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 Post subject: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:54 pm 
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Two recordings of late, dark, and austere Debussy, dating from 1914 resp. 1915, when he was shell-shocked by the events of the first World War. The Berceuse is a re-recording that fixes a couple of little issues in the initial version.

Debussy - Berceuse Heroique (4:09)
Debussy - Elegie (2:04)

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2011 10:37 pm 
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Good Job, Chris.

I'm not familiar with either of these. I'm glad that you have recorded them for us.

I really found the Berceuse intriguing. The ghostly trumpet calls -- as if calling an army that has fallen in battle to arms from the other side. I see on IMSLP that Debussy also did an orchestration of this one. I would enjoy finding a recording of it to see how he did orchestrate it.

Musically the Elegie seemed to wander and ramble a bit (I'm talking about Debussy's writing, not your playing.) I'll have listen to it some more to see if I can get my head around it. Was this published separately or is it part of a set? I couldn't find it on IMSLP. (Could still be under copyright.)

Scott


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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 3:05 am 
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I Listened to the Berceuse and felt the shell-shocked feel came through, with the slow 1-4 in the left hand in the B section and the confused drifting melody in the right hand held at tempo makes for a good contrast, like a soldier on a battlefield walking through fog in no man's land.

@ the Elegie, I got the feeling of great pathos, the tempo and rubato seemed appropriate for this piece, maybe make the tempo even slower. This piece reminds me of the beginning of Evocacion in Albeniz's suite Iberia.

-Riley

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:38 am 
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Hi Chris,

I listened to the "Elegie" for the first time ever. This was the last piano solo piece Debussy ever wrote. It struck me as sounding almost improvisatory and having a blues sound to it. But that's probably just my initial perception. I think this would take several hearings to fully absorb and appreciate the piece, as it seems not as structured as most of his other works for piano. Although unfamiliar with it, I believe you played it very effectively.

The "Berceuse Heroique" was familiar, but is not a piece often heard. I think you play it beautifully capturing its spirit. The military trumpet calls are interesting. Another place where he used a similar device were the distant horn calls in the coda of "Les sons et les parfumes tournent dans l'air du soir" from Preludes Book I.

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:33 am 
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Thanks all for the comments ! I had a bit of trouble with these trumpet calls (soft repeated notes are a problem on my instrument) but they're not too bad. The Elegy is a strange piece indeed, I can't say I really 'understand' it but it does have some beautiful moments. I do love music that is anguished and brooding (maybe as an antidote to Bach :)

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:11 pm 
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I listened to both pieces and each sound nicely-played. I like the Elegie - the way it just leaves you hanging at the end.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:34 pm 
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I have listened to these too and the Elegie was new to me, though this is not the Debussy that speaks to my heart, I found the performances good, though I thought the piano in the Elegie sounded a bit strange.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:44 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
I have listened to these too and the Elegie was new to me, though this is not the Debussy that speaks to my heart, I found the performances good, though I thought the piano in the Elegie sounded a bit strange.

I'd understand if you found my playing a bit strange, but how exactly does the piano sound strange in the Elegie, as compared to the Berceuse for example ? Is it because or the ornaments which I think did not come off all too well ?

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:43 pm 
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No, it is not your playing at all and the trills seem to my ears well done. It is that your piano reminds me of a harp with metal strings (the exist, by the way, and I like them). And yes, it is also in the Berceuse. Maybe I have got too used to my honky-tonk. You know the soldier, do you not? All the platoon is marching out of time! Only I am doing it right.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:15 am 
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I was unfamiliar with these pieces, so I followed along with score for the Berceuse Heroique (the Elegie doesn't even appear in my either of my two Dover editions of Debussy's incidental pieces :!:)

Overall, I think you play these well. You seemed quite diligent in following Debussy's dynamic and directional markings in the Berceuse (interesting BTW for me to think of the concept of a Berceuse "Heroique"; to me it seems almost an oxymoron :!: ), which I think is important in French music. Nice execution of the triplets and dotted rhythm figure/I like the crispness of the repeated notes. It maybe could be a bit quieter in a few of the p/pp sections. Nice atmospheric pedalling in general.

The Elegie I find less interesting as a piece; to my ears it has rather a disjointed, barren sound. I'm not very familiar with late Debussy, but late Scriabin seems also to have this slightly rambling quality in which the phrases don't really quite hang together or go anywhere. I guess those be the beginnings of modernity in music (never my predilection :P ). You seem to handle it all in an eerie, trancelike way though, which I think is convincing.

Overall, I think you have a good sense of how to to capture the sonorites of the French master.

Joe

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:06 am 
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richard66 wrote:
No, it is not your playing at all and the trills seem to my ears well done. It is that your piano reminds me of a harp with metal strings (the exist, by the way, and I like them). And yes, it is also in the Berceuse. Maybe I have got too used to my honky-tonk. You know the soldier, do you not? All the platoon is marching out of time! Only I am doing it right.

Hehe, maybe I have got too used to my instrument too. Its sound seems to be an acquired taste. Somehow on a recording it does not sound as full and warm as it should. But I'm still undecided on the mic placement, I may try returning to the position I have used for years (before the revision and buying the new recorder).

jlr43 wrote:
Overall, I think you have a good sense of how to to capture the sonorites of the French master.

Thanks Joe. I sure love atmospheric music of the dark and troubled kind. This Elegie is indeed not a very strong piece, and I would not bother with it if it was not for one or two wonderful harmonic twists (and the fact that it's easy :lol: )

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:30 pm 
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But you know, I rather like these two pieces now. So maybe I like early and late Debussy, but give the middle period a miss.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:45 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
But you know, I rather like these two pieces now. So maybe I like early and late Debussy, but give the middle period a miss.

I seem to be picking either early or late pieces, too. Not sure if it's just coincidence or not.

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