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Debussy - Berceuse Heroique

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Mar 6, 2011.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Debussy write this fascinating piece in the first year of the first World War. It was the only thing he wrote during this entire year, being devastated and depressed by the onslaught of the war. Not an overtly patriotic piece, this sombre berceuse evokes the war trough a solemn march, punctuated by distant bugle calls, two gunshots (or so I suppose) and a snippet of the Belgian anthem La Brabanconne. For me this is one of the most gripping things he ever wrote. But then I always like sombre and fraught music :D

    Debussy - Berceuse Heroique (4:34)
     
  2. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Really a good version, Chris. Maybe you could work on some little finesses: f.ex. indications like "lointain" and "plus lointaine" (which means "far" and "farer") you could try to express. The two "gun-shots" should be similar in length and very "sec.", that means "dry". Have you translated all the french expressions in there?

    Thanks for sharing this interesting piece. It´s not heard too often, I think.
     
  3. hyenal

    hyenal New Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris, I don't know this piece at all (even by the title), but enjoyed your recording very much. I like the subtle mood you brought out.
     
  4. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Very interesting, and nicely played and characterised. Not sure I would have guessed it as Debussy. To me, at least, it sounds more elegiaque than heroique, but I guess Busoni had already taken that title!
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks all for the feedback. I think I'll want to redo this one as the two closing bass notes are so lointain they can't be heard no more (though I did well play them), and the gunshots are not of equal length. There also may be one or two read errors.

    Yes it is more elegiaque than heroique. I guess Debussy did not perceive the war as being heroic, but as a senseless and pointless waste of human lives. Why he titled it like this, I don't know. Maybe it is irony. At least his quoting of the Brabanconne gives it something patriotic if not exactly heroic (which it might have been had he quoted the Marsellaise, I guess he made this choice deliberately).
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    This is the first time I ever heard this. It is a strange work for a lullaby (and heroic?). It reminds me of the Chopin A minor prelude in spirit, or even of some of the very late Liszt miniatures. I will need to spend much personal time with this work before I understand it. Thanks for expanding my horizon.
     
  7. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

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    I have come across an orchestrated version. My brother had it on a record and I even did listen to it. I did not know it was a piano work.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Indeed the title itself seems a typical Debussy irony. There can be few things as heroic as a berceuse. Although, maybe a soldier soothing his dying comrade ? It could make sense. Anyway, I feel strongly for this bleak piece with its war echoes.
     
  9. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Chris,

    This was a new piece to me. Had I heard it 10 times, I would never have guessed it came from the pen of Debussy! Where it's not so obviously characteristic of his style, I honestly don't think I like it as much as many of his earlier pieces such as the preludes. But except for the few changes you want to make in your playing, and even though I don't have the score here, it sounds to me that you give a very convincing account of this berceuse. And because it seems to be a lesser played and lesser known work, you've served Debussy and the PS archive well with this recording (or the one to soon follow). Debussy was terribly distressed and distraught over the war, as this bleak piece reflects, so it must have taken a terrible toll on him. The onset of his cancer occurred at this same time, such that between the two factors he lived only to age 56. Had he lived into old age, it leaves us wondering what other masterpieces he might have produced.

    Thanks for posting this "new music".

    David
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks David. Yes I like to present unknown things as well as staple diet like the WTC :D
    Always had a taste for the weird and wonderful.
     

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