Debussy's music simply sublime.
I just bought this. I'm experienced enough to know when a performer is giving a terrific performance, even though I'm not familiar with the music.
Last edited by hpowders; Mar-15-2014 at 01:56.
My favorite Debussy happens to be L'isle Joyeuse as performed incomparably by the great Sviatoslav Richter.
Last edited by hpowders; Mar-17-2014 at 01:29.
Debussy was a real radical. He walked out on a Mahler symphony, declaring it "too reactionary." He did exactly what the hell he wanted to do. His music is beautiful, the art speaks for itself, tradition be damned. The guy really understood music, and sound itself. He took music back from the brain, and gave it back to the ear. But that was an old brain, and he replaced it with his. That's what I call a successful brain transplant!
"The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
"In Spring! In the creation of art it must be as it is in Spring!" -Arnold Schoenberg
"As long as avocados do not increase in price, I don't care." -Me
I really can't get over how exceptional Bavouzet's Debussy set is. Going through the preludes and it's like little drops of honey. My taste-buds are literally tingling.
I've got so many performances of the preludes. A new set would have to prove really extraordinary for me to add another one.
I would like to see if we get some more sustained discussions going in this section of the forum. So a proposal:
I’m going to post 10 works by individual composers (in this case, Debussy). I’ll list them in personal order of preference. I’ll follow each with a favorite performance. What I would ask is that when people follow up and respond, they do one of two things:
(a) Argue for alternative works to listen to.
AND / OR
(b) Argue for alternative / better performances of each.
My interest in this is partly personal and partly pedagogical. The pedagogical part is that when newcomers come and read these threads, it might help guide them to a basic core of must-listen-to works and must-listen-to performances. The personal part is that I might find better performances of personal favorites or get new perspectives on composers whose works I enjoy.
Here’s my Debussy list:
1. La Mer (1905). Recommended performance: Bernard Haitink / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Debussy: Orchestral Music (2 CDs) (Philips, 1976)
2. String Quartet (1893). Performance: Quatuor Ébène, Ravel / Debussy / Fauré: String Quartets (Virgin Classical, 2008).
3. Preludes (Bk 1: 1910; Bk 2: 1913). Performance: Paul Jacobs (Nonesuch, 1978).
4. Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp (1915). Performance: Montreal Chamber Players, Autour de la harpe: Roussel / Ropartz / Debussy / Ravel / Koechlin (ATMA Classique, 2006)
5. Pour le Piano (1894-1901). Performance: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Debussy: Complete Music for Piano, vol. 2 (Chandos, 2007)
6. Images (for orchestra) (1905-1912). Performance: Charles Dutoit / Montreal Symphony, Debussy: La Mer / Images / Nocturnes (Decca, 1989).
7. Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (1894). Performance: Stéphane Denève / Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Debussy: Orchestral Works (Chandos, 2012)
8. Children’s Corner (1908). Performance: Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Debussy: Complete Music for Piano, vol. 3 (Chandos, 2008)
9. Sonata for Violin and Piano (1886). Performance: Kyung-Wha Chung (violin) / Radu Lupu (piano), Franck / Debussy: violin Sonatas (Decca, 1977).
10. Nocturnes (for orchestra). Recommended performance: Bernard Haitink / Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Debussy: Orchestral Music (2 CDs) (Philips, 1976).
Last edited by Alypius; Jun-14-2014 at 20:27.
Another excellent list, of course. Personally, I would replace Nocturnes with Pelléas et Mélisande (1893-1898), in Abbado's recording, and Children's Corner with Etudes (1915), as performed by Mitsuko Uchida.
Except for 2 or 3 of them, I find myself not responding to the etudes. Not that accessible to these ears. I have the Uchida performance. My other qualities are impeccable, however.
Last edited by hpowders; Jun-14-2014 at 20:51.
I think that the selection is fine"
I think Haitink is just chewing La Mer and going no where and Denève in Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune is fine not fantastic, I'd Replace both with Leopold Stokowski (Decca) as well as the Nocturnes (EMI), he put a little sprinkle of magic into Debussy, music with him always becomes more than its parts!
As for the solo piano stuff, sure Bavouzet is technically amazing, but for an old timer like myself, he lack the intimacy of a legend like Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli (DG) or the superb wizardry of Krystian Zimerman (Preludes / DG) or the blow Your mind to smithereens pianisims of Zoltán Kocsis (Children's Corner / Philips)...
I agree with Mahlerian that Pelléas et Mélisande (1893-1898) should be there, but I'm not sure what work to dump... As for a recording I slightly prefer Charles Dutoit (Decca) to Abbado, but its no biggie, both suffice as a reference version!