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 Post subject: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Sun Jul 21, 2013 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:11 am
Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
Dear All,
Please find attached a recording of this 3-piece suite. A kind of imaginary trip in China, Spain and back to France on a rainy day... I have closed my piano for this session, to give a kind of foggy aspect to the otherwise too clear and bright sound. I hope you like it...

Debussy - Estampes - 1: Pagodes (4:58)
Debussy - Estampes - 2: La soiree dans Grenade (4:56)
Debussy - Estampes - 3: Jardins sous la pluie (3:58)

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:22 pm 
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Well done, these are up. Not sure about your closed lid, they sound a bit muffled now, while still being sharp in the treble. Better to have kept it open and maybe apply a trable filter. Pagodes and Soiree are nicely done despite the occasional slip. I'm less enthusiatic about Jardins, which sounds strenuous and laboured, as well as a bit shaky in places. I think you could have done with some more takes here (or else some editing).

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:55 pm 
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Location: Carbondale, IL
I had a listen to Pagodes and will listen to the rest later. I have never heard this set. The descending Perfect 5th as a type of cadence at the end of phrases reminds me a lot of its use in "Reflets dans L'eau." Good to hear these, it looks like you are the 2nd to post a complete set.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 3:58 am 
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I can't comment in detail as I don't know these very well, but I really enjoyed listening to them. The sense of atmosphere is really quite amazing. Pagodes manages to sound relaxed and musical in spite of having all those notes to play. In Soiree I felt that you maybe could have done more with shaping the phrases within the loud sections, but it still builds nicely from the quiet opening, and there's something to be said for monumental loudness when dealing with the Alhambra. Jardins sounds more harsh than I remember hearing it before. Someone who knows the piece better will have to judge whether that's appropriate for the piece. It's certainly brilliant and exciting playing, and most of all it sounds like you're having fun.


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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:11 am
Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
techneut wrote:
Well done, these are up. Not sure about your closed lid, they sound a bit muffled now, while still being sharp in the treble. Better to have kept it open and maybe apply a trable filter. Pagodes and Soiree are nicely done despite the occasional slip. I'm less enthusiatic about Jardins, which sounds strenuous and laboured, as well as a bit shaky in places. I think you could have done with some more takes here (or else some editing).

Thanks Chris. Hence there is another reason which pushed me to close the piano. It is the intensity of sound: the room is in fact not big enough for such an instrument, and when the piano is open, I don't dare playing forte therefore I lose dynamics. As for Jardins, I took a number of recordings, and this one was the most acceptable...

pianoman342 wrote:
I had a listen to Pagodes and will listen to the rest later. I have never heard this set. The descending Perfect 5th as a type of cadence at the end of phrases reminds me a lot of its use in "Reflets dans L'eau." Good to hear these, it looks like you are the 2nd to post a complete set.

Thanks Riley, I am pleased you like this music. Yes, it belongs to the same creative period as the 'Images' (the suite where 'Reflets dans l'eau' comes from), and it is hence my preferred one within Debussy's piano music.

hreichgott wrote:
I can't comment in detail as I don't know these very well, but I really enjoyed listening to them. The sense of atmosphere is really quite amazing. Pagodes manages to sound relaxed and musical in spite of having all those notes to play. In Soiree I felt that you maybe could have done more with shaping the phrases within the loud sections, but it still builds nicely from the quiet opening, and there's something to be said for monumental loudness when dealing with the Alhambra. Jardins sounds more harsh than I remember hearing it before. Someone who knows the piece better will have to judge whether that's appropriate for the piece. It's certainly brilliant and exciting playing, and most of all it sounds like you're having fun.


Thank you Heather for your interesting comments. As for 'La soirée dans Grenade', did you know that Debussy never went to Andalucia (so he never saw the Alhambra) ? From what I have read, he just went once in San Sebastian (north of Spain) at the end of his life, well after he composed the 'Estampes'. However, according to Manuel de Falla, this piece was kind of purely Spanish. Debussy wrote that music was a way to travel for those who are not rich enough to go physically in other places. I personally like this idea... Finally, regarding 'Jardins sous la pluie', everything depends on the kind of rain he was talking: a gentle, smoggy shower or a storm cat-and-dogs fallling rain... Regards,

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"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
François Couperin (1668-1733)


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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:35 pm 
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Location: Uppsala, Sweden
Very expressive, these are quite difficult (jardins is the only one I have played). For some reason I liked the soiree the most. For the jardin, I would play it a bit slower and articulate more carefully. I guess that "pluie" also could be something extremely violent, evoking fear and running from the rain, but I never thought of this piece like that. Anyway it is interesting to hear other conceptions. Thanks!

I do agree with Chris that the sound is a bit odd. I understand it is a conscious choice but am not entirely convinced it works well here.

Joachim


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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:20 pm 
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Location: New Jersey, USA
Francois,
I wanted to alert you to a reading error and another potential one in the Soiree:

at 3:41 in the recording is the first section marked "Leger et lointain". In the score, only the first beat is marked with a triplet 16ths - the other two beats are straight 16ths. (This is as printed in the "Durand et fils" edition from 1904.) But you play all three beats with triplets, both the first occurrence and then later on the last page. I checked recordings of both Arrau and Cliburn and they play it as printed in the original.

Another probable reading error is at 2:32, the measure in which begins with a chord of A#-C##-A#, but you're playing A-natural instead of A#. Again, recordings of Arrau and Cliburn agree with the original.

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 Post subject: Re: Debussy - Estampes
PostPosted: Fri Aug 02, 2013 6:46 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 30, 2008 1:11 am
Posts: 489
Location: Lyon, France
Joachim, Stu,
Many thanks for your careful listening. You convinced me that I should re-record these pieces. I will wait to make some works on my piano (it needs a deep revision, and I hope to have this work done next fall). So I have to preserve the Debussy during the summer... Thanks again, I am going to vacation today for three weeks without Internet. Regards,

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"Je préfère ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"
François Couperin (1668-1733)


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