with more than 60 changes of tempo, motifs in constant flux and ever-changing orchestral colours – and yet there is an almost invisible coherence.

Like Pinocchio, Jeux quietly unlocked the door to the way that later composers put their music together like a collage. This can be heard in Messiaen’s mature works, while Stockhausen praised Jeux as the crucial step towards the ‘moment form’ that underpinned many of his pieces, a sentiment echoed by Ligeti. As Boulez put it, ‘the general organisation of [Jeux] is as changeable instant by instant as it is homogeneous in development’.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on April 01, 2017, 05:27:25 AM
A couple of days, Todd alerted us of an André Cluytens mega-box that will be released next June:



And some years ago, we were discussing "complete" versions of Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien on this thread.

Are there any complete recordings of "Le martyre de saint Sébastien" available?  We seemingly always listen to recordings of the Orchestral Suites or fragments of the work? I understand that the full work actually is very long (five hours according to a Monteux booklet!!). Is that correct or a misprint?  Does anybody know if there is an accessible full recorded version out there?   The booklet I have states that Monteux at one point recorded the full score with the London SO, but does not mention a date? I cannot find such a full version in the Monteux discographies that I have researched so far. Is that recording available anywhere?
Well, I think the explanation for this is that, performed in it's entirety as a play, Le Martyre should be rather long. AFAIK, there's no modern recording of the whole thing (i.e., all the music and all the spoken text). When we get complete versions of the piece, I think they're complete (or nearly so) as far as the music is concerned, with the text substituted by narration (that's the case for Inghelbrecht live on Montaigne, MTT, Ansermet, Boulez live on Col Legno, Mercier on RCA--of the versions in my collection). There was an old Cluytens recording on French Columbia, never transferred to CD and which I've never heard--but did see in a familiy friend's collection many years ago--, which spanned 3 LPs; I suppose this is a close as a recorded version ever came to what the original concept of Le Martyre was (but even here the text is abriged)...

(http://img.cdandlp.com/2016/07/imgL/118237486.jpg)

A French language forum (unkonwn to me until now) discsussed this some time ago. One poster sums the Cluytens up in this classic line: "J'ai aussi la version Cluytens, belle oubliée, mais l'overdose de texte parlé devient vite indigeste". More info here (http://classik.forumactif.com/t5633-debussy-le-martyre-de-saint-sebastien-integrale)

The cast is the following:

Debussy, Le Martyre de Saint-Sébastien (version abrégée par Véra Korène), Véra Korène (Le Saint), Henriette Barreau (La Mère douloureuse), Jean Marchat (L'Empereur), Rita Gohr [sic], Solange Michel (Les Gémeaux), Jacques Eyser (Le Préfet), Martha Angelici (La voix de la vierge Erigone), Maria Casarès (La fille malade des fièvres), Mattiwilda Dobbs (Vox Coelestis), Jacqueline Brumaire (Vox Sola), Paul Guers (Sanaé), Lucienne Jourfier (Anima Sebastiani), Choeurs Raymond Saint-Paul, Orchestre National de la Radiodiffusion Française, André Cluytens (vers 1952)

Some inetersting and intriguing names here (Maria Casarès among  the actresses, soprano Mattiwilda Dobbs). But one poster in that forum states that there are 15 minutes spans in the recording of all talk and no music.  ::)

Well, looking at the contents of the Cluytens box on French Amazon (https://www.amazon.fr/Symphonic-Concerto-belge-Cluytens-Andre/dp/B06XST7GHS/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1491051196&sr=1-1&keywords=cluytens) (see the pictures with the contents of the 67 discs), it seems that this Martyre has finally been transfrred to CD. Of course, you get an additional 65 CDs of all sorts of muic, but in any case this set looks very interestng (and I myself have precious little Cluytens in my collection--not even the highly-praised Beethoven symphony cycle).

The performance has since also been made available on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/v/YNnjJo2NR-A
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 19, 2018, 05:00:31 PM
Composition Spotlight:

Debussy’s Jeux

(https://i.pinimg.com/originals/90/fa/c4/90fac426407740b97ecd81a4611f2daf.jpg)

Information:

Jeux     133/(126)
Ballet in 1 act, poème dansé by Nijinsky

Composition dates:
August 1912 - End April 1913

Dedication:
Madame Jacques Durand

Publication:
Piano redution, Durand, April 1913; orchestra, pocket edition, Durand, December 1913; orchestra, May 1914; 1988, Édition critique des œuvres complètes, V/8
Nomenclature:
4.4.4.4 — 4.4.3.1 — timp. - 3 perc. - cél. - 2 harps — strings

First hearing:
Paris, 15 May 1913, first performance at Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, by Serge de Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, under the direction of Pierre Monteux, scenery and costumes by Léon Bakst; Vaslav Nijinsky (young man), Tamara Karsavina (first young lady), Ludmilla Schollar (second young lady)
Paris, 1st March 1914, Concerts Colonne, under the direction of Gabriel Pierné

Comments:
Diaghilev asked Debussy to make the end of Jeux "a little longer". Debussy completed the piano reduction on 12 September 1912, and wrote the orchestration in April 1913.

[Information taken from Debussy’s website: http:www.debussy.fr (http://www.debussy.fr/encd/centre/centre.php)]

Background:

It is doubtful that any theatre has experienced a more remarkable few weeks than the newly opened Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Paris in May 1913. It was the scene on 29 May of the most notorious premiere of them all: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the hoopla surrounding which overshadowed two rather different works.

The first Parisian performance of Fauré’s sublime only opera, Pénélope, was given on 10 May, two days before the composer’s 68th birthday. Five days later, Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes unveiled a work with what turned out to be the last completed orchestral music by Debussy: Jeux. This ‘poème dansé’ has come to be seen as equally important as the Rite in its own way, but being eclipsed by the reception of Stravinsky’s tour de force was just one factor among many working against Jeux getting a good start.

It took the best part of 40 years for the significance of Jeux to be recognised. While Stravinsky’s advances grab you by the throat, and Schoenberg’s expressionist works scream their angst, Jeux is understated and suffused with light. It’s chromatic, yet never harsh; rhythmically complex, yet fleet-footed and graceful. Analysing it is like trying to capture wisps of mist.

What Debussy called the ‘beautiful nightmare’ of Stravinsky’s Rite would never have been possible without the harmonic freedom of the Frenchman’s earlier works. But in realising Debussy’s orchestral ideal, Jeux had lessons for the radical post-war generation of composers in its fluidity of form. Rather than using form for unity and integration, Debussy’s score explores discontinuity, with more than 60 changes of tempo, motifs in constant flux and ever-changing orchestral colours – and yet there is an almost invisible coherence.

Like Pinocchio, Jeux quietly unlocked the door to the way that later composers put their music together like a collage. This can be heard in Messiaen’s mature works, while Stockhausen praised Jeux as the crucial step towards the ‘moment form’ that underpinned many of his pieces, a sentiment echoed by Ligeti. As Boulez put it, ‘the general organisation of [Jeux] is as changeable instant by instant as it is homogeneous in development’.

The title mirrors the ambiguities of the scenario, in which a boy and two girls are searching for a tennis ball, but embark on other games, firstly childish, then more amorous. Boulez has described Jeux as ‘The Afternoon of a faun in sports clothes’, reflecting the musical affinity Jeux has with Debussy’s early masterpiece and the ballet’s echoes of the nymphs chasing the faun in Vaslav Nijinsky’s choreography for Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, produced in May 1912. One month later, Debussy was persuaded to write a new work for the Ballets Russes. He was initially reluctant, a telegram to Diaghilev stating bluntly ‘Subject ballet Jeux idiotic, not interested’, but a doubling of the fee (and the shelving of Nijinsky’s idea for a plane crash near the end) evidently prompted a change of heart.

Once committed, Debussy wrote the initial draft of Jeux at uncommon speed, in about a month from July to August 1912, telling André Caplet that he needed ‘to find an orchestra “without feet” for this music’. Debussy refused to let Diaghilev and Nijinsky hear his work in progress, ‘not wishing these barbarians to poke their noses into my experiments in personal chemistry!’ He later came to view his caution as well-founded, telling Gabriel Pierné that Nijinsky ‘with his cruel and barbarous choreography… trampled my poor rhythms underfoot like weed’.

In Nijinsky’s defense, it is worth remembering that he did not hear the orchestral score until late in the day. While the piano duet version of the Rite gives a good flavour of this most percussive of ballets, Jeux on piano is far removed from Debussy’s diaphanous orchestral textures. Matters were not helped by the frantic preparations for the Rite swallowing up rehearsal time. To compound it all, one of the three dancers for Jeux, Nijinsky’s sister Bronislava, discovered she was pregnant just before the premiere.

The premiere of Jeux provoked no riot, no scandal of the sort that accompanied Nijinsky’s choreography for Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, and certainly not bouquets and plaudits. Rather, there was bemusement about the dancing, while the music seemed barely to be noticed at all. Now, such indifference has been replaced by recognition of a work that epitomises the word sublime. Listening to Jeux, as the hesitant opening bars are interrupted by those indescribable chords opening a door to another universe, how did those sitting in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées nearly a century ago fail to realise that Debussy’s games were very special indeed?

[Article taken from BBC Music Magazine]

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I’d love to know what you guys think Debussy meant by this work or what you think it’s trying to convey? I’ll have to sit back and think about this myself as it’s been a work I’ve been trying to become more and more familiar through the years, but only other music has gotten in the way. Do you think it’s as innovative as Stravinsky’s Le sacre which it seemed to overshadow at the time? Would love to hear from my fellow Debussyians.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mahlerian on March 19, 2018, 05:48:28 PM
I’d love to know what you guys think Debussy meant by this work or what you think it’s trying to convey? I’ll have to sit back and think about this myself as it’s been a work I’ve been trying to become more and more familiar through the years, but only other music has gotten in the way. Do you think it’s as innovative as Stravinsky’s Le sacre which it seemed to overshadow at the time? Would love to hear from my fellow Debussyians.

Jeux seems to me to be the most extreme work in Debussy's output in terms of extended form.  Motifs materialize and then vanish before reforming again and again in waves of playful ecstasy.  Its use of timbre is brilliant, naturally, and only serves to underline the radical nature of the work's structure.  I've never really thought of it primarily in terms of Nijinsky's scenario, and find it completely successful as a concert piece without any such scaffolding.

In that way, yes, it's just as innovative as The Rite of Spring, and as fresh today as anything in Debussy's oeuvre, even if its premiere wasn't accompanied by any kind of scandal.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 19, 2018, 06:49:01 PM
Jeux seems to me to be the most extreme work in Debussy's output in terms of extended form.  Motifs materialize and then vanish before reforming again and again in waves of playful ecstasy.  Its use of timbre is brilliant, naturally, and only serves to underline the radical nature of the work's structure.  I've never really thought of it primarily in terms of Nijinsky's scenario, and find it completely successful as a concert piece without any such scaffolding.

In that way, yes, it's just as innovative as The Rite of Spring, and as fresh today as anything in Debussy's oeuvre, even if its premiere wasn't accompanied by any kind of scandal.

Thanks for the feedback. 8) The part you mentioned about the work’s structure echoes what Boulez said about it (I’ll have to see if I can dig up that YouTube video). Have you ever considered doing analysis videos like Samuel Andreyev, Mahlerian? I bet you’d get a lot of subscribers. His channel has become quite popular.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mahlerian on March 19, 2018, 07:52:54 PM
Thanks for the feedback. 8) The part you mentioned about the work’s structure echoes what Boulez said about it (I’ll have to see if I can dig up that YouTube video).

We all stand on the shoulders of giants, and all that.  Jeux is a marvel.

Have you ever considered doing analysis videos like Samuel Andreyev, Mahlerian? I bet you’d get a lot of subscribers. His channel has become quite popular.

Actually, I am considering that, and I'm a huge fan of Samuel's videos myself.  I respect anyone who can take rigorous analysis and make it accessible.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner COMPLETE PIANO MUSIC
Post by: snyprrr on March 19, 2018, 07:56:48 PM
By some stroke I have Martin Jones's Cycle on Nimbus coming,... and,... I'm not sure how to go about even sampling his work. Is there an early correlation with Liszt? Since I'll have everything, including the BalletsDisc, I'm quite curious, THOUGH, I do believe I've tried Debussy in the past and not taken to him. I might have rather enjoyed another Pianist (Beroff comes to mind), and non-Nimbus sound, but... (I didn't particularly care for Bavouzet...)...

My strategy is to start with a lot of the short single pieces...

I'm just not that into Debussy :-X :-[ :-\... ???... I'm more of a Satiean :-*


Of course, the 3 Last Sonatas are another story, and the SQ,... I did enjoy the Piano Trio yesterday...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 19, 2018, 07:58:36 PM
Actually, I am considering that, and I'm a huge fan of Samuel's videos myself.  I respect anyone who can take rigorous analysis and make it accessible.

I don’t think he’s done any video analysis of Schoenberg yet, so you can beat Mr. Andreyev to the punch! :) You could also do some Debussy, Berg, and Takemitsu (three other composers he hasn’t done yet).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 25, 2018, 03:37:55 AM
Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DZH9j43WsAEIZE_.jpg)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)

Every click helps to convince Forbes that classical music coverage of some sort is worth the bother.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 25, 2018, 03:51:10 AM
Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DZH9j43WsAEIZE_.jpg)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)

Every click helps to convince Forbes that classical music coverage of some sort is worth the bother.

Excellent, thank you...

I'm going to ignore both and go buy the Hyperion songs.  :D

But it's a very good review. When boxes are so large, they need a decent amount of discussion.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 25, 2018, 03:59:23 AM
Excellent, thank you...

I'm going to ignore both and go buy the Hyperion songs.  :D

But it's a very good review. When boxes are so large, they need a decent amount of discussion.

Well, you're doing right in going the Hyperion way. In fact, I suggest as much in said review:

Quote
...but anyone getting a set for the songs, specifically, is far better off with the Warner box or might better still seek out the Hyperion edition of Debussy songs. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)
  ;D

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 25, 2018, 04:05:28 AM
Well, you're doing right in going the Hyperion way. In fact, I suggest as much in said review:

I know. I did read the review. That was the whole point of coming back and mentioning the Hyperion songs.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 25, 2018, 04:13:36 AM
I know. I did read the review. That was the whole point of coming back and mentioning the Hyperion songs.

Flattering. (Not everyone reads through the end in anything longer than 500 words, these days.)

(Your "But" in "But it's a very good review..." threw me off to think that you might have missed that half sentence.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 25, 2018, 04:22:40 AM
Flattering. (Not everyone reads through the end in anything longer than 500 words, these days.)

(Your "But" in "But it's a very good review..." threw me off to think that you might have missed that half sentence.)

Ah sorry, no. The "But" merely meant I was not inspired to buy either of the things you were reviewing.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on March 25, 2018, 04:38:08 AM
Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared


https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)

Every click helps to convince Forbes that classical music coverage of some sort is worth the bother.

"...and Charles Dutoit, who really knows how to touch you..."   :-X

In the recording comparisons, I'd note that the DG also has LaSalle's SQ in the bonus section.
I think I need to investigate the Hyperion song series..
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on March 25, 2018, 05:02:04 AM
"...and Charles Dutoit, who really knows how to touch you..."   :-X


I'm so happy when someone catches my easter eggs.  ;D  :laugh:

In the recording comparisons, I'd note that the DG also has LaSalle's SQ in the bonus section.

I amended the footnote accordingly! Thanks for the suggestion. (I had not included it initially, since at the point where I mention the quartets in the text, I hadn't mentioned the historical bonus discs yet. But the footnote works well. (Also corrected the links to the footnotes, which don't automatically work on Forbes.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner COMPLETE PIANO MUSIC
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2018, 05:44:05 AM
I'm just not that into Debussy :-X :-[ :-\... ???... I'm more of a Satiean :-*

Well, thanks for stopping by. ??? ::)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2018, 06:55:55 AM
Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DZH9j43WsAEIZE_.jpg)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)

Every click helps to convince Forbes that classical music coverage of some sort is worth the bother.

An excellent article, Jens. I very much enjoyed reading it. Unlike you, however, I found Véronique Dietschy to be quite special indeed and her choice of accompanists (whether Cassard or Strosser) are stellar. The Warner set has too many vocalists that I simply don’t like with the exceptions of Véronique Gens and Gérard Souzay. I think Warner obviously can claim the title of Complete, but there are just too many transcriptions from other composers/musicians and this goes for arrangements as well that it seems DG is more concerned about the published works. Of course, we very well know that in many instances orchestral works like Khamma and La boîte à joujoux were both left to be orchestrated by Koechlin and Caplet respectively. I can’t help feel that many of these orchestral arrangements are useless. Like for example, Collin Matthews’ Préludes or Ansermet’s Six épigraphes antiques. Both works, for me, sound much better on piano. Talking about this, reminds me of all the orchestrations Ravel did of his own piano works. The original piano scores can’t be bettered. In some instances, an orchestration sounds rather good like Caplet’s Children’s Corner, which I thought was quite tastefully done. Anyway, to end this one breathed rambling nonsense, I heartily endorse the DG set based on the amazing performances and not on ‘completeness’.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mahlerian on March 25, 2018, 07:01:56 AM
Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DZH9j43WsAEIZE_.jpg)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)

Every click helps to convince Forbes that classical music coverage of some sort is worth the bother.

Thanks for the write-up!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2018, 08:23:04 AM
If you can catch them at the newsstands, both the Gramophone and BBC Music magazines have our centenary boy gracing their front covers:

(https://external-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQCrXx_VwoAGuzGk&w=704&h=911&url=https%3A%2F%2Fgramophoneproduction.s3-accelerate.amazonaws.com%2Fs3fs-public%2Fscreen_shot_2018-02-23_at_10.24.15_0.png&sx=0&sy=0&sw=704&sh=911&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeGzHPEQavq7WY0VESIfG-QehD4ofEP4u6MqUx_TCrs0YUHocqM81DuCedAXmgk3HSrzMR7mqh8B5Ce1pRxDWKPQY9w3kbEh_6iXES4d_XoX_Q&_nc_hash=AQCnUDWr4LgQOTrw) (https://external-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQB1mLT-i3AkrYbQ&w=320&h=410&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn3.classical-music.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fimagecache%2F400px_wide%2FApr18_1_0.jpg&sx=0&sy=0&sw=320&sh=410&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeHraDFqeTg2wPkhNlNSXQBjn1CfVDISR_Ht4HM8A6xT7BlF0jX3fwb2C7SGFUNF4JdZuxNtLU8FtgaXlo6WILXmjE16TU7umiLJtk7G7R_CiQ&_nc_hash=AQAS-eRIBB9-8VxJ)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Spineur on March 25, 2018, 11:52:29 AM
Listening to a special Debussy concert with Le Martyrs de Saint Sebastien and the orchestrated version of La boite a joujoux by André Caplet, which I had never heard before.  I only knew of the piano reduction written by Debussy, not this orchestrated version which was created posthumously in 1919.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vandermolen on March 25, 2018, 12:43:22 PM
If you can catch them at the newsstands, both the Gramophone and BBC Music magazines have our centenary boy gracing their front covers:

(https://external-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQCrXx_VwoAGuzGk&w=704&h=911&url=https%3A%2F%2Fgramophoneproduction.s3-accelerate.amazonaws.com%2Fs3fs-public%2Fscreen_shot_2018-02-23_at_10.24.15_0.png&sx=0&sy=0&sw=704&sh=911&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeGzHPEQavq7WY0VESIfG-QehD4ofEP4u6MqUx_TCrs0YUHocqM81DuCedAXmgk3HSrzMR7mqh8B5Ce1pRxDWKPQY9w3kbEh_6iXES4d_XoX_Q&_nc_hash=AQCnUDWr4LgQOTrw) (https://external-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=AQB1mLT-i3AkrYbQ&w=320&h=410&url=http%3A%2F%2Fcdn3.classical-music.com%2Fsites%2Fdefault%2Ffiles%2Fimagecache%2F400px_wide%2FApr18_1_0.jpg&sx=0&sy=0&sw=320&sh=410&_nc_eui2=v1%3AAeHraDFqeTg2wPkhNlNSXQBjn1CfVDISR_Ht4HM8A6xT7BlF0jX3fwb2C7SGFUNF4JdZuxNtLU8FtgaXlo6WILXmjE16TU7umiLJtk7G7R_CiQ&_nc_hash=AQAS-eRIBB9-8VxJ)
Gramophone is rather good this month. Apparently Debussy hated being described as an 'Impressionist' in music.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2018, 02:52:36 PM
Listening to a special Debussy concert with Le Martyrs de Saint Sebastien and the orchestrated version of La boite a joujoux by André Caplet, which I had never heard before.  I only knew of the piano reduction written by Debussy, not this orchestrated version which was created posthumously in 1919.

Yes, but Debussy gave Caplet the head nod to do the orchestration for La boîte à joujoux:

”...Debussy wrote the piano score from July to October 1913, but the war put off preparations for performance, and ultimately Debussy left the orchestration to André Caplet, who retained a prominent (but not concertante) piano part in his instrumentation.” - All Music Guide article on La boîte à joujoux

I’m also rather curious where you got the year 1919 from as I’ve been reading that the orchestration was done in 1913.

Special edit: Debussy completed most of the orchestration but what he didn’t finish he left to Caplet who completed it in 1917. The premiere of La boîte à joujoux took place in 1919, so, obviously, posthumously. [According to the liner notes in the new(ish) recording of Debussy’s later ballets with Lan Shui and the Singapore Symphony Orchestra]
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2018, 02:59:19 PM
Gramophone is rather good this month. Apparently Debussy hated being described as an 'Impressionist' in music.

Yes and so did Ravel, but the way the term is used nowadays is actually complimentary and I wouldn’t imagine Debussy or Ravel having any objection.

From Wikipedia:

”The most prominent feature in musical impressionism is the use of "color", or in musical terms, timbre, which can be achieved through orchestration, harmonic usage, texture, etc. Other elements of music impressionism also involve new chord combinations, ambiguous tonality, extended harmonies, use of modes and exotic scales, parallel motions, extra-musicality, and evocative titles such as Reflets dans l'eau (Reflections on the water, 1905), Brouillards (Mists, 1913) etc.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 25, 2018, 09:40:55 PM
The Warner set has too many vocalists that I simply don’t like with the exceptions of Véronique Gens and Gérard Souzay.

Now streaming the early part of the songs section of the Warner set. After half a dozen singers I think I'm rapidly agreeing with you. First entry from Véronique Gens was quite appealing, Natalie Dessay is reasonable, the other women so far are either sort of "okay" or rather unappealing (no men yet). I'm sure some of these voices are considered to have character, but some of them have rather too much of it.

EDIT: I've realised that a lot of recordings of early songs are taken from Jean-Louis Hagenauer's set (he's the accompanist). There are 5 singers on that set. I've heard 4 so far, and really only liked 1 of them.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on March 26, 2018, 12:13:38 AM
Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg)
 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)
Excellent, Jens! Very thorough and enlightening comparison of both sets.

Since I had the "old" DG, I went for the Warner. From what I've read from your review, I'm fine with that combination...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jo498 on March 26, 2018, 01:15:55 AM
impressionist used to be derogatory for the painters as well!
As for Debussy I never understood it as derogatory but according to my impression it only fits for a few works. La Mer or the Faune-Prelude and some of the piano music might fit the description but the chamber music does not and neither does all of the piano music. Similarly with Ravel (it seems even less true for him, I think).
Generally I do not dislike labels but I tend to be very skeptical if labels that fit well in painting are used for music and "impressionism" is maybe the most prominent such case.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on March 26, 2018, 01:56:03 AM
Debussy was more involved with/influenced by the French Symbolist poets, e.g. Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine and including also Maurice Maeterlinck, than the so-called Impressionist painters.  So maybe he would prefer to be called a Symbolist composer instead of an Impressionist.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on March 26, 2018, 02:23:38 AM
Generally I do not dislike labels but I tend to be very skeptical if labels that fit well in painting are used for music and "impressionism" is maybe the most prominent such case.

The funny thing is, an awful lot of our labels for music come from other arts. Baroque. Classical. Romantic. None of these terms are actually specifically musical!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jo498 on March 26, 2018, 03:00:22 AM
Right, they are not specifically musical. But not all of them were  so clearly first established wrt to painting (or visual arts) as "impressionism" was. Impressionism referred to a handful of painters in a highly specific way, unlike Baroque or Romanticism (which first appeared in literature, not visual arts) that are more general.
They have other problems, partly because they are so unspecific. ;) In German musicology people have been using "age of figured bass", "Generalbasszeitalter" as a better term for ca. 1600-1750 than Baroque for some time.

In the actual case, while I would not deny that some of Debussy's music does have impressionist features, there are such clear counterexamples among his works that do not and even the "impressionist" ones benefit from clarity and not from association with "cloudiness" (Actually when I first heard La mer or the Faun as a teenager I did have the impression of a could of sound, but I also had this with Wagner, only there some singer also tried to make him or herself heard over that soundcloud by screaming as loud as possible...)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on March 26, 2018, 03:03:23 AM
The funny thing is, an awful lot of our labels for music come from other arts. Baroque. Classical. Romantic. None of these terms are actually specifically musical!
And it's hardly the only name for an artistic movement/style that was originally an insult (Fauves ("wild beasts") and Gothicism ("barbarians who destroyed Rome/civilization") spring to mind)


Debussy was more involved with/influenced by the French Symbolist poets, e.g. Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine and including also Maurice Maeterlinck, than the so-called Impressionist painters.  So maybe he would prefer to be called a Symbolist composer instead of an Impressionist.
He was certainly influenced by both movements "You do me a great honour by calling me a pupil of Claude Monet," Debussy wrote to the critic Emile Vuillermoz in 1916. About the orchestral Images, to Durand, his publisher: "I'm trying to write something new - realities, in a manner of speaking - what imbeciles call impressionism". Note that "what the imbeciles call impressionism is exactly what the Impressionist painters would say of their works too. Debussy was not irritated by the association of him with the Impressionist artists, but with the term and a general lack of understanding or respect for the movement's scientific basis and principles in depicting reality, instead seen as casual and undisciplined. The Impressionists' goal of capturing a scene as it's first seen, before our brains have fully processed the information is also not too far removed from the Symbolist poets' artistic goals. Debussy was neither a painter or a poet, but his music encapsulates Impressionism's depiction of nature and reality, as well as the psychological depth, fantasy and depiction of the subconscious of Symbolism.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 26, 2018, 05:22:48 AM
Latest on Forbes:

Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DZH9j43WsAEIZE_.jpg)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)

Every click helps to convince Forbes that classical music coverage of some sort is worth the bother.

Very enjoyable, as ever, Jens.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Maestro267 on March 26, 2018, 06:12:29 AM
Musicians themselves hate labels, but they are necessary for us consumers of music. They make something that can't easily be described in words a bit easier to do so.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2018, 07:25:15 AM
Now streaming the early part of the songs section of the Warner set. After half a dozen singers I think I'm rapidly agreeing with you. First entry from Véronique Gens was quite appealing, Natalie Dessay is reasonable, the other women so far are either sort of "okay" or rather unappealing (no men yet). I'm sure some of these voices are considered to have character, but some of them have rather too much of it.

EDIT: I've realised that a lot of recordings of early songs are taken from Jean-Louis Hagenauer's set (he's the accompanist). There are 5 singers on that set. I've heard 4 so far, and really only liked 1 of them.

I think the whole idea of ‘character’ in mélodies/lieder/songs depends on what you, the listener, feel and respond to. Personally, I don’t like overdramatic, operatic-style vocals in these kinds of works. They aren’t operas and they’re not cantatas or oratorios. For me, they’re supposed to be intimate, subtle, and finely nuanced. The whole atmosphere becomes cringeworthy when the piece simply becomes a showcase for the vocalist instead of looking at the music from the inside out and letting the music speak for itself. That’s my viewpoint on this genre and everyone, of course, has different preferences, but this is what I listen for.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2018, 07:31:42 AM
Debussy was more involved with/influenced by the French Symbolist poets, e.g. Charles Baudelaire, Stéphane Mallarmé, Paul Verlaine and including also Maurice Maeterlinck, than the so-called Impressionist painters.  So maybe he would prefer to be called a Symbolist composer instead of an Impressionist.

I think there’s a bit of both Symbolist and Impressionist in his style, but, as Jo498 pointed out, there are many works that fit neither description, especially in works like the Études, Jeux, Pour le piano, the late sonatas, etc. that really can’t be labeled or confined to some box.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mahlerian on March 26, 2018, 07:47:45 AM
And it's hardly the only name for an artistic movement/style that was originally an insult (Fauves ("wild beasts") and Gothicism ("barbarians who destroyed Rome/civilization") spring to mind)

Don't forget Baroque, which was applied to music by Rousseau specifically to imply that the work of Rameau et al was misshapen, confused, and ugly.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on March 26, 2018, 08:37:42 AM
Don't forget Baroque, which was applied to music by Rousseau specifically to imply that the work of Rameau et al was misshapen, confused, and ugly.
Indeed! Or rather first by an anonymous satirical reviewer on Rameau, then Rousseau as a description of music he disliked for a set of reasons (did Rousseau specify Rameau? Did Debussy paying homage to Rameau have anything to do with this? :D), then in 1855 as a means to attack the artistic period for not being the Renaissance, by 1878 it had lost its negative connotations, and in 1888 there appeared the first serious study of Baroque (painting, sculpture and architecture).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroque#Origin_of_word
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mahlerian on March 26, 2018, 08:49:01 AM
Indeed! Or rather first by an anonymous satirical reviewer on Rameau, then Rousseau as a description of music he disliked for a set of reasons (did Rousseau specify Rameau? Did Debussy paying homage to Rameau have anything to do with this? :D), then in 1855 as a means to attack the artistic period for not being the Renaissance, by 1878 it had lost its negative connotations, and in 1888 there appeared the first serious study of Baroque (painting, sculpture and architecture).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baroque#Origin_of_word

Ah, you're probably right that I was conflating a few things there.  At any rate, Baroque has long since lost any negative connotations in the English speaking world, though it is strange to lump together everything from Monteverdi through Bach into a single period, as there are two quite distinct eras within that time frame (much as there was also a second practice in later 19th century Romanticism).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2018, 08:59:07 AM
Anyway...getting back to Claude.

Has anyone heard this Lubimov set?

(https://ecmreviews.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/prc3a9ludes.jpg)

Reviews seem rather mixed on it. Some commentators saying that the sound quality obscures some of the piano playing among other things.

There appears to be two Lubimov sets:

(https://pxhst.co/avaxhome/9c/f8/003ff89c.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Spineur on April 21, 2018, 09:22:10 AM
For the Debussy fan-club:  Philippe Cassard who did a complete piano music of Debussy, just published a book

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Zu%2BOANE4L._SY400_.jpg)

I dont know when the translation is going to be avaliable.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: North Star on April 21, 2018, 09:28:52 AM
I recall seeing a review (in French, didn't read it...) of it when looking for info on his solo piano cycle.

https://www.actes-sud.fr/catalogue/musique/claude-debussy
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 21, 2018, 05:33:57 PM
For the Debussy fan-club:  Philippe Cassard who did a complete piano music of Debussy, just published a book

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41Zu%2BOANE4L._SY400_.jpg)

I dont know when the translation is going to be avaliable.

Very nice. I'm currently interested in this book:

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: snyprrr on April 27, 2018, 05:00:01 AM
I'm trying to get excited over Debussy, but it seems difficult for me. Right now, we're talking Piano Music- of course I'm already familiar with the Sonatas and such; I'm not too tempted by the Orchestral Music right now...

But, as I've been listening to the Piano Music, the first thing that strikes me is the sheer "woah" effects as a simple pieces begins to get exceedingly complex ('The Snow Is Falling'). It certainly appears as the pinnacle of the received tradition... Szymanowski, Bartok, etc., just being appendages and expansions (imo)...

It's been very difficult being stuck in Satieland and Debussyland at the same time. Satie just has the boss melodies; Debussy has the sheer viruosity (cascading notes). I get excited over Satie- but I do enjoy the plethora of notes in Debussy...

Checked out the Late 'Elegie' last night,... seemed almost like an answer to Schoenberg in its... uh... sparse frankness? ... better words needed...


It's odd the feeling I get listening to the Etudes- Debussy as Radical- yet still so French (how can one be French and truly Objective at the same time?? lol)- the birth of Dutilleux?? the Super, Absolute Refinement... the Most Rarified...

then Webern?


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2018, 06:55:39 AM
I'm trying to get excited over Debussy, but it seems difficult for me. Right now, we're talking Piano Music- of course I'm already familiar with the Sonatas and such; I'm not too tempted by the Orchestral Music right now...

But, as I've been listening to the Piano Music, the first thing that strikes me is the sheer "woah" effects as a simple pieces begins to get exceedingly complex ('The Snow Is Falling'). It certainly appears as the pinnacle of the received tradition... Szymanowski, Bartok, etc., just being appendages and expansions (imo)...

It's been very difficult being stuck in Satieland and Debussyland at the same time. Satie just has the boss melodies; Debussy has the sheer viruosity (cascading notes). I get excited over Satie- but I do enjoy the plethora of notes in Debussy...

Checked out the Late 'Elegie' last night,... seemed almost like an answer to Schoenberg in its... uh... sparse frankness? ... better words needed...


It's odd the feeling I get listening to the Etudes- Debussy as Radical- yet still so French (how can one be French and truly Objective at the same time?? lol)- the birth of Dutilleux?? the Super, Absolute Refinement... the Most Rarified...

then Webern?

I’d say the most complicated Debussy piano works are Préludes, Book II and Études. These are probably the most ‘forward-looking’ pieces IMHO. It’s not difficult to get excited about Debussy for me as these works have provided endless amounts of pleasure. The sheer wonderment of the piano music alone is enough to set the imagination ablaze. The ability that Debussy has in creating all of these unique sonic worlds just with the piano is something I’ve tried to aspire to in my own guitar playing. To say he’s not been an influence would be a huge understatement on my part. I’m sure there are many others who feel this way as well.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on April 27, 2018, 09:57:37 AM
I’ve just walked through La Puerta del Vino, and stood in the Lindaraja patio, in the Alhambra in Granada... :)

(http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/typo3temp/pics/2144090631.jpg)

(http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/elblogdelmuseo/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/PATIO-DE-LINDARAJA-6694-e1506906971478.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2018, 06:51:52 PM
I’ve just walked through La Puerta del Vino, and stood in the Lindaraja patio, in the Alhambra in Granada... :)

(http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/typo3temp/pics/2144090631.jpg)

(http://www.alhambra-patronato.es/elblogdelmuseo/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/PATIO-DE-LINDARAJA-6694-e1506906971478.jpg)

Awesome! Looks gorgeous, Rafael.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Alek Hidell on April 27, 2018, 07:10:32 PM
Anyway...getting back to Claude.

Has anyone heard this Lubimov set?

(https://ecmreviews.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/prc3a9ludes.jpg)

Reviews seem rather mixed on it. Some commentators saying that the sound quality obscures some of the piano playing among other things.

I have it and enjoy it. I don't recall an issue with the sound (something that would be unusual indeed for an ECM recording). Those reviewers are aware that the music is played on a period instrument, right? ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2018, 07:14:30 PM
I have it and enjoy it. I don't recall an issue with the sound (something that would be unusual indeed for an ECM recording). Those reviewers are aware that the music is played on a period instrument, right? ;)

Thanks, Alex. I should revisit this recording.
Title: Re: Debussy's Forehead
Post by: snyprrr on April 29, 2018, 06:32:00 AM
His forehead... discuss. I've never seen anything so precipitous...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Baron Scarpia on April 30, 2018, 07:18:40 AM
Listened to Arrau's Debussy for the first time.



At first look, one might think it odd that Arrau chose to start recording Debussy at when he was approaching 80 years old, but this is a return. There was a fair bit of Debussy in Arrau's early recordings, around 1950.

Listened to Preludes I and II, and Images I so far. My expectation that the aristocratic Arrau would bring more structure to this music than is usually the case was not fulfilled. Actually my first reaction was "too much pedal." But after a second listen it came into focus. The approach is poetic and mystical. Arrau had maintained his impressive virtuosity when these recordings were made, and there are passages which are simply breathtaking, the way the sound opens up in the climactic passages. A very rewarding way to start exploration of the set.

(cross-posted from the listening thread)
Title: Re: Debussy's Forehead
Post by: Mirror Image on April 30, 2018, 07:49:56 AM
His forehead... discuss. I've never seen anything so precipitous...

I can’t really say anything, I have a bird nose. ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: snyprrr on May 01, 2018, 05:13:36 AM
Listened to Arrau's Debussy for the first time.



At first look, one might think it odd that Arrau chose to start recording Debussy at when he was approaching 80 years old, but this is a return. There was a fair bit of Debussy in Arrau's early recordings, around 1950.

Listened to Preludes I and II, and Images I so far. My expectation that the aristocratic Arrau would bring more structure to this music than is usually the case was not fulfilled. Actually my first reaction was "too much pedal." But after a second listen it came into focus. The approach is poetic and mystical. Arrau had maintained his impressive virtuosity when these recordings were made, and there are passages which are simply breathtaking, the way the sound opens up in the climactic passages. A very rewarding way to start exploration of the set.

(cross-posted from the listening thread)

I also just listened to Arrau's Debussy for the first time last night. "Pleasing" is the word I would use... I can see where it would take a few listens to 'get it'. But, the sound is very good (Philips, but not like for Kocsis)...

Also listened to a little of the Friere,... also very 'pleasing',... yea, both of these guys aren't barnstorming,... nice...

Also did a little Haas vs. Haas...Mr.H having a nice mid-60s sound,... Ms.H having a nice sweep in good sound...

I SAY THAT I MUST HAVE GREEEAT SOUND, BUT THEN THESE EARLIER RECORDINGS AREN'T RECORDED BADLY AT ALL... what to do?????




Still, having problems getting excited over Debussy (as opposed to Satie). I was going to get the Jones disc with Jeux/Khamma/Boite, but,... eh,... they just don't seem absolutely essential to me at the moment. And since I lost out of that Kocsis Preludes, I'm up in the air as to what purchasing approach to enact AGAINST Debussy,...lol. I will destroy him with my ordering!!!!!! bwahahaha >:D >:D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 02, 2018, 06:49:18 PM
Here’s an idea, snyprrr, if you’re having trouble getting excited about Debussy, then simply don’t listen to him and listen to music that you do enjoy. No reason to continue to come here to beat us over the head about how you’re trying to like his music when it’s evident from your posts that you don’t.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 03, 2018, 06:40:33 AM
Went back and listened to Boulez' New Philharmonia Nocturnes (Sony) again. Really extraordinary. In the second half to he last movement (Sirens) there are passages where a solo trumpet has haunting melodic lines against ethereal harmonies from chorus and orchestra. It doesn't get much better.



It's not the most complete, but I think this may be the best Debussy collection.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 03, 2018, 06:46:32 AM
Went back and listened to Boulez' New Philharmonia Nocturnes (Sony) again. Really extraordinary. In the second half to he last movement (Sirens) there are passages where a solo trumpet has haunting melodic lines against ethereal harmonies from chorus and orchestra. It doesn't get much better.



It's not the most complete, but I think this may be the best Debussy collection.

Is that the same recording released as this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81aHQwQ%2Bv4L._SY355_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 03, 2018, 06:56:28 AM
Is that the same recording released as this:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81aHQwQ%2Bv4L._SY355_.jpg)

Yes. The Sony Collections has most of the Boulez/Debussy, except the substituted Munch for La Mer and Prelude to the afternoon of a Faure.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: snyprrr on May 03, 2018, 08:04:54 AM
Here’s an idea, snyprrr, if you’re having trouble getting excited about Debussy, then simply don’t listen to him and listen to music that you do enjoy. No reason to continue to come here to beat us over the head about how you’re trying to like his music when it’s evident from your posts that you don’t.

cuz I'm always wondering what the others are hearing that I'm not.

Perhaps I'm an 'Early Debussy' fan? For some histrionic reason, the Preludes&Etudes shock my sensibilities- I certainly hear the originality of his Visions, but perhaps thought he was more silky smoove like Ravel. Debussy is altogether more all encompassing (like Mahler vs Sibelius??)...


Here's the thing: when I'm listening to the Preludes, I hear this Satie voice in my head making fun of Debussy's pretensions. I mean, Deb was the Priory of Sion, and Satie was Esoteric-

oh, nevermind, I don't know how to continue... it's just that I'm hearing Debussy @1904/5-1913-15 in terms of the greater context, with WWI, with the Debussy-Satie-Ravel falling out, with Les Six, with the Ragtime... all these things... I do find the Etudes somewhat bizarre, yet still "normal" music, Lisztian?

THE 3 SONATAS I UNDERSTAND AND LOVE!



...maybe it's the way Debussy handles the "grotesque"(out of Prokofiev's "4 characters") that I'm not getting...

or just the rubato?



Obviously, Deb is compelling enough for me to keep searching and listening... maybe he's too ubiquitous and also too myste
Title: Does Debussy PreSuppose the 'Ether'?
Post by: snyprrr on May 03, 2018, 08:11:07 AM
Does Debussy need a certain amount of natural reverberation to be fully realized? Can Debussy be fully realized in a dry studio setting? Don't act like I'm being silly! :laugh:

I'm tending to think he does, but it has to be the correct, Debussyian, amount (47%??).
Title: Re: Does Debussy PreSuppose the 'Ether'?
Post by: North Star on May 03, 2018, 09:30:00 AM
I'm tending to think he does, but it has to be the correct, Debussyian, amount (47%??).
Don't act like I'm being silly! :laugh:
Trust me, it's no act. But yeah, I agree that a moderate amount of ambiance is good to have in Debussy recordings..
Title: Re: Does Debussy PreSuppose the 'Ether'?
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 03, 2018, 09:33:08 AM
Does Debussy need a certain amount of natural reverberation to be fully realized? Can Debussy be fully realized in a dry studio setting? Don't act like I'm being silly! :laugh:

I'm tending to think he does, but it has to be the correct, Debussyian, amount (47%??).

My preference for recording perspective does not really vary by the character of the music. I like a natural concert-hall-like sound stage with a moderate amount of reverberation. In Debussy I tend to like clarity of articulation, the music itself is atmospheric enough.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on May 03, 2018, 10:10:18 PM
cuz I'm always wondering what the others are hearing that I'm not.

Perhaps I'm an 'Early Debussy' fan? For some histrionic reason, the Preludes&Etudes shock my sensibilities- I certainly hear the originality of his Visions, but perhaps thought he was more silky smoove like Ravel. Debussy is altogether more all encompassing (like Mahler vs Sibelius??)...


Here's the thing: when I'm listening to the Preludes, I hear this Satie voice in my head making fun of Debussy's pretensions. I mean, Deb was the Priory of Sion, and Satie was Esoteric-

oh, nevermind, I don't know how to continue... it's just that I'm hearing Debussy @1904/5-1913-15 in terms of the greater context, with WWI, with the Debussy-Satie-Ravel falling out, with Les Six, with the Ragtime... all these things... I do find the Etudes somewhat bizarre, yet still "normal" music, Lisztian?

THE 3 SONATAS I UNDERSTAND AND LOVE!



...maybe it's the way Debussy handles the "grotesque"(out of Prokofiev's "4 characters") that I'm not getting...

or just the rubato?



Obviously, Deb is compelling enough for me to keep searching and listening... maybe he's too ubiquitous and also too myste

Try Pelleas, I mean, it'll do your head in, but try it. Come to Europe and go and see it in Paris or London.  I think the songs are well worth exploring too. The one piano thing I think you should listen to before just forgetting his keyboard music is Jacobs/Kalish En Blanc et Noir, just because they make it so bitter, bitter about the imminent death of Jacobs  -- but it's crap sound. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on May 04, 2018, 03:59:34 AM



Debussy is altogether more all encompassing (like Mahler vs Sibelius??)...




 

This is an interesting idea.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner STAN. BUNIN RECITAL!!!!
Post by: snyprrr on May 05, 2018, 04:55:13 AM
This is an interesting idea.
more so with Deb and Ravel- Deb is "inclusionary"; Ravel "exclusionary"



HAS ONE HEARD THE STAN. BUNIN DEBUSSY RECITAL????? 'Pour le Piano'...WOW!!!! Preferrable to Kocsis?!!!...

I'm liking Weissenberg...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 12, 2018, 07:04:16 AM
Try Pelleas, I mean, it'll do your head in, but try it. Come to Europe and go and see it in Paris or London.  I think the songs are well worth exploring too. The one piano thing I think you should listen to before just forgetting his keyboard music is Jacobs/Kalish En Blanc et Noir, just because they make it so bitter, bitter about the imminent death of Jacobs  -- but it's crap sound.

Ah, 'Pelléas et Mélisande' is indeed wonderful....!!!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: GioCar on May 13, 2018, 12:24:09 AM
Speaking of Pelléas, I recently listened to the Armin Jordan's recording from the Warner box

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/190295712709.jpg?1511729252)

and it's a very interesting/compelling performance!

Since the only other performance by Jordan senior that I know is the Parsifal, and I like it very much, I'm inclined to think that Armin one of the most underrated conductors in history.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2018, 05:06:04 AM
Speaking of Pelléas, I recently listened to the Armin Jordan's recording from the Warner box

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/190295712709.jpg?1511729252)

and it's a very interesting/compelling performance!

Since the only other performance by Jordan senior that I know is the Parsifal, and I like it very much, I'm inclined to think that Armin one of the most underrated conductors in history.

Better than Abbado and Boulez?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 13, 2018, 06:05:18 AM
Speaking of Pelléas, I recently listened to the Armin Jordan's recording from the Warner box

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/190295712709.jpg?1511729252)

and it's a very interesting/compelling performance!

Since the only other performance by Jordan senior that I know is the Parsifal, and I like it very much, I'm inclined to think that Armin one of the most underrated conductors in history.

Hmm, I usually listen to Boulez's rendition, but now I definitely have to check out Jordan's!  How do you like the other performances in that box, GioCar?  Plenty of solo works.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2018, 06:08:18 AM
Hmm, I usually listen to Boulez's rendition, but now I definitely have to check out Jordan's!  How do you like the other performances in that box, GioCar?  Plenty of solo works.

Have you heard Abbado’s recording, Peter? Personally, it’s my favorite.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 13, 2018, 06:16:25 AM
Have you heard Abbado’s recording, Peter? Personally, it’s my favorite.

I actually haven't. I note that it can be found in the Abbado opera edition. My general sense of Abbado (with Mozart in particular) is typically a "thinner" sound web (if that makes any sense at all?) making me somewhat disappointed. It is just a different approach to the music.  I guess I'm spoiled with dense magical webs of music - especially when it comes to Debussy.  However, I will check out Abbado's Pelléas et Mélisande as well (since I do have a copy). I never used to listen much to Pelléas et Mélisande until I came across Boulez's recording.  It was a revelation. So - in your opinion - how does Abbado differ from Boulez?  Did you listen to Jordan's as well?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner STAN. BUNIN RECITAL!!!!
Post by: zamyrabyrd on May 13, 2018, 07:27:13 AM
HAS ONE HEARD THE STAN. BUNIN DEBUSSY RECITAL????? 'Pour le Piano'...WOW!!!! Preferrable to Kocsis?!!!...

Thanks for the heads up. He is a very interesting pianist, well-polished and thought-out performances. This is Images Bk I:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QnTYM5L960
The piano is a bit tinty though, a little too metallic for Debussy in my opinion.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2018, 07:51:14 AM
I actually haven't. I note that it can be found in the Abbado opera edition. My general sense of Abbado (with Mozart in particular) is typically a "thinner" sound web (if that makes any sense at all?) making me somewhat disappointed. It is just a different approach to the music.  I guess I'm spoiled with dense magical webs of music - especially when it comes to Debussy.  However, I will check out Abbado's Pelléas et Mélisande as well (since I do have a copy). I never used to listen much to Pelléas et Mélisande until I came across Boulez's recording.  It was a revelation. So - in your opinion - how does Abbado differ from Boulez?  Did you listen to Jordan's as well?

I think Abbado’s view of Pelléas is one that is lusher, more opulent than Boulez's. Boulez is a bit more edgier, which is a valid view as well. Also, the orchestral performance in Abbado’s performance is in a class of its’ own (he has the Wiener Philharmoniker of course which aren’t a ‘French’ sounding orchestra), but perform incredibly well. Also, I prefer the soloists in Abbado’s to Boulez’s (as fine as they are). I just think Abbado got the atmosphere of Pelléas and understood how to bring this atmosphere out in the score where many conductors seem to be weighted down by other challenges. In other words, Abbado’s Pelléas is, for me, one of balance and the results are always rewarding for this listener.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 13, 2018, 07:54:51 AM
I think Abbado’s view of Pelléas is one that is lusher, more opulent than Boulez's. Boulez is a bit more edgier, which is a valid view as well. Also, the orchestral performance in Abbado’s performance is in a class of its’ own (he has the Wiener Philharmoniker of course which aren’t a ‘French’ sounding orchestra, but perform incredibly well. Also, I prefer the soloists in Abbado’s to Boulez’s (as fine as they are). I just think Abbado got the atmosphere of Pelléas and understood how to bring this atmosphere out in the score where many conductors seem to be weighted down by other challenges. In other words, Abbado’s Pelléas is, for me, one of balance and the results are always rewarding for this listener.

Ah, alluring to say the least. Are you a fan of Abbado in general or is it more this particular recording?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2018, 10:02:55 AM
Ah, alluring to say the least. Are you a fan of Abbado in general or is it more this particular recording?

I wouldn’t say I’m a great fan of Abbado, but there is certain repertoire I believe he does well in and Debussy is one composer that I think he understands really well. Mahler, Berg, and Prokofiev being three others I believe he has a good understanding of.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 13, 2018, 10:12:24 AM
I wouldn’t say I’m a great fan of Abbado, but there is certain repertoire I believe he does well in and Debussy is one composer that I think he understands really well. Mahler, Berg, and Prokofiev being three others I believe he has a good understanding of.

It would make sense that conductors & listeners attune to each other with "specialties".  Abbado certainly has lots of fans!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2018, 11:04:20 AM
It would make sense that conductors & listeners attune to each other with "specialties".  Abbado certainly has lots of fans!

So Peter what set in the ‘Debussy Box Set Sweepstakes’ did you come away with? DG, Warner, or both?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 13, 2018, 11:37:46 AM
So Peter what set in the ‘Debussy Box Set Sweepstakes’ did you come away with? DG, Warner, or both?

Ha ha! Well, I have had the "old" DG Debussy Edition for a few years now, so I figured that the "completeness" aspect of the Warner was more interesting.  It is fun to come across the more unusual works of a composer one admires.  What about you? I suspect that you have a large number of individual releases?  ;)


I have the impression that the "new" DG is another reshuffling of the older DG (the new business model)?

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2018, 04:34:39 PM
Since the only other performance by Jordan senior that I know is the Parsifal, and I like it very much, I'm inclined to think that Armin one of the most underrated conductors in history.



I don't know if he is underrated, but all of the recordings I've heard from him on the Erato label have been superb.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2018, 06:03:14 PM
Ha ha! Well, I have had the "old" DG Debussy Edition for a few years now, so I figured that the "completeness" aspect of the Warner was more interesting.  It is fun to come across the more unusual works of a composer one admires.  What about you? I suspect that you have a large number of individual releases?  ;)


I have the impression that the "new" DG is another reshuffling of the older DG (the new business model)?



This post might interest you, Peter:

An excellent article, Jens. I very much enjoyed reading it. Unlike you, however, I found Véronique Dietschy to be quite special indeed and her choice of accompanists (whether Cassard or Strosser) are stellar. The Warner set has too many vocalists that I simply don’t like with the exceptions of Véronique Gens and Gérard Souzay. I think Warner obviously can claim the title of Complete, but there are just too many transcriptions from other composers/musicians and this goes for arrangements as well that it seems DG is more concerned about the published works. Of course, we very well know that in many instances orchestral works like Khamma and La boîte à joujoux were both left to be orchestrated by Koechlin and Caplet respectively. I can’t help feel that many of these orchestral arrangements are useless. Like for example, Collin Matthews’ Préludes or Ansermet’s Six épigraphes antiques. Both works, for me, sound much better on piano. Talking about this, reminds me of all the orchestrations Ravel did of his own piano works. The original piano scores can’t be bettered. In some instances, an orchestration sounds rather good like Caplet’s Children’s Corner, which I thought was quite tastefully done. Anyway, to end this one breathed rambling nonsense, I heartily endorse the DG set based on the amazing performances and not on ‘completeness’.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 13, 2018, 06:27:20 PM
This post might interest you, Peter:


Hmm, interesting viewpoints John! In a sense one can argue for both perspectives: The "complete Warner" to get exposure to more unknown pieces and the DG for the realm of excellence.  I often find it difficult to encounter recordings of the more unknown repertoire of a given composer.  Is a "poor" version of a rare piece better than none at all?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: GioCar on May 13, 2018, 07:09:32 PM
Better than Abbado and Boulez?
Neither better nor worse, just different. To be honest I don't know the Boulez but I can easily guess the Jordan rendition to be quite the opposite. What I like of the Jordan is the sense of drama, not an easy task in Pellèas. On the other way Abbado is great in "painting" the scenes. Sorry I cannot find better words. I like them both, anyway.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: GioCar on May 13, 2018, 07:23:07 PM
Hmm, I usually listen to Boulez's rendition, but now I definitely have to check out Jordan's!  How do you like the other performances in that box, GioCar?  Plenty of solo works.
The performances are generally fine, but the main reason for me to buy that box was its completeness. One plus of it is the great number of transcriptions/arrangements by Debussy himself and by Debussy's contemporaries which I found quite interesting to listen to.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: GioCar on May 13, 2018, 07:29:23 PM
Hmm, interesting viewpoints John! In a sense one can argue for both perspectives: The "complete Warner" to get exposure to more unknown pieces and the DG for the realm of excellence.  I often find it difficult to encounter recordings of the more unknown repertoire of a given composer.  Is a "poor" version of a rare piece better than none at all?
I wouldn't really speak of "poor" versions for that box. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2018, 07:40:22 PM
Hmm, interesting viewpoints John! In a sense one can argue for both perspectives: The "complete Warner" to get exposure to more unknown pieces and the DG for the realm of excellence.  I often find it difficult to encounter recordings of the more unknown repertoire of a given composer.  Is a "poor" version of a rare piece better than none at all?

Given that the Warner set has the likes of Ciccolini, Samson Francois, Aimard, Egorov and Beroff performing piano music, Jordan, Martinon, Cluytens conducting orchestral music, Gens and Souzey as vocalists, I can't see that the Warner set takes a back seat for "excellence." For the primary works I think only the Sony set from a few years go, with Boulez and Munch doing orchestral music, really gives it a run for it.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on May 14, 2018, 03:22:36 AM


I have the impression that the "new" DG is another reshuffling of the older DG (the new business model)?

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/%20B00742LLKU.01.L.jpg)
Older DG Box (http://a-fwd.to/1NiPeWt)


Interestingly, it isn't. (Much)

Latest on Forbes:


Review: Debussy vs. Debussy -
Complete Works By Warner Classics And Deutsche Grammophon Compared

(https://thumbor.forbes.com/thumbor/960x0/smart/https%3A%2F%2Fblogs-images.forbes.com%2Fjenslaurson%2Ffiles%2F2018%2F03%2FDebussy-VS-Debussy960-3_Jens-f-Laurson_classical-critic.jpg) (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DZH9j43WsAEIZE_.jpg)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60 (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2018/03/25/review-debussy-vs-debussy-complete-works-by-warner-and-deutsche-grammophon-compared/#60a1cdcd5e60)


Quote
The DG box contains 19 + 3 CDs (three are a bonus with especially meritorious, more or less historical, recordings) and 2 DVDs and proclaims to have “at least one version of all the composer’s music published in his lifetime as well as some posthumously issued juvenilia and fragmentary works”. In some ways it is a repeat of DG’s excellent 17 + 1 CD  “Debussy Edition” box which came out in 2012 when we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Debussy’s birth. But interestingly – as we will explore in greater detail below – the new box has not just had a last few remaining omissions patched, some key contents are considerably different, too! (Which, if you are a collector, is either good news: less doubling up – or bad news: needing to get this edition, too.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 06:11:59 AM
Interestingly, it isn't. (Much)

Such an excellent comparative review of these two recent Debussy collections!  You definitely put much work into the comparison, and it clearly shows. I went for the "rarities" aspect, but now realize that I yearn for some of the items in Universal's Debussy catalogue. And it is your "fault"!  >:D  Ha ha!    Hmm, it does sound as if both Warner and Universal put a lot of thought into these two celebratory compilations. Many thanks for sharing your article!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 06:13:45 AM
I wouldn't really speak of "poor" versions for that box.

I didn't really mean "poor" in a true sense - I think you know what I meant - more of a off the beaten track kind of recording. Is that a better word choice?  :-\
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 06:25:08 AM
Also, let's not forget that Sony also had another compilation back in 2012. I haven't compared - is this a skeleton of the current Warner box?

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 06:33:00 AM
Warner is also releasing an additional compilation very soon (May 18 in Germany & June 8 in the US): "Debussy: His First Performers".
It looks quite interesting.



It has more of an historical approach. E.g it includes Désormière's rendition of 'Pelléas et Mélisande'.

More details and sound samples (Presto):
Presto: https://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/classical/products/8436480--debussy-his-first-performers
JPC: https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/his-first-box-set/hnum/8200761

"All the artists who appear in this 10CD set, Debussy: His First Performers, were in some way pioneers in the performance of his music in the first half of the 20th century. All the recordings in this collection provide an authoritative and illuminating point of reference in our appreciation of Debussy.

The roster of performers is led by musicians who knew the composer personally, some of whom gave world premieres of his works. They also made some of the earliest recordings that feature on this set. Covering a period that extends from 1904 to 1963, Debussy: His First Performers also embraces landmark interpretations by artists, born during Debussy's lifetime, who have come to define our understanding of the composer's genius.

Among the most significant names in this collection - which covers piano, chamber and orchestral music, song and opera - are: pianists Ricardo Viñes, Alfred Cortot, Marcelle Meyer, Marguerite Long, Walter Gieseking - and Debussy himself (recordings made on piano rolls); violinist Jacques Thibaud; singers Mary Garden, Jane Bathori, Ninon Vallin, Claire Croiza (accompanied by Francis Poulenc at the piano), Maggie Teyte and Charles Panzéra; conductors Désiré-Émile Inghelbrecht, Arturo Toscanini, Pierre Monteux, Ernest Ansermet, Roger Désormière and Charles Munch."
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Baron Scarpia on May 14, 2018, 06:36:02 AM
Also, let's not forget that Sony also had another compilation back in 2012. I haven't compared - is this a skeleton of the current Warner box?



I mentioned it above. No overlap. It has mostly Boulez and Munch for the orchestral music, Crossley for a lot of the piano music, they've thrown in a few "historic" performances like Stern. Sespite not having much pretension to completeness I think it is excellent. (I have Sony and Warner.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 06:38:32 AM
Debussy is certainly getting a fair amount of attention this decade!  :P
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2018, 07:19:20 AM
Debussy is certainly getting a fair amount of attention this decade!  :P

Indeed and, while my Debussy phase is well over, I came away with a newfound admiration for the composer. The level of consistency in his oeuvre is nothing short of astonishing.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 08:32:31 AM
Indeed and, while my Debussy phase is well over, I came away with a newfound admiration for the composer. The level of consistency in his oeuvre is nothing short of astonishing.

Surely another Debussy phase will return?    ???    Or do you mean that your exploration of Debussy's works has ended? *gasp*
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on May 14, 2018, 10:49:31 AM
This is George Copeland playing his own transcription of Apres Midi d'un faune, I think it's better than the transcription Debussy made

https://www.youtube.com/v/Yn2FbXvsvKE
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2018, 10:52:20 AM
Surely another Debussy phase will return?    ???    Or do you mean your exploration of Debussy's works?

I’m sure I’ll circle back around to the Impressionists at some point, but not right now as I’m basically on a post-WWII modernism kick again.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on May 14, 2018, 10:53:52 AM
Hmm, I usually listen to Boulez's rendition, but now I definitely have to check out Jordan's!  How do you like the other performances in that box, GioCar?  Plenty of solo works.

The one I like is Serge Baudo,
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 10:54:44 AM
I’m sure I’ll circle back around to the Impressionists at some point, but not right now as I’m basically on a post-WWII modernism kick again.

 Well.....      ;)

(https://media.giphy.com/media/xFOc3rYIGE3aE/giphy.gif)


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 14, 2018, 11:01:19 AM
Well.....      ;)

(https://media.giphy.com/media/xFOc3rYIGE3aE/giphy.gif)

Right back at you! :D

(https://media1.tenor.com/images/9cdcdb12c0c4c6895f61c614273588f0/tenor.gif)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 11:08:19 AM
 :D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Josquin13 on May 14, 2018, 12:55:52 PM
I agree with Mandryka, the "Pelléas et Mélisande" from Serge Baudo (originally on Eurodisc, then later on RCA) is one of the finest in the catalogue, & arguably the best modern recording of the opera.  As much as I admire Abbado, Dutoit, Haitink, & Boulez in Debussy, they're no match for Baudo & his all French cast in this score, IMO.  I haven't heard Armin Jordan's Pelléas, but did hear him conduct "La Mer" in concert years ago, and it was excellent, so I'm not surprised to hear that his Pelléas is very good.




Among older mono recordings of the opera, conductor Andre Cluytens' Pelléas with soprano Victoria de los Angeles as Mélisande is a special favorite (as she's probably my favorite Mélisande).  Ernst Ansermet's Pelléas is very fine, too.


https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Pell%C3%A9as-M%C3%A9lisande-Vol-1/dp/B004B5VT4G/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1526334003&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=debussy++pelleas+cluytens



I confess I'm not quite as big a fan of the famous EMI References recording from conductor Roger Désormière.

https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Pelleas-Melisande-Claude/dp/B000EF5MHW/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1526334448&sr=1-1&keywords=debussy++pelleas+roger
https://www.amazon.com/Pelleas-Melisande-Melodies-Claude-Debussy/dp/B000026GCZ/ref=sr_1_2?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1526334448&sr=1-2&keywords=debussy++pelleas+roger

I've yet to hear the Pelleas recording by Debussy's friend, conductor Désiré-Émile Ingelbrecht, but would like to:

https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Melisande-Suzanne-Danco-soprano/dp/B009GG4B8G/ref=pd_sbs_15_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B009GG4B8G&pd_rd_r=KDPGZ0ZZ6F5G8H4367XZ&pd_rd_w=Y8yNl&pd_rd_wg=bz010&psc=1&refRID=KDPGZ0ZZ6F5G8H4367XZ

EDIT: One very notable Pelléas et Mélisande that I forgot to mention on my list of favorites yesterday is the 1953 recording from conductor, Jean Fournet, on Phillips:
https://www.amazon.com/Debussy-Pelleas-Melisande-Maurane/dp/B00000E51A/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1526409836&sr=1-1&keywords=pelleas+et+melisande+jean+fournet
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=150065


Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Moonfish on May 14, 2018, 02:20:50 PM
Hmm, it sounds like one needs to check out the Baudo performance of "Pelléas et Mélisande" with all these glowing recommendations!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on May 14, 2018, 03:57:55 PM
... the "Pelleas et Melisande" from Serge Baudo ... is one of the finest in the catalogue.  Among older mono recordings of the opera, conductor Andre Cluytens' Pelleas with soprano Victoria de los Angeles as Melisande is a special favorite.  Ernst Ansermet's Pelleas is very fine, too.

I confess I'm not quite as big a fan of the famous EMI References recording from conductor Roger Desormiere.  I've yet to hear the Pelleas recording by Debussy's friend, conductor Desire-Emile Ingelbrecht, but would like to:

One could say I am a P&M nut.  I own all those recordings that you mention and a few others.  But the ones I come back to the most are the Robert Wilson DVD (Michael Boder, Conductor; Jean-Sébastien Bou, Pelléas; Mélisande is sung by Maria Bayo), Boulez and Abbado.  Ansermet is among the best, as well, imo.

I don't think one can talk about this opera without mentioning Karajan.  His recording was one that drew deserved attention to the opera and I think encouraged other conductors to take it up.  And despite using an international cast devoid of any native French singers (American Richard Stilwell as Pelléas; Frederica von Stade as Mélisande; Belgian José van Dam as Golaud; and Italian Ruggero Raimondi as Arkel) they are very good and his Berlin Philharmonic was at their best in this work.

My most recent recording is this DVD:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51LM1bMYJ1L._SY445_.jpg)

Quote
Staged in Essen's Aalto Theatre, this pioneering work of early modern times was a landmark. 'Conductor Stefan Soltesz knows how to highlight these sensualists Debussy colours, let melody blossom, enthral with the magic of sound. And when these seraphic tones ring out from a stage flooded with light, we cannot help but leave the world far behind', wrote the critics. The consummately precise staging by veteran stage director Nikolaus Lehnhoff has a cast to match these wondrous sounds. The characters seem to float through the scenes, bringing to the stage the unspeakable, the negation and extinction of their feelings, showing the people of this story in inescapable solitude. This production stars the young South African baritone Jacques Imbrailo as Pelléas and Michaela Selinger as Melisande, as well as Vincent Le Texier and Doris Soffel.

But I haven't had a chance to sit down and watch it in entirety.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Josquin13 on May 15, 2018, 08:29:08 AM
What I like about Baudo's conducting is that he finds more human feeling in Debussy's score than other digital era conductors (Dutoit, Boulez, Haitink, etc.).  He doesn't overly modernize the score.  Right from the opening overture, the emotional content is more palpable in Baudo's reading than with other modern conductors (though Abbado gets closest).  In comparison, Dutoit is cooly detached in this overture (though I'm normally a fan of Dutoit's Debussy--finding his Nocturnes, for example, to be among the finest & most insightful readings I've heard).  Critic Jeffrey Sarver at MusicWebInternational writes that Dutoit's Pelléas is as "dry as dust" and "completely analytical and free of poetic nuance".  (Nevertheless, I'd say it has its place!)

I can't find Baudo's opera recording on You Tube, but did find him conducting Marius Constant's Suite from Pelléas, played by the Czech Philharmonic.  It is a gentle, nuanced, and detailed reading, and should give people some idea about why I like Baudo's conducting of the opera (& other music by Debussy):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-egazHf7aQ

With that said, of course there are many things I enjoy about the other modern era recordings--such as the textural clarity of Boulez's reading on DG (I've not heard his early CBS reading), Anne-Sofie von Otter's Mélisande for Haitink (she's excellent in French music, for example: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Sofie-von-Otter-Chanson/dp/B000001GRC/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1526405027&sr=1-1&keywords=von+otter+french+songs), the amplitude and warmth of the Vienna strings for Abbado and his greater sense of drama, yet attention to delicate shadings, etc..  I even find Dutoit's ultra cool reading to be of great value--as an alternative view of the opera--since Dutoit has essentially stripped the opera of its romantic gestures and mannerisms, firmly placing the score in the 20th century.  Indeed, my 5 favorite Debussy conductors of the modern era are Dutoit, Abbado, Boulez, Haitink, and Baudo (though Baudo's Pelléas is admittedly from the late analogue era--1978). 

(The only other conductor I might put in their league, based upon his Ravel, is Eliahu Inbal.  But unfortunately Inbal didn't record much Debussy, & he has recently retired from conducting.  Yan Pascal Tortelier can be good too, but generally speaking, I don't find his Debussy to be quite as interesting as those 5.  Admittedly, I need to get to know Armin Jordan's Debussy better than I do.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Josquin13 on May 15, 2018, 10:09:17 AM
One notable Pelléas et Mélisande that I forgot to mention on my list of favorites yesterday is the 1953 recording from conductor, Jean Fournet, which was recorded around the same time as Ansermet's, & is well worth hearing.  Among conductors that worked (& recorded) into the digital era, Jean Fournet was, I believe, along with Manuel Rosenthal, the last surviving link with Debussy & Ravel and the great French tradition.



http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=150065
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 20, 2018, 11:13:36 AM
Hmm, it sounds like one needs to check out the Baudo performance of "Pelléas et Mélisande" with all these glowing recommendations!

YES! I haven’t finished listening to this performance, but what I’ve heard thus far has been exquisite.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: kyjo on May 22, 2018, 06:52:28 PM
A fantastic recent discovery of mine was Debussy's early-ish Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra. Why isn't this work played/discussed more often? It's absolutely gorgeous! I listened to this excellent recording:

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on October 09, 2018, 03:28:46 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-PgRO6YnL._SY355_.jpg)
I'm quite interested in this one...I'm waiting for some reviews here or elsewhere...anyone?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ainsi la nuit on October 10, 2018, 05:43:43 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-PgRO6YnL._SY355_.jpg)
I'm quite interested in this one...I'm waiting for some reviews here or elsewhere...anyone?

Very enjoyable recording! The Violin Sonata in particular was quite a revelation for me, but the rest of the performances are equally arresting. Recommended!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on October 10, 2018, 01:52:00 PM
Very enjoyable recording! The Violin Sonata in particular was quite a revelation for me, but the rest of the performances are equally arresting. Recommended!
Thanks!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on October 31, 2018, 12:10:05 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81-PgRO6YnL._SY355_.jpg)
I'm quite interested in this one...I'm waiting for some reviews here or elsewhere...anyone?

Very good recordings - with some of my favorite musicians - of repertoire that I very, very rarely warm up to.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on October 31, 2018, 12:13:38 AM
Very good recordings - with some of my favorite musicians - of repertoire that I very, very rarely warm up to.
I'm very glad I bought this.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vandermolen on November 20, 2018, 03:51:49 AM
Went for a walk on the Sussex Downs on Sunday which ended up on the coast in Eastbourne. Of course I had 'La Mer' going through my head before remembering that Debussy had completed the work at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne!  :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2019, 08:13:37 AM
A fantastic recent discovery of mine was Debussy's early-ish Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra. Why isn't this work played/discussed more often? It's absolutely gorgeous! I listened to this excellent recording:



That’s a good question. From what I understand, the premiere of the work didn’t actually take place until after Debussy’s death (in 1919 I believe). The reason as to why it hasn’t been popular or performed very often perhaps stems from the fact that Debussy himself withdrew the work, so it has this feeling of ‘against the composer wishes’ attached to it perhaps. As for my own opinion of the work, I think it’s quite good, but hardly a milestone in the composer’s oeuvre. I seldom listen to it as I feel there are other orchestral pieces of his that I greatly prefer of Fantasie, but, to be honest, I don’t listen to much of Debusssy’s orchestral music aside from Jeux (his orchestral masterpiece, IMHO) or Nocturnes. I do listen to La Mer and Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune on occasion.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2019, 08:27:49 AM
I'm very glad I bought this.

Yes, that’s a fine recording of Debussy’s late sonatas. It took me a second time around to fully appreciate these particular performances. I’m not sure if you’ve heard this recording yet or not, but do let me know what you think of the performances. A highlight for me was the Faust/Melnikov performance, but, to be fair, everything was incredibly performed. I like how this program intersperses solo piano works with the sonatas.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Brian on February 06, 2019, 11:46:38 AM
This Harmonia Mundi series - jewel case, digipak, some kind of special format presentation? Curious because of the stylized graphic designs across all the covers.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 06, 2019, 04:01:10 PM
Yes, that’s a fine recording of Debussy’s late sonatas. It took me a second time around to fully appreciate these particular performances. I’m not sure if you’ve heard this recording yet or not, but do let me know what you think of the performances. A highlight for me was the Faust/Melnikov performance, but, to be fair, everything was incredibly performed. I like how this program intersperses solo piano works with the sonatas.
I'm not sure I have anything deep to say about this but I really like it. I have a big problem with very "romantic" sounding playing. I have to listen to this again to say exactly what I'm hearing but this pleases me in a way that many modern recordings don't. Do they use less vibrato? I like the contours of the playing on the Faust but I think in the cello too. They find something to say or a fresh feeling, especially on the Faust

By the way, I also like this release a lot. OK, I'm not sure if it compares well to the ones people cherish like Jacobs. Maybe it's not quite up to that level but the sound of the piano really stands out for me here so it's a kind of aesthetic I like. I mean the way the piano is recorded; HM does a great job. I've been noticing recently that some pianos sound better than others. Recently I deleted Craig Sheppard's recordings from my list because of the sound of the piano.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DxsEyrgWsAQDlW3.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2019, 10:10:07 PM
This Harmonia Mundi series - jewel case, digipak, some kind of special format presentation? Curious because of the stylized graphic designs across all the covers.

Cardboard clamshells with elongated booklets and CD sleeves (w/ design or variation of the design) and just a gorgeous presentation on all of them.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2019, 10:13:24 PM
I'm not sure I have anything deep to say about this but I really like it. I have a big problem with very "romantic" sounding playing. I have to listen to this again to say exactly what I'm hearing but this pleases me in a way that many modern recordings don't. Do they use less vibrato? I like the contours of the playing on the Faust but I think in the cello too. They find something to say or a fresh feeling, especially on the Faust

By the way, I also like this release a lot. OK, I'm not sure if it compares well to the ones people cherish like Jacobs. Maybe it's not quite up to that level but the sound of the piano really stands out for me here so it's a kind of aesthetic I like. I mean the way the piano is recorded; HM does a great job. I've been noticing recently that some pianos sound better than others. Recently I deleted Craig Sheppard's recordings from my list because of the sound of the piano.
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DxsEyrgWsAQDlW3.jpg)

I can only nod my head in agreement. I can’t really find anything bad to say about any of the afore mentioned performances. Muraro does a fine job, indeed. The next recording of the Études on my to hear list is Jan Michiels’ recording on Fuga Libera, which Rafael (ritter) highly recommended.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 07, 2019, 02:08:45 AM
I can only nod my head in agreement. I can’t really find anything bad to say about any of the afore mentioned performances. Muraro does a fine job, indeed. The next recording of the Études on my to hear list is Jan Michiels’ recording on Fuga Libera, which Rafael (ritter) highly recommended.
If I'm not mistaken, he uses a period piano on that? I have it in my collection I think. Please let me know if you think it's special after you listen. Now that I'm streaming, I'm having trouble focusing on what to listen to.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on February 07, 2019, 04:00:50 AM
If I'm not mistaken, he uses a period piano on that? I have it in my collection I think. Please let me know if you think it's special after you listen. Now that I'm streaming, I'm having trouble focusing on what to listen to.
Jan Michiels uses an Érard piano from 1892, which would be an instrument in use in Paris at the time Debussy was active. The sound is different (much dryer) from what we’d expect from a modern concert grand, but IMO suits the music splendidly. The beauty of this album (apart from the playing, of course) is the imaginative programming: Debussy’s late piano music is interspersed with pieces in homage to the composer by leading colleagues (andpublished by La Revue Musicale in 1920).  There’s music by Falla, Dukas, Bartók, Roussel, and the rare original piano version of the chorale from Stravinsky’s Symphonies d’instruments à vent.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on February 07, 2019, 07:18:09 AM
That Muraro features some rarae aves by Messiaen (especially rare because in an arrangement for piano by Muraro) but it's a live recording and the audience somewhat noisy.  Still, a welcome addition to my aviary.

This Harmonia Mundi series - jewel case, digipak, some kind of special format presentation? Curious because of the stylized graphic designs across all the covers.

Quote from: eClassical
A century after his death on 25 March 1918, many Harmonia Mundi artists are eager to pay tribute to Claude Debussy, the magician of melody and timbre, the great 'colourist' and father of modern music.

Quote from: Harmonia Mundi
For the first time since 2009 (the Haydn bicentenary), Harmonia Mundi has decided to celebrate in its own way one of the most outstanding composers of the modern era. In its own way, that is to say by giving the most relevant artists in its family an opportunity to present their vision of Debussy, one hundred years after his death – guided by the hindsight we possess today after a century of research and studies on Debussyan style, performing techniques, musical sources, iconography and correspondence. The message is very simple: to reread these scores, providing a new view of the works concerned without succumbing to the temptation of a complete recording, or opting for a single aesthetic approach over another (for example, for period instruments against modern ones).

What a pleasure it has been for us, as producers, to see how enthusiastically the label’s artists (and their guests too) have responded, all motivated by a shared desire: to exalt the father of modern music! Whether it is the works for solo piano on a period instrument (Alexander Melnikov) or a Steinway (Javier Perianes, Nikolai Lugansky), the highly individual world of the mélodies (jointly presented by Sophie Karthäuser and Eugene Asti, Stéphane Degout and Alain Planès), or the chamber music in a variety of configurations, all these eminent artists – from Isabelle Faust to Jean-Guihen Queyras, from Antoine Tamestit to Tanguy de Williencourt – have truly given their all, and always to the same high artistic standards. ... ...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 07, 2019, 07:22:30 AM
If I'm not mistaken, he uses a period piano on that? I have it in my collection I think. Please let me know if you think it's special after you listen. Now that I'm streaming, I'm having trouble focusing on what to listen to.

See Rafael’s response. He beat me to it. :D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 09, 2019, 05:23:29 AM
See Rafael’s response. He beat me to it. :D
Thanks to both of you. I still haven't gotten to it yet (not recently, I listened to it a while back but my memory is foggy - I'm not sure I loved the sound of it) but it looks like it could be the only recording of its kind. Planes did a series using period pianos but I think he defaulted to a modern on his Etudes. Lubimov or Melnikov should do it. Both have great recordings of preludes on periods. I think those two are the most successful of Debussy in that way. Immerseel recorded preludes on an old piano as well but I didn't have a great impression of it. 
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2019, 08:06:40 AM
Thanks to both of you. I still haven't gotten to it yet (not recently, I listened to it a while back but my memory is foggy - I'm not sure I loved the sound of it) but it looks like it could be the only recording of its kind. Planes did a series using period pianos but I think he defaulted to a modern on his Etudes. Lubimov or Melnikov should do it. Both have great recordings of preludes on periods. I think those two are the most successful of Debussy in that way. Immerseel recorded preludes on an old piano as well but I didn't have a great impression of it.

Personally, I’m not one of those listeners who prefers a PI over a modern one. I never bothered to get into any kind of debate with these kinds of listeners, because it’s just not worth it as I think the pianist and the feeling they put into the music is much more important than the instrument itself and more important than any of this is the composer’s music of course. My favorite Debussy pianists Paul Jacobs and Zoltan Kocsis, for example, didn’t use PI pianos, but the result is still staggeringly original and unique because of their conception of the music. So whether it’s played on an Érard or a Yamaha Concert Grand, it really makes no difference to me as long as the pianist in question has something to offer musically.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Christo on February 09, 2019, 12:29:20 PM
Went for a walk on the Sussex Downs on Sunday which ended up on the coast in Eastbourne. Of course I had 'La Mer' going through my head before remembering that Debussy had completed the work at the Grand Hotel, Eastbourne!  :)
'La Mer' is in the air then, at Eastbourne. Debussy was merely the vessel through which La Mer passed (and you were over a century late).  8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vandermolen on February 10, 2019, 07:04:49 AM
'La Mer' is in the air then, at Eastbourne. Debussy was merely the vessel through which La Mer passed (and you were over a century late).  8)
Very true!
 8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2019, 07:51:38 AM
Heads up my fellow Debussians:

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/5400439005907.jpg?1544095280)

If you love Debussy’s late piano music, in particular, the Études, then I think you’ll be quite thrilled by this disc. Jan Michiels plays on an Érard piano on this recording and it sounds fantastic.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 11, 2019, 07:28:41 PM
Heads up my fellow Debussians:

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/5400439005907.jpg?1544095280)

If you love Debussy’s late piano music, in particular, the Études, then I think you’ll be quite thrilled by this disc. Jan Michiels plays on an Érard piano on this recording and it sounds fantastic.
I’m definitely going to listen to this today.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2019, 07:39:24 PM
I’m definitely going to listen to this today.

Excellent. Let us know what you think. So far, Rafael and I love this disc and we’ve been trying to turn as many people as we can to it.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 12, 2019, 03:34:35 PM
Excellent. Let us know what you think. So far, Rafael and I love this disc and we’ve been trying to turn as many people as we can to it.
The limits of the instrument seem to make an interesting recording. It seems like some dynamic limitations are turned to an advantage in favor of something atmospheric as a result. I still need to compare this more to some others. I don't know...some intimacy is lost maybe. Presently I'm in love with Muraro.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2019, 07:28:26 PM
The limits of the instrument seem to make an interesting recording. It seems like some dynamic limitations are turned to an advantage in favor of something atmospheric as a result. I still need to compare this more to some others. I don't know...some intimacy is lost maybe. Presently I'm in love with Muraro.

Yeah, for the Études, Paul Jacobs’ performance (on Nonesuch) is my reference recording. For me, it doesn’t get any better and I’ve heard many performances of this masterwork.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 13, 2019, 04:58:43 PM
Yeah, for the Études, Paul Jacobs’ performance (on Nonesuch) is my reference recording. For me, it doesn’t get any better and I’ve heard many performances of this masterwork.
I've been listening to Jacobs lately, probably following your, or someone's, recommendation. Top of the heap!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2019, 07:44:53 PM
I've been listening to Jacobs lately, probably following your, or someone's, recommendation. Top of the heap!

Indeed! I think Rafael and I both have spoke highly of Jacobs and I think Dancing Divertimentian has as well.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on May 07, 2019, 04:34:05 AM
The mammoth edition of Debussy's correspondence, released in 2005 by Gallimard, arrived this morning, less than 18 hours after I caved in to an offer I couldn't resist made to me by Amazon.es.



It's a beautiful book (well, the distinctive look of Gallimard's collection blanche is beautiful in itself). It includes a 10- page preface, a 9-page "History of the Correspondence" , and more than 2180 pages of letters, ranging from new year's wishes to his grandmother by the 10-year old composer-to-be, to condolences sent to his widow Emma by the likes of Falla and Stravinsky on the occasion of Claude's death. Then there's several annexes, including the reproduction of Debussy's signature as it evolved over the years, as well as short paragraphs on each correspondent, and a detailed index.

Yes, there's some uninteresting stuff (e.g, the wonderful prose of André Caplet in a postcard, just the word "Amitiés", is reproduced in all its splendour  ;D), contracts with Durand and such, but also there are letters that can be more interesting (e.g. with d'Annunzio--surrounding Le martyre...--, with Falla, with Ravel, and many more).

Haven't read anything in detail yet of course, but did read Debussy's one letter to Reynaldo Hahn (the footnote to it stresses the artistic and personal animosity between both men). In turns out that one of Hahn's ballets, La fête chez Thérèse (important enough to  be mentioned in the commemorative medallion issued in France when Reynaldo died, but AFAIK unrecorded to date) , uses some quotes from Debussy's Fêtes galantes, and the composer curtly but politely grants his permission. Just 9 months later, though, Debussy dismiissively refers to Reynaldo as a “p…….” (for pédéraste) in a letter to Louis Laloy  ::).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on May 07, 2019, 05:32:23 AM
Seems to be a lovely book, Rafael. Enjoy!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on August 22, 2019, 03:04:29 PM
Happy birthday to the great Claude Debussy.  :)

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 26, 2020, 12:18:16 PM
Debussy, Claude - Box Set Choices?  Slowly going through my classical CD collection and up to the 'Ds' - not listening to everything but culling out duplicates mainly and replacing some - currently for Debussy's Solo Piano Works, I have the Bavouzet 5 discs (bought as released) and the Ogawa box (replaced some of my previous discs, such as Roge & Ciccolini); also a couple CDs of Gieseking - BUT looking on Amazon today, there are a plethora of Debussy 'complete collections' in this genre; not unexpected.

Now, I do enjoy my current 'holdings' and listening to both now - but would be curious what some of the present thoughts are on the performers shown (or others not down below) regarding your favorites?  Thanks for any comments.  Dave :)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71H8%2B5X7pcL._SL1400_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81zK1qrs8ML._SL1200_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81CtNnHACEL._SL1500_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81B5IVzwIrL._SL1500_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TA84JVH0L.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61wFF6Hn-iL._SL1440_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91jCa73B3wL._SL1417_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51aKNr4IZ1L.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on January 26, 2020, 02:14:47 PM
Well I'm very happy with the Bavouzet. Indeed in quite a few cases it significantly changed my appreciation of pieces.

I don't know any of the others particularly. I have a recording of Gieseking's preludes (not sure whether it would be the same recording) and couldn't ever really get past the sound quality. But plenty of people can it seems.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on January 26, 2020, 02:48:16 PM
Gieseking's playing is amazing, but I no longer listen to it on account of the very poor audio.

I don't really have any other full sets. I like the Decca 2cd I have with Pascal Rogé playing the Préludes, Images, Estampes, etc. The Ciccolini looks worthy. I think that's next for me. I bet Bavouzet is a good one too.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 26, 2020, 02:50:20 PM
Well I'm very happy with the Bavouzet. Indeed in quite a few cases it significantly changed my appreciation of pieces.

I don't know any of the others particularly. I have a recording of Gieseking's preludes (not sure whether it would be the same recording) and couldn't ever really get past the sound quality. But plenty of people can it seems.

Hi Madiel - thanks for your comments - I like both the Bavouzet & Ogawa sets and will probably 'cull out' my couple of Giesenking's discs for the same reason, i.e. 'age of the sound' - in general, I like more modern sound and engineering - for those debating on these more recent performances, a couple of MusicWeb reviews are attached; the reviewer seems to really enjoy Noriko's piano playing, although Jed Distler gave her poorer marks for performance in ClassicsToday (but Jed seems to be disliked often in this forum - ;)) - Dave :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2020, 07:42:43 PM
Debussy, Claude - Box Set Choices?  Slowly going through my classical CD collection and up to the 'Ds' - not listening to everything but culling out duplicates mainly and replacing some - currently for Debussy's Solo Piano Works, I have the Bavouzet 5 discs (bought as released) and the Ogawa box (replaced some of my previous discs, such as Roge & Ciccolini); also a couple CDs of Gieseking - BUT looking on Amazon today, there are a plethora of Debussy 'complete collections' in this genre; not unexpected.

Now, I do enjoy my current 'holdings' and listening to both now - but would be curious what some of the present thoughts are on the performers shown (or others not down below) regarding your favorites?  Thanks for any comments.  Dave :)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71H8%2B5X7pcL._SL1400_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81zK1qrs8ML._SL1200_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81CtNnHACEL._SL1500_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81B5IVzwIrL._SL1500_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51TA84JVH0L.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61wFF6Hn-iL._SL1440_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91jCa73B3wL._SL1417_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51aKNr4IZ1L.jpg)

Okay, now this is a topic I know a little about. :) I think as far as complete sets go, it’s difficult to beat Ciccolini. I haven’t heard nor own all of the complete sets of Debussy’s solo piano music. Bavouzet is a pianist who constantly gets praised, but strangely I’m left rather cold by his performances except in Ravel’s concerti (how odd is that? :D). I don’t know, there’s just something missing --- a certain magic I suppose. Ogawa is ‘okay’ nothing special --- some of her tempi are bizarre like in Études for example. Rogé has never been a pianist I’ve flocked to. I find his performances rather bland, actually. I don’t know Fergus-Thompson, Chaplin, or Rouvier. Personally, I would rather pick and choose in Debussy rather than buy complete sets. Like, I’m not sure how difficult they are to find nowadays, but Paul Jacobs' recordings are absolutely essential and a must for any Debussy collection. I also really like Kocsis (who has recorded a good bit of his music for Philips). Other favorite Debussy pianists: Michelangeli, Kodama, Sasaki, and Egorov.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: T. D. on January 26, 2020, 08:31:59 PM
I liked Gieseking's playing but sold the set because I couldn't get over the poor sound.
Got a (used) Kocsis box set and thought it was great, but had to return it because one disc was scratched.
Currently own Bavouzet based on various rave reviews, but have been oddly unimpressed (greatly prefer Kocsis and Michelangeli in the pieces he recorded). Reading recommendations with interest.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on January 26, 2020, 09:50:08 PM
Debussy, Claude -


Maybe see if you can hear Beroff on Denon.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on January 28, 2020, 03:42:52 AM
I've ordered the Martinon box set with Ravel and Debussy, very excited to hear it. There is still some orchestral music of Debussy that I've not heard.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 28, 2020, 09:22:23 AM
I've ordered the Martinon box set with Ravel and Debussy, very excited to hear it. There is still some orchestral music of Debussy that I've not heard.

Just re-listened to the 4 Debussy discs in the Martinon box a few days ago - excellent as I remembered (been a while since my last encore w/ these recordings) - hope that you enjoy - will listen to the Ravel later.  Dave :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 28, 2020, 09:28:37 AM
Just wanted to put a post just left in the 'listening thread' here concerning the Debussy & Ravel et al String Quartets - enjoy the Arcanto Quartett & Quatuor Ebene the most, and may 'cull out' the Emersons?  As stated, a crowded field, so others please post your favorites for others coming to this thread looking for advice - Dave

Quote
Debussy & Ravel - String Quartets - my current three recordings shown below - all quite good, although the Emerson SQ may be my least favorite vs. the newer recordings - of course, this is a very crowded field and I'm sure others have their own top choices - reviews attached for those interested, especially in the latter two groups.  Dave :)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/i-8RhkhLm/0/45ee5781/O/Debussy_EmersonSQ.png)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51U6g5TltXL.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81410JQPvwL._SL1425_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2020, 10:30:08 AM
Just wanted to put a post just left in the 'listening thread' here concerning the Debussy & Ravel et al String Quartets - enjoy the Arcanto Quartett & Quatuor Ebene the most, and may 'cull out' the Emersons?  As stated, a crowded field, so others please post your favorites for others coming to this thread looking for advice - Dave

You have two fine performances in both the Arcanto Quartett and Quatuor Ebene recordings. If you want to add a third (to replace the dismal Emerson), then check out Quatuor Debussy on Timpani. I’m not sure whether this recording is still in-print or not, but it deserves a special mention.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 28, 2020, 11:00:32 AM
You have two fine performances in both the Arcanto Quartett and Quatuor Ebene recordings. If you want to add a third (to replace the dismal Emerson), then check out Quatuor Debussy on Timpani. I’m not sure whether this recording is still in-print or not, but it deserves a special mention.

Thanks John - decided to 'cull out' the Emersons - the two recordings are likely enough for me although there are plenty of others, as you mention!  Dave
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2020, 11:10:22 AM
Thanks John - decided to 'cull out' the Emersons - the two recordings are likely enough for me although there are plenty of others, as you mention!  Dave

Yes, indeed. 8)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on January 28, 2020, 12:08:26 PM
I like the Keller Quartet best of those I’ve heard. Great performance. You can never go wrong with a Hungarian string quartet in my book.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on January 28, 2020, 12:46:12 PM
The quartetto italiano is my reference recording of the Debussy and Ravel quartets.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Roasted Swan on January 28, 2020, 02:51:59 PM
The quartetto italiano is my reference recording of the Debussy and Ravel quartets.

You won't go far wrong with the Quartetto Italiano playing anything!!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on January 28, 2020, 03:00:17 PM
You won't go far wrong with the Quartetto Italiano playing anything!!

No argument.

I'm struggling to remember what other recordings I've listened to. Recently it was the Leowenguth quartet, a mono recording from the big DGG Mono box. I enjoyed it quite a lot, despite the limitations imposed by the audio quality. I also have the Belcea.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on January 28, 2020, 03:19:15 PM
The most impressive recent Debussy/Ravel (with Faure thrown in) quartets was by Quatuor Ébène

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81410JQPvwL._SL1425_.jpg)

Also, the Jerusalem Quartet in this series is very good

(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/3149020933893.jpg?1525439614)

But my all time favorite is the Eroica Quartet on period instruments

(https://www.resonusclassics.com/freedownload/RES10107_cover_300dpi.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 28, 2020, 05:12:24 PM
The most impressive recent Debussy/Ravel (with Faure thrown in) quartets was by Quatuor Ébène

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81410JQPvwL._SL1425_.jpg)  (https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/3149020933893.jpg?1525439614)  (https://www.resonusclassics.com/freedownload/RES10107_cover_300dpi.jpg)

Also, the Jerusalem Quartet in this series is very good

But my all time favorite is the Eroica Quartet on period instruments
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 28, 2020, 05:19:07 PM
The most impressive recent Debussy/Ravel (with Faure thrown in) quartets was by Quatuor Ébène

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81410JQPvwL._SL1425_.jpg)  (https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/3149020933893.jpg?1525439614)  (https://www.resonusclassics.com/freedownload/RES10107_cover_300dpi.jpg)

Also, the Jerusalem Quartet in this series is very good

But my all time favorite is the Eroica Quarteton period instruments

Thanks San Antone for the comments & recommendations - for those interested, go back to my post w/ the PDF attached - has reviews of the Quatuor Ebene & also the Arcanto Quartett, a great review.  NOW, I've not heard about the Eroica Quartet - Debussy & Ravel on gut strings? - OK I'm a BIG period instrument fan, but apparently from the review attached, the composers likely heard their string works on these instruments - the recording is available on Spotify, so I'm going to take a listen!  Dave
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on January 29, 2020, 01:43:10 AM
The Eroica recording of the 'original version' Mendelssohn Octet is very good indeed.

My current go-to for Debussy and Ravel is Quatuor Hermes, brash and modern, though I agree that the Quartetto Italiano is an enduring classic, and a more polite delivery.

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71GghRfMFbL._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on January 29, 2020, 02:07:27 AM
My impression is that there are quite a lot of good renditions of the Debussy/Ravel quartet pairing.

The only one I own is the Melos Quartet, which was a common recommendation at the time.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2020, 09:30:59 AM
My current go-to for Debussy and Ravel is Quatuor Hermes, brash and modern, though I agree that the Quartetto Italiano is an enduring classic, and a more polite delivery.

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/71GghRfMFbL._SS500_.jpg)

I never cared for the Quartetto Italiano’s Debussy/Ravel SQ recording, but this one from Quatuor Hermès looks rather good. The Dutilleux seems to be a popular coupling for both the Debussy and Ravel these days.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2020, 09:40:10 AM
My impression is that there are quite a lot of good renditions of the Debussy/Ravel quartet pairing.

There certainly are and the discography for both SQs is staggering. I’ll never collect them all, but I wouldn’t really want them all either. I know you’re not one that likes to duplicate works in your collection, but I strongly recommend this recording:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk3NjQxOC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX19LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1MDk3OTc2Mjl9)

This is one of those ‘desert island’ recordings for me.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 29, 2020, 09:52:44 AM
I never cared for the Quartetto Italiano’s Debussy/Ravel SQ recording, but this one from Quatuor Hermès looks rather good. The Dutilleux seems to be a popular coupling for both the Debussy and Ravel these days.

Nice to get a third SQ on these Debussy-Ravel SQ discs - Faure is probably my favorite addition but others add variety.  This morning I listened to the two sets below on Spotify and really enjoyed the Eroica Quartet over the Quartetto Italiano - interestingly, the latter group recorded these works twice, in the 1950s w/ mono sound and then in 1965 (the recording below) - the reviewer in the attachment seemed to prefer the earlier Q. Italiano recording - I've not listen to both to even offer an opinion.  Dave

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/916hKslH6VL._SS500_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51R4IZs%2BwKL.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2020, 10:01:49 AM
Nice to get a third SQ on these Debussy-Ravel SQ discs - Faure is probably my favorite addition but others add variety.  This morning I listened to the two sets below on Spotify and really enjoyed the Eroica Quartet over the Quartetto Italiano - interestingly, the latter group recorded these works twice, in the 1950s w/ mono sound and then in 1965 (the recording below) - the reviewer in the attachment seemed to prefer the earlier Q. Italiano recording - I've not listen to both to even offer an opinion.  Dave

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/916hKslH6VL._SS500_.jpg)  (https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51R4IZs%2BwKL.jpg)

I see the Eroica Quartet’s recording is only available as a download or streaming --- this is pretty disappointing.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 29, 2020, 11:01:52 AM
I see the Eroica Quartet’s recording is only available as a download or streaming --- this is pretty disappointing.

Yep - noticed that the other day - the MP3 is $7 USD at Amazon USA - at Chandos (https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/RE%200107), the 16-bit FLAC is about twice that amount and a well done booklet is available (see below) - purchase or just rely on using Spotify?  Dave :)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/i-tVsCPdg/0/5a650098/O/Chandos_Eroica.png)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: San Antone on January 29, 2020, 11:07:51 AM
I bought the CD, but it was a few years ago. No matter how you listen to it, the Eroica recording is a real treat. These works come alive with the gut stringed instruments.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2020, 11:22:51 AM
Yep - noticed that the other day - the MP3 is $7 USD at Amazon USA - at Chandos (https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/RE%200107), the 16-bit FLAC is about twice that amount and a well done booklet is available (see below) - purchase or just rely on using Spotify?  Dave :)

(https://photos.smugmug.com/Other/Classical-Music/i-tVsCPdg/0/5a650098/O/Chandos_Eroica.png)

Thanks, Dave. I don’t do downloads or streaming as I’m still a stickler for the physical media.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on January 29, 2020, 03:55:11 PM
There certainly are and the discography for both SQs is staggering. I’ll never collect them all, but I wouldn’t really want them all either. I know you’re not one that likes to duplicate works in your collection, but I strongly recommend this recording:

(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzk3NjQxOC4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX19LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE1MDk3OTc2Mjl9)

This is one of those ‘desert island’ recordings for me.

Duly noted. The more practical outcome is likely to be keeping an eye out for that quartet in other repertoire.

I have the Faure work as well, coupled with Magnard. The name of the players currently escapes me.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on January 30, 2020, 09:14:44 AM
I never cared for the Quartetto Italiano’s Debussy/Ravel SQ recording, but this one from Quatuor Hermès looks rather good. The Dutilleux seems to be a popular coupling for both the Debussy and Ravel these days.

It just happens to fit duration-wise and nationality-wise, but I think it's stretching a point to find any real relationship between the Dutilleux and the other two.  Faure or Saint-Saens would be a more obvious fit, though really of course the whole point is that the two masterpieces by Debussy and Ravel are unique unto themselves.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jo498 on January 30, 2020, 09:17:33 AM
Actually, the Ravel and the Debussy are each unique, so I think it is somewhat detrimental that for 50 years or so since the LP days they have been coupled so frequently as if they somehow belonged together. It would have been better to have either equally likely coupled with Fauré or d'Indy or Berg or whatever.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on January 30, 2020, 09:24:40 AM
The modern-day advantage of downloads and ripping music to files - the old tyranny of couplings - still more, inappropriate couplings - is long gone.  My collection has three separate recordings - Debussy (Hermes), Ravel (Hermes), Dutilleux (Hermes) - and I no longer have to wake up at the end of any one of those to prevent hearing the start of another.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Herman on January 30, 2020, 11:36:16 AM
Duly noted. The more practical outcome is likely to be keeping an eye out for that quartet in other repertoire.

I have the Faure work as well, coupled with Magnard. The name of the players currently escapes me.

Probably the Quatuor Ysaye.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: JBS on January 30, 2020, 11:48:05 AM
Duly noted. The more practical outcome is likely to be keeping an eye out for that quartet in other repertoire.

I have the Faure work as well, coupled with Magnard. The name of the players currently escapes me.

Given your interests and your commitment to non-duplication, this would probably be the one of most interest to you



This one I found worthwhile



They've done the Faure Quintets with Le Sage on Alpha, and their first CD on Mirare was devoted to Haydn.  They've also done Brahms, Schubert, and Mozart

They've also done several CDs in conjunction with jazz and pop musicians, which I'll leave you to decide if you're interested in.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on January 30, 2020, 11:54:25 AM
Actually, the Ravel and the Debussy are each unique, so I think it is somewhat detrimental that for 50 years or so since the LP days they have been coupled so frequently as if they somehow belonged together. It would have been better to have either equally likely coupled with Fauré or d'Indy or Berg or whatever.

In my view, they do belong together. Ravel took the form of the Debussy quartet and imbibed it with his own style. I find it interesting to contrast them.

The modern-day advantage of downloads and ripping music to files - the old tyranny of couplings - still more, inappropriate couplings - is long gone.  My collection has three separate recordings - Debussy (Hermes), Ravel (Hermes), Dutilleux (Hermes) - and I no longer have to wake up at the end of any one of those to prevent hearing the start of another.

Tyranny of couplings? Every CD player I’ve had going back to 1986 had the ability to program an arbitrary sequence of tracks.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on January 30, 2020, 01:09:01 PM
You still had no option but to buy a CD with (for example) Beethoven and Berg violin concertos when in all probability you'd be more interested in one of those than the  other.

This follows concert-programming practice of course, where typically the audience is subjected to an unwanted 'commission' sandwiched between two popular warhorses - but the motivation in the case of CDs is mere marketing whereas in the concert hall it's - well, I don't know what it is really.  Allegedly a leg-up for struggling young artists but I don't really buy that.

Anyhow - I just had a listen to this, via Spotify:

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/916hKslH6VL._SS500_.jpg)

The Ravel I found a bit too soft-edged for my taste, moved on after the first track to the Debussy, which is an excellent alternative view to other recordings I've heard (all 4 of them).  The reflective 3rd movement in particular was a revelation, though ultimately during the finale I felt it was all just lacking a bit of forward propulsion.  Partly I suspect because the cello sounds a bit under-powered (that is, gorgeous but under-powered), it could have done with a little bit of help in the mix.

I'm cerainly glad I listened to this, thanks to this thread.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on January 30, 2020, 01:31:40 PM
Probably the Quatuor Ysaye.

That's the one.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vandermolen on January 31, 2020, 02:07:09 AM
Currently greatly enjoying this CD with impressively remastered sound:
(http://)
Highlights are Ravel's beautiful Shéhérazade and a very powerful and eloquent 'La Mer' to which I think Ansermet brings a special insight.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Herman on January 31, 2020, 02:15:24 AM
That's the one.

The same Quatuor Ysyae (now defunct: they were teaching more than they were performing) has a great live cd in the Wigmore Hall series with Stravinsky, Fauré and Debussy.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 01, 2020, 01:39:57 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/988/MI0000988365.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The Beroff is a major achievement, one of the very few sets of preludes which I enjoy these days. There’s a reason - there is no attempt whatsoever to play them « hammerlessly » I think that makes the music much more thrilling. Both books.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 01, 2020, 02:31:35 AM
(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0000/988/MI0000988365.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

The Beroff is a major achievement, one of the very few sets of preludes which I enjoy these days. There’s a reason - there is no attempt whatsoever to play them « hammerlessly » I think that makes the music much more thrilling. Both books.
Can you explain this a little more?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 01, 2020, 02:39:25 AM
Can you explain this a little more?

No. Just listen -- ideally thtough a system which will let you hear all the transients in the attacks of the piano. Just playing this youtube through my computer speakers made me realise how much of the interpretation is lost without that.


https://www.youtube.com/v/SEPK-iLV2-k
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on February 01, 2020, 06:02:46 AM
I looked this up after you mentioned "hammerless" pianism in another thread. Isn't this an idea that goes back to Debussy himself? To play the HIP devil's advocate, would it really be in an interpreter's best interest to shirk that notion entirely? Anyway I will have to check out the Beroff, I suppose my favorites probably fall in the "hammerless" category, but there is one very "hammered" Debussy pianist that I really love, and that is Alexis Weissenberg. He plays this music borderline romantically, but with a lot of emphasis and incisiveness.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 01, 2020, 06:21:13 AM
I think the hammerless must mean softening the attack. Someone once said to me that Gieseking does this, but I haven’t heard his recordings for so long I can’t remember.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 02, 2020, 01:16:00 AM
I think the hammerless must mean softening the attack. Someone once said to me that Gieseking does this, but I haven’t heard his recordings for so long I can’t remember.


I looked this up after you mentioned "hammerless" pianism in another thread. Isn't this an idea that goes back to Debussy himself? To play the HIP devil's advocate, would it really be in an interpreter's best interest to shirk that notion entirely? Anyway I will have to check out the Beroff, I suppose my favorites probably fall in the "hammerless" category, but there is one very "hammered" Debussy pianist that I really love, and that is Alexis Weissenberg. He plays this music borderline romantically, but with a lot of emphasis and incisiveness.
I hadn’t heard of this before, as a style. But the Etudes strike me as very percussive pieces of music. Are there really pianists who take this to the extreme? Even across recordings of various composers? Anyway, I do much enjoy this recommendation but I haven’t compared it to someone else.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 02, 2020, 02:41:13 AM
Are there really pianists who take this to the extreme?

In Debussy Etudes, my favourite: Anthony di Bonaventura.

https://www.youtube.com/v/pqe6u5kCLcA
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2020, 05:36:18 PM
I looked this up after you mentioned "hammerless" pianism in another thread. Isn't this an idea that goes back to Debussy himself? To play the HIP devil's advocate, would it really be in an interpreter's best interest to shirk that notion entirely? Anyway I will have to check out the Beroff, I suppose my favorites probably fall in the "hammerless" category, but there is one very "hammered" Debussy pianist that I really love, and that is Alexis Weissenberg. He plays this music borderline romantically, but with a lot of emphasis and incisiveness.

I seem to recall that Debussy was striving for a ‘hammerless’ piano sound after he had witnessed a Javanese performance during an expo in Paris in the early 1900s. This kind of effect can especially be heard in his Préludes, Images, Estampes, and even the late, Études. It seems that the earlier piano pieces like Suite bergamasque, Rêverie, Deux Arabesques, Images oubliées, and Pour le piano all begin to point in this particular direction, but it was hearing that Gamelan orchestra that ‘sealed the deal’ so to speak. I can’t say that I have any kind of fondness for Weissenberg. I find him to be a complete mismatch in Debussy (I feel similarly about Kristian Zimerman). I don’t like ‘rough’ Debussy performances as I believe this music has a certain aesthetic it needs to uphold in order to be successful and, most importantly, flow.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on February 03, 2020, 02:44:39 AM
I seem to recall that Debussy was striving for a ‘hammerless’ piano sound after he had witnessed a Javanese performance during an expo in Paris in the early 1900s. This kind of effect can especially be heard in his Préludes, Images, Estampes, and even the late, Études. It seems that the earlier piano pieces like Suite bergamasque, Rêverie, Deux Arabesques, Images oubliées, and Pour le piano all begin to point in this particular direction, but it was hearing that Gamelan orchestra that ‘sealed the deal’ so to speak. I can’t say that I have any kind of fondness for Weissenberg. I find him to be a complete mismatch in Debussy (I feel similarly about Kristian Zimerman). I don’t like ‘rough’ Debussy performances as I believe this music has a certain aesthetic it needs to uphold in order to be successful and, most importantly, flow.

I've hear that before too, but I kind of question the veracity of it. As Javanese Gamelan music is nothing but hammers and percussion, I wonder, did he hear this music and think "this is exactly what I want my music NOT to sound like"...?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on February 03, 2020, 03:00:59 AM
I've hear that before too, but I kind of question the veracity of it. As Javanese Gamelan music is nothing but hammers and percussion, I wonder, did he hear this music and think "this is exactly what I want my music NOT to sound like"...?

Saying it's hammers and percussion is not equivalent to saying it's all hard thwacks and blows. Not all percussion instruments are designed to create a hard attack.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 03, 2020, 03:48:13 AM
There are two relevant quotes about how Debussy played piano both from contemporaries -- Emile Vuillermoz  and Marguerite Long

Quote from: Emile Vuillermoz cited in François-René Tranchefort, Guilde de la musique de piano et de clavecin (Paris 1987)
Lui aussi aime palper, manier et pétrir sa musique, lui aussi aime la faire couler dans ses mains comme un avare faisant ruisseler des pièces d'or entre ses doigts pour en entendre que le tintement magique . . . Sous son doigt, le marteau percute précautionneusement la corde... Debussy s'intéresse aux longues résonances, il guette leur trajectoire dans l'espace jusqu'à l'évanouissement du dernier son harmonique14

and

Quote from: Marguerite Long also cited in Tranchefort
Il jouait presque tout en demi-teinte, mais avec une sonorité pleine et intense, sans aucune dureté de l'attaque. L'échelle de ses nuances allait du triple pianissimo au forte, sans jamais arriver à des sonorités désordonnées où la subtilité des harmonies se fût perdue

If you can't read it and google translate doesn't sort it, let me know and I'll translate it. Or learn French and we'll take up the conversation in 10 years.

Here's a good example of Debussy playing without hammers

https://www.youtube.com/v/eNYiChGPbMM

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on February 03, 2020, 03:50:17 AM
... Not all percussion instruments are designed to create a hard attack.
...but more than 10 minutes of gamelan music may unleash suicidal tendencies (at least in me)  ;D

The "hammerless" vs "percussive" dilemma in Debussy's music is an intersting one. IMHO, the truth (as often is the case) lies in the middle, and few pianists achieve an adequate balance between "mistiness" and clear articulation of the musical lines. Paul Jacobs is an example, and that's why he always tops my list of preferred Debussy performers. But, if I'd have to choose, I'd go for "percussive" over "hazy"; I've for instance developed a strong dislke of the legendary Gieseking recordings of because of his hazy, almost mushy sound (IIRC, Marguerite Long--whose Debussy, btw, I have not yet explored--had some rather disparaging remarks regarding Gieseking because of that).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 03, 2020, 03:52:47 AM
I love the metaphor of Vuillermoz above -- lui aussi aime la faire couler dans ses mains comme un avare faisant ruisseler des pièces d'or entre ses doigts pour en entendre que le tintement magique.

He likes to make the music flow in his hands like a miser makes pieces of gold stream between his fingers to hear the magic tinkling (That's a terrible translation!)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 03, 2020, 04:46:48 AM
Has anyone listened to the mechanical piano renditions of Debussy? Is there any insight to be gained from them? I recall them being very straightforward in an almost amateurish way. Or maybe that's not the right description. They're not expressive sounding but I doubt one could tell much about Hammer-ing and I can't recall if it's even possible to get any kind of accuracy for those piano rolls. Doubtful.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2020, 09:03:43 PM
I've hear that before too, but I kind of question the veracity of it. As Javanese Gamelan music is nothing but hammers and percussion, I wonder, did he hear this music and think "this is exactly what I want my music NOT to sound like"...?

I think the point I was trying to make, more or less, was Debussy seemed to be attracted more to the sonority of that gamelan orchestra not necessarily the attack per se, but as Madiel pointed out not all percussion instruments are the same and require different kinds of attacks.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2020, 09:43:18 PM
The "hammerless" vs "percussive" dilemma in Debussy's music is an intersting one. IMHO, the truth (as often is the case) lies in the middle, and few pianists achieve an adequate balance between "mistiness" and clear articulation of the musical lines. Paul Jacobs is an example, and that's why he always tops my list of preferred Debussy performers. But, if I'd have to choose, I'd go for "percussive" over "hazy"; I've for instance developed a strong dislke of the legendary Gieseking recordings of because of his hazy, almost mushy sound (IIRC, Marguerite Long--whose Debussy, btw, I have not yet explored--had some rather disparaging remarks regarding Gieseking because of that).

Well said, Rafael. I’m with you on Gieseking. I never quite understood the attraction to his recordings nor have I personally been able to get into them.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on February 04, 2020, 01:36:54 AM
It occurred to me today that the piano itself is a percussion instrument, which rather neatly demonstrates the variety of attack possibilities without straying far from home.

Of course, you probably all thought about this already.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: milk on February 04, 2020, 05:36:14 AM
It occurred to me today that the piano itself is a percussion instrument, which rather neatly demonstrates the variety of attack possibilities without straying far from home.

Of course, you probably all thought about this already.
That’s why I’m having trouble understanding this distinction.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2020, 07:59:38 AM
Let’s get off the topic of hammerless piano, because there’s no such thing and it merely was an ideal that Debussy expressed and isn’t something that was actually put into practice as you can’t play the piano without any hammer hitting the string. You can only soften your attack and even then there are still strings being struck by hammers. As I mentioned earlier, it’s the sonority itself and not the actual attack that seemed to be the effect that Debussy was striving for.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 04, 2020, 08:56:37 AM
Let’s get off the topic of hammerless piano, because there’s no such thing and it merely was an ideal that Debussy expressed and isn’t something that was actually put into practice as you can’t play the piano without any hammer hitting the string. You can only soften your attack and even then there are still strings being struck by hammers. As I mentioned earlier, it’s the sonority itself and not the actual attack that seemed to be the effect that Debussy was striving for.

Yes, we should talk about hammered-less rather than hammerless.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2020, 09:14:40 AM
Yes, we should talk about hammered-less rather than hammerless.

Well, I for one think we should talk about the music from Debussy that we love and discuss the man’s life and inspirations and forget all this ‘hammerless’ talk.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on February 04, 2020, 10:15:23 AM
Inspired by gamelan music wasn't he?   >:D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2020, 10:44:50 AM
Inspired by gamelan music wasn't he?   >:D

 :P Amongst other influences. ;)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on February 04, 2020, 11:44:23 PM
I've noticed that this "hammerless" remark of Debussy's gets a lot of attention. I think, if he really said it, performers should be aware of it, and should be free to ignore it entirely. The music is there, and pianists should perform the music however they feel it should be performed. We can decide for ourselves what works best for us. I've always valued clarity in performers of Debussy, whether it be solo piano music, chamber music, or orchestral music. As far as I'm concerned, let the hammers swing! :)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Jo498 on February 05, 2020, 12:12:55 AM
I don't think Debussy expectet the "sunken Cathedral" so sound like "Puck" or other of the more quirky pieces from Préludes. The broad spectrum of sounds and moods seems one of the points of these pieces.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on February 05, 2020, 02:11:03 AM
The music is there, and pianists should perform the music however they feel it should be performed. We can decide for ourselves what works best for us.

Either pianists are trying to execute composers' intentions or they're not. If we expect them to pay attention to things like playing the correct notes, then I think we ought to expect them to pay attention to other aspects of the composer's musical intentions as well to the extent they are knowable.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on February 05, 2020, 01:19:02 PM
Either pianists are trying to execute composers' intentions or they're not. If we expect them to pay attention to things like playing the correct notes, then I think we ought to expect them to pay attention to other aspects of the composer's musical intentions as well to the extent they are knowable.

I think "composer's intentions" is basically impossible to define, beyond the notes on the page. I've enjoyed Debussy's Preludes by Ciccolini and by Arrau, two pianists who both profess serving the composers intention as their primary goal, and who nevertheless produce performances that are very different. Great to have the entire spectrum of interpretations.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on February 05, 2020, 04:26:03 PM
Composers also at the very least write tempo and dynamics and phrasing.

And as we are talking about Debussy, he’s known for being quite detailed on his indications. Maybe more in orchestral music than piano, but either way I think it’s a mistake when saying “the music is there” to think that “the music” is nothing more than notes.

Quite frankly some performers decide to stray outside the parameters set for them. Which they shouldn’t do if they’re claiming to perform a work under a composer’s name.

And the original point was that if a composer’s writings or statements are available, than those too should be at least paid regard to as relevant material.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 05, 2020, 04:43:06 PM
I think "composer's intentions" is basically impossible to define, beyond the notes on the page. I've enjoyed Debussy's Preludes by Ciccolini and by Arrau, two pianists who both profess serving the composers intention as their primary goal, and who nevertheless produce performances that are very different. Great to have the entire spectrum of interpretations.

And, indeed, it is a characteristic of great music, to convince us through a variety of interpretation.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 05, 2020, 04:44:21 PM
There are two relevant quotes about how Debussy played piano both from contemporaries -- Emile Vuillermoz  and Marguerite Long

and

If you can't read it and google translate doesn't sort it, let me know and I'll translate it. Or learn French and we'll take up the conversation in 10 years.

Here's a good example of Debussy playing without hammers

https://www.youtube.com/v/eNYiChGPbMM



Thanks for these.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2020, 05:40:20 PM
Composers also at the very least write tempo and dynamics and phrasing.

And as we are talking about Debussy, he’s known for being quite detailed on his indications. Maybe more in orchestral music than piano, but either way I think it’s a mistake when saying “the music is there” to think that “the music” is nothing more than notes.

Quite frankly some performers decide to stray outside the parameters set for them. Which they shouldn’t do if they’re claiming to perform a work under a composer’s name.

And the original point was that if a composer’s writings or statements are available, than those too should be at least paid regard to as relevant material.

Debussy was meticulous just as much in his piano music notation as he was in all of the other genres he composed for. I recall reading somewhere that he would spend days on just four measures of music trying to get it absolutely right. I feel that it’s up to the performers how they want to perform the music ultimately. It would be rather nice if musicians paid attention to every detail written, but, sometimes, it just doesn’t work out that way and what we get is what we get. I’ve heard all kinds of interpretations in this music and some have stuck and some have not.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 07, 2020, 02:31:08 AM
Debussy himself used tons of rubato and such like in his own performances of his own music, as did his favourite interpreters like Margueritte Long. I don't know if either of them do things which are not compatible with ideas in the published score. But I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

There's a related thing to think about. Famously, Debussy included titles for each piano prelude at the end of the written music. Why? Why at the end? And why titles at all?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on February 07, 2020, 03:08:40 AM
Debussy himself used tons of rubato and such like in his own performances of his own music, as did his favourite interpreters like Margueritte Long. I don't know if either of them do things which are not compatible with ideas in the published score. But I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

There's a related thing to think about. Famously, Debussy included titles for each piano prelude at the end of the written music. Why? Why at the end? And why titles at all?

I don't know but I loved that when I was reading through the scores. Reminds me of Cowboy Bebop with its little title cards at the end of the episodes.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on February 07, 2020, 05:35:49 PM
There's a related thing to think about. Famously, Debussy included titles for each piano prelude at the end of the written music. Why? Why at the end? And why titles at all?

The titles are at the end because Debussy was a pretentious ass.

As if a pianist would sight read a prelude at a concert, get to the end, and say "I see in the score that this piece is entitled "La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune. Can anyone explain to me what the hell that is supposed to mean? In any case, I wish I had known that when I started playing. I thought it was a jig! Better start over."
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 07, 2020, 08:47:18 PM
Famously, Debussy included titles for each piano prelude at the end of the written music. Why? Why at the end? And why titles at all?

Maybe they’re just suggestions or hints at what was going through his own mind or what this or that reminded him of. In any event, I’d say it doesn’t really matter because titles are just titles and what the performer and listener hears will be completely different to what the composer hears. I recall something quite amusing when Schoenberg’s publisher asked for subtitles for each movement of his Five Pieces for Orchestra. An interesting quote from him: “Altogether, I don’t favor the idea – the wonderful thing about music is that one can say everything so that knowing people understand it, and yet one has one’s secrets that one confesses to oneself – one does not spread them around – but titles do.”
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on February 07, 2020, 10:30:17 PM
I always thought the titles were performance directions.

(Note, by the way, that one of them, voiles, is very ambiguous - according to whether it’s masculine or feminine it can mean veils or sails.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: aukhawk on February 08, 2020, 04:49:51 AM
Maybe they’re just suggestions or hints at what was going through his own mind or what this or that reminded him of. In any event, I’d say it doesn’t really matter because titles are just titles and what the performer and listener hears will be completely different to what the composer hears. ...

The listener (assuming he is aware of the titles and can understand French) is inevitably conditioned by them.  Or, he can listen to 'Book 1 Nos. 1-12' and avoid any reference to the titles at all, and thus hear the music in a different way.

Likewise, we are conditioned in our listening by CD or LP sleeve images.  The following three 'La Mer' images would condition the listener in different ways:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/613KdIeYg-L._AC_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61zq4Vr4FCL._AC_.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61BhNvisvWL._AC_SL1000_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ras on February 09, 2020, 05:36:28 AM
I think he put the titles after the music because the pianist shouldn't put too much emphasis on them: they are suggestions rather than answers or definitions. I don't think Debussy thought of his music as program music in any traditionel meaning: there is no program - it's more like an atmosphere, or a feeling or a sentiment of a sentiency.

Many years ago I heard an analysis of Debussy's "La mer" on the radio where the all too clever smart-arse who presented it said something like: "...and here you can hear the waves softly lapping..." as if he made a "translation" of the music into words. I don't think that's how Debussy imagined it - it's much more vague like getting into the mood you are in on the beach or in a boat at sea - the music is atmospheric - it's about mood, air, ambience.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Alek Hidell on February 09, 2020, 05:32:50 PM
So (if you don't mind my diverting the thread for a moment), quick question.

Debussy's string quartet is always listed as Op.10. I've never seen an opus number assigned to any other Debussy work - it's always the Lesure system. So why is the SQ opus 10? Which works are opuses 1-9 (and 11+)?

(Yes, I'm sure I could google this, but I wanted to hear from people here.)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: JBS on February 09, 2020, 05:46:33 PM
So (if you don't mind my diverting the thread for a moment), quick question.

Debussy's string quartet is always listed as Op.10. I've never seen an opus number assigned to any other Debussy work - it's always the Lesure system. So why is the SQ opus 10? Which works are opuses 1-9 (and 11+)?

(Yes, I'm sure I could google this, but I wanted to hear from people here.)

According to Wikipedia, it's the only one of his works to which he gave an opus number.  Perhaps he did for publication purposes.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Alek Hidell on February 09, 2020, 08:13:21 PM
According to Wikipedia, it's the only one of his works to which he gave an opus number.  Perhaps he did for publication purposes.

Much obliged, Jeffrey.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2020, 08:18:32 PM
So (if you don't mind my diverting the thread for a moment), quick question.

Debussy's string quartet is always listed as Op.10. I've never seen an opus number assigned to any other Debussy work - it's always the Lesure system. So why is the SQ opus 10? Which works are opuses 1-9 (and 11+)?

(Yes, I'm sure I could google this, but I wanted to hear from people here.)

A curious question, indeed. I never really thought about it since the rest of Debussy’s oeuvre isn’t numbered by him and, as Jeffrey pointed out, it’s probably got something to do with a publisher or he felt at that given time that he was going to start giving his works opus numbers, but ended up abandoning the idea. Also, and maybe this of interest or not, but his String Quartet was one of his only works to receive a key signature in the title of a work. It’s in the key of G minor.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff on February 09, 2020, 08:41:13 PM
So (if you don't mind my diverting the thread for a moment), quick question.

Debussy's string quartet is always listed as Op.10. I've never seen an opus number assigned to any other Debussy work - it's always the Lesure system. So why is the SQ opus 10? Which works are opuses 1-9 (and 11+)?

(Yes, I'm sure I could google this, but I wanted to hear from people here.)

A similar circumstance for Mozart, whose "Haydn Quartets" are designated Opus 10. I've never noticed another work by Mozart with an opus number. In those days opus numbers were only assigned at publication, and haphazardly.

Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel 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
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image 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. :-\
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: hvbias 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Ratliff 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image 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?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Christo 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:
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DuO-mgVXcAE0rmc.jpg) (https://www.klassiek.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/600x600/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/0/8/0885470010144-0600px-back.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2020, 07:16:34 AM
Actually these, superbly done (singing, instruments, all) by Maria Baranova, certainly among them:
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DuO-mgVXcAE0rmc.jpg) (https://www.klassiek.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/600x600/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/0/8/0885470010144-0600px-back.jpg)

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Claude_Debussy#Solo_voice_with_piano)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Christo 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.  :-*
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on February 15, 2020, 12:35:29 PM
Actually these, superbly done (singing, instruments, all) by Maria Baranova, certainly among them:
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DuO-mgVXcAE0rmc.jpg) (https://www.klassiek.nl/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/600x600/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/0/8/0885470010144-0600px-back.jpg)
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.  ::)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka 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

(https://c9.cduniverse.ws/resized/545x545/music/835/1000835.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Christo 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 ...  >:(
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Uhor on March 24, 2020, 08:01:16 PM
(https://deepart-io.s3.amazonaws.com/cache/c0/3c/c03c9c7584354cc9d9129dda808714a5.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: vers la flamme on March 25, 2020, 02:45:25 AM
Debussy died 102 years ago today. Rest in peace.

I'm listening to La Mer, the recording with Jean Martinon and the ORTF Orchestra. Great piece.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: ritter on April 07, 2020, 06:53:53 AM
Cross-posted from the WAYLTN thread:

First listen to this new arrival:


TBH, after reading the program notes written by Robert Orledge, I cannot get out of my head the image of him salvaging the contents of Debussy’s waste paper basket, painstakingly gluing the scraps of paper together, and completing those bits that are beyond repair. And yet, there was some damn interesting stuff in that basket, and Mr. Orledge does a splendid job in his reconstructions (clearly a labour of love). He’s also very straightforward about how he tackled each piece. We have first versions of well-known works (the beginning of La fille aux cheveux de lin, and Brouyères), a discarded movement from Le martyre de Saint-Sébastien, some longer stuff  (the ballet No-Ja-Li ou le palais du silence—which actually has been recorded before), and concert paraphrases of Mr. Orledge’s reconstructions of the two operas based on Poe (which in themselves already required a lot of intervention by the arranger). Fortunately, all the base material stems from Debussy’s maturity, so we’re spared any juvenilia that would be devoid of interest if it weren’t connected to the famous composer’s name. On the other hand, and contrary to what the blurb on the CD’s back cover states, there’s no lost masterpieces here. What we do get is a rather successful (and most enjoyable) approximation of “what might have been”, beautifully played by Nicolas Horváth, and most of it sounds like Debussy. Pastiche, or musicological feat? Does it really matter?
To expand to my comment above, do note that both the ballet No-Ja-Li and the Devil in the Belfry paraphrase include narration (in French). The narration is particularly intrusive in the latter piece, which seems to need it to hang together (so to speak), as this is probably the sketchiest work as far as original material is concerned ( and, to these ears, the least Debussy-like sounding).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on April 15, 2020, 06:42:29 PM
Who's listened to Diane au bois?

It apparently was recorded for the first time for the Warner complete set. It's a fragment of a planned stage work, but a very substantial one lasting nearly half an hour.

And after listening to it twice today, I think it's pretty fabulous, actually. Debussy started it a bit before winning the Prix de Rome, and then did some more work on it in Rome before abandoning it.

Not that I have any idea of what's being sung, and apparently Warner didn't include vocal texts for the box in any form? Which is pretty disappointing if true. But the music is quite lovely (particularly when the tenor is singing, his voice is a real pleasure to listen to). And it's pretty fascinating because it's one of the largest things Debussy had written up to that time.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on August 19, 2020, 04:47:52 AM
*crickets chirping*

Righto. Next question.

I've decided I'd like to try watching Pelleas and Melisande rather than just listening to it. Does anyone have recommendations about video versions? Ideally ones that are readily available on the internet (I know there are at least a couple up on Youtube for example).
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on April 11, 2021, 10:25:52 AM
Anyone done anything special with the preludes Bk 2 over the past 10 years - I mean something imaginative and provocative?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: hvbias on April 11, 2021, 01:01:51 PM
Anyone done anything special with the preludes Bk 2 over the past 10 years - I mean something imaginative and provocative?

Russell Sherman has a disc from 2008 if you haven't heard it yet. I think it is both provocative and imaginative but more so in Estampes and Images than the Book 2 Preludes.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 11, 2021, 06:09:25 PM
Anyone done anything special with the preludes Bk 2 over the past 10 years - I mean something imaginative and provocative?

Jumppanen on Ondine and Sasaki on Piano Classics are both admirable performances that are quite different in approach.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 11, 2021, 06:11:18 PM
*crickets chirping*

Righto. Next question.

I've decided I'd like to try watching Pelleas and Melisande rather than just listening to it. Does anyone have recommendations about video versions? Ideally ones that are readily available on the internet (I know there are at least a couple up on Youtube for example).

I’m rather late to this I know, but do check out this one from Boulez:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61BXKZuyBoL._SL1200_.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on April 11, 2021, 07:55:18 PM
I’m rather late to this I know, but do check out this one from Boulez:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61BXKZuyBoL._SL1200_.jpg)

Your reminder is timely. OperaVision put up a new version of Pelleas just 2 days ago, and that means they currently have TWO up from different companies! I hadn't looked for a while.

They also have Poulenc and Ravel operas on offer. I think I need to spend a bit of time on OperaVision now...
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 11, 2021, 08:54:03 PM
Your reminder is timely. OperaVision put up a new version of Pelleas just 2 days ago, and that means they currently have TWO up from different companies! I hadn't looked for a while.

They also have Poulenc and Ravel operas on offer. I think I need to spend a bit of time on OperaVision now...

8) I never heard of OperaVision. Is it free?
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on April 11, 2021, 09:38:57 PM
8) I never heard of OperaVision. Is it free?

Yes. A website and a Youtube channel, high quality video, from a variety of smaller European opera companies, performances are usually available for about 6 months each.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Old San Antone on April 11, 2021, 11:01:53 PM
Your reminder is timely. OperaVision put up a new version of Pelleas just 2 days ago, and that means they currently have TWO up from different companies! I hadn't looked for a while.

They also have Poulenc and Ravel operas on offer. I think I need to spend a bit of time on OperaVision now...

Thanks for this, I too had never heard of OperaVision.  Now subscribed.   ;)

Another grateful GMG member.    ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mandryka on April 11, 2021, 11:26:25 PM
Thanks for the recommendations, in fact an old one has rather caught my attention, Kars

(https://img.discogs.com/7QgKV-_uZmYBb1qwQmzSwPST2yI=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-9781870-1486245805-7541.gif.jpg)
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on April 11, 2021, 11:57:32 PM
Thanks for this, I too had never heard of OperaVision.  Now subscribed.   ;)

Another grateful GMG member.    ;D

It's a really great way to become more familiar with opera. I can't remember how I found out about it, but I was quite amazed to find something completely free that offers hours and hours of material.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: DavidW on April 12, 2021, 04:29:59 AM
Yes. A website and a Youtube channel, high quality video, from a variety of smaller European opera companies, performances are usually available for about 6 months each.

Thanks!  Subscribed!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on April 12, 2021, 05:47:24 AM
Yes. A website and a Youtube channel, high quality video, from a variety of smaller European opera companies, performances are usually available for about 6 months each.

Thank you very much, Madiel. I’ll have to investigate this site and see what’s on it.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Symphonic Addict on August 22, 2021, 04:35:31 PM
What would you consider his magnum opus and why? The work that condenses the best of the composer.

Btw, happy birthday, Claude!
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on August 22, 2021, 06:10:10 PM
What would you consider his magnum opus and why? The work that condenses the best of the composer.

Btw, happy birthday, Claude!

That is a difficult question, but I think the Préludes capture the essence of composer. The reason why is I feel this work is incredibly descriptive and conjures up aural images through just the piano and Debussy did this better than most.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Symphonic Addict on August 23, 2021, 05:41:58 PM
That is a difficult question, but I think the Préludes capture the essence of composer. The reason why is I feel this work is incredibly descriptive and conjures up aural images through just the piano and Debussy did this better than most.

Thank you, John. Precisely, yesterday I gave them a listen and my perception of them is different now. It's good when you don't give up trying music that you didn't consider appealing initially.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2021, 06:22:36 PM
Thank you, John. Precisely, yesterday I gave them a listen and my perception of them is different now. It's good when you don't give up trying music that you didn't consider appealing initially.

Unless it’s Stockhausen, because then we can just go ahead and throw it in the garbage. :P
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Symphonic Addict on August 23, 2021, 06:47:13 PM
Unless it’s Stockhausen, because then we can just go ahead and throw it in the garbage. :P

I can't argue with that.  :D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on August 23, 2021, 06:48:46 PM
I can't argue with that.  :D

 ;D
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on August 24, 2021, 01:48:42 AM
I haven't quite finished my chronological exploration of all the Debussy I can lay my hands on, but my sweet spot seems to be a bit earlier than the Preludes (though I do generally like them). I find myself responding to the trios of piano pieces (like Pour le Piano, Estampes or each set of Images), and a lot of the Verlaine songs, and Nocturnes for orchestra.

I think it's rather difficult to nail one thing down as a 'magnum opus', unless you go for Pelleas in part because it was rare for Debussy to complete something on that scale?

Don't mind me, random incoherent thoughts here. It's an interesting question. I guess I feel as if having a magnum opus is the kind of grand Germanic gesture that Debussy wouldn't go in for.  :laugh:
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 24, 2021, 02:42:22 AM
Thank you, John. Precisely, yesterday I gave them a listen and my perception of them is different now. It's good when you don't give up trying music that you didn't consider appealing initially.
Delighted to hear that you revisited Les Préludes and enjoyed them!  :)  Whose recordings of them did you listen to by the way?

A couple favorite pieces from the two books that I particularly love:  La Fille aux Cheuveux de lin and La Cathédrale Engloutie.  Did any ones in particular strike you SA?

PD
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Symphonic Addict on August 24, 2021, 04:56:29 PM
Delighted to hear that you revisited Les Préludes and enjoyed them!  :)  Whose recordings of them did you listen to by the way?

A couple favorite pieces from the two books that I particularly love:  La Fille aux Cheuveux de lin and La Cathédrale Engloutie.  Did any ones in particular strike you SA?

PD

I gave the Chandos recording with Bavouzet a listen. I liked these ones the most (from book I): Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir, Minstrels, Voiles and La cathédrale engloutie.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Mirror Image on August 24, 2021, 05:12:59 PM
I gave the Chandos recording with Bavouzet a listen. I liked these ones the most (from book I): Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l'air du soir, Minstrels, Voiles and La cathédrale engloutie.

Yes, the Book II is a bit more prickly isn’t it? But I do enjoy it but like many I prefer Book I only because I think this is Debussy at his picturesque best.
Title: Re: Debussy's Corner
Post by: Madiel on August 24, 2021, 08:38:55 PM
La cathédrale engloutie is just extraordinary.