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Debussy Children's Corner

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by jlr43, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hello again. Here's the second group of descriptive character pieces on my upcoming disc. I studied a fair amount of Debussy, particularly the preludes, a while back with my former teacher (who is French) but haven't played it much in a while, so I enjoyed getting back into it again with this wonderful little set. Debussy's definitely my favorite among the French composers (Faure being a close second).

    Thanks for listening.

    Joe

    Debussy - Children's Corner - I, Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum (2:01)
    Debussy - Children's Corner - II, Jimbo's Lullaby (3:00)
    Debussy - Children's Corner - III, Dance of the Doll (2:26)
    Debussy - Children's Corner - IV, The Snow Is Dancing (2:24)
    Debussy - Children's Corner - V, The Little Shepherd (2:16)
    Debussy - Children's Corner - VI, Golliwog's Cakewalk (2:43)
     
  2. troglodyte

    troglodyte Member Piano Society Artist

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    Well done and nice to hear this well known set with your own personal touches. Overall very competent and you have it well in hand. Consider easing up on the pedal sometimes to gain more clarity. Some of the rubatos are quite nonstandard - good or bad is a matter of taste, but it is certainly good to hear fresh ideas in this. Some details:

    Dr Gradus: consider playing a little bit slower to articulate the runs more evenly. (After all it says Moderement anime). It's fine to explode at the end though don't start too early (it says peu a peu). At the end (tres anime) the melody gets a bit drowned out by the treble. I am not too fond of the gigantic ritardando in the last bars.

    Jimbo: the rubatos are to my mind a bit unnerving and breaks the lullaby mode. Excellent dynamics.

    Serenade: nice pace and dynamics but imho overpedalled. Eg in m3-4 there is no difference between LH G#, C# and F#, though the first two are staccato and the third a half note.

    The snow: Bravo, nice control here. This I think is the most difficult of the set. It could perhaps do with more dynamcis, there are lots of markings in the score which I don't hear. There is a slight accelerando in the beginning which I think is uncalled for.

    Shepard: Very well done. My only gripe is that I didn't hear the "un peu retenu" at then end.

    Golliwog: I miss the forte in m6 and 8. The "un peau moins vite" isn't slower. Actually the outer parts could go a bit faster, if you can manage.

    Joachim
     
  3. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Joachim,

    Thanks very much for listening. Your comments are quite perceptive. Very nice to have a listener who is open to different ideas about things even if our opinions sometimes differ.

    Joe
     
  4. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Hi Joe,

    Didn't realize that you were preparing these for a recording project! Should be a good one. Let us know when it is available :)

    Some thoughts (sorry they're out of order):
    Dr. Gradus: Effervescent and sparkling, great fun. In m. 1 and similar places, the RH is often a little early on the beat, with the result that the fourth note in each group of 16ths and the first note in the next group are compressed together.
    Little Shepherd: Why did you choose to have so little pedal here? It seems very atypical for Debussy. Not that you must always soak Debussy in 100% pedal all the time, but this sounds almost more like a Haydn adagio and I'm not convinced it's appropriate for the piece. It sounds rather dry and thin. I would love to hear your reasoning though, esp. since you've studied many of the Preludes with great teachers and this is similar writing to Des pas sur la neige or La fille aux cheveux de lin in terms of sparse line/occasional deep chords.
    Golliwog: The dance rhythm and feel are perfect! You have a nice range of approaches to the different sections, from more vibrant to more subdued. The Tristan und Isolde section is handled with refinement but still a pleasant and conversational humor. The ending is very energetic and satisfying.
    Snow is Dancing: You could use a lot more rubato if you wanted (think of the wind gusting and blowing the snowflakes around), but it's not necessary. This is really nice picturesque playing.
    Serenade: Very well done. Evokes the guitar nicely.
    Jimbo: Wow, that's a great elephant. You do have a good feel for characterization.

    Heather
     
  5. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Heather,


    Thanks for listening and for your compliments on the specific pieces. Excellent points - as well as some nice vivid imagery. :)

    My reasoning for using the pedal sparsely in The Little Shepherd is for the sake of rhythmic clarity -- the pedal tends to make things a bit soggy in a piece that has so many harmonic modulations. There is an intimacy to both La fille aux cheveux de lin and Des pas sur la neige, but the writing IMHO has important differences from Little Shepherd since the former two pieces don't have pointed dotted rhythms and are a bit more placid.

    Code:
    Serenade: Very well done. Evokes the guitar nicely.
    Interesting. I hadn't thought of the guitar but now that you mention it, I would agree that the rolled chords do sound a bit like guitar strummings.

    I actually just finished the CD this weekend. Was getting it ready so I could bring some copies out with me to Seattle when I fly out to visit my brother on Wednesday. But if you're interested, I'd be happy to send you a copy of it when I get back :)

    Joe
     
  6. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    Sure! Will send details by private message.
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    These are up.
     
  8. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks, Chris. Two small typos I noticed on the site page are that the "is" in the Snow Is dancing is misspelled as "ss" and the "l" in "The Little Shepherd" should be caps. Other than that, looks great. Thanks again for your work in putting these up (also on the Carnaval).

    Joe
     
  9. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I made your titles conform to the recordings already there. The ss was a typo, I've fixed that.
     

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