DONATION STATUS
Needed before 2016-12-31
$ 2,500
So far donated
$ 750

Debussy - Elegie and Berceuse Heroique

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by techneut, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    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)
     
  2. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Messages:
    536
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Church Musician, Choral Accompanist, Musical Theat
    Location:
    Illinois
    LOCATION:
    Illinois
    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
     
  3. pianoman342

    pianoman342 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2008
    Messages:
    721
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Carbondale, IL
    Last Name:
    Tucker
    First Name:
    Riley
    LOCATION:
    Carbondale, IL
    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
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Messages:
    2,132
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Chief Operating Officer, retired
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Last Name:
    April
    First Name:
    David
    LOCATION:
    U.S.A.
    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
     
  5. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    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 :)
     
  6. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    Messages:
    8,712
    Likes Received:
    1
    Last Name:
    Hart
    First Name:
    Monica
    I listened to both pieces and each sound nicely-played. I like the Elegie - the way it just leaves you hanging at the end.
     
  7. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    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.
     
  8. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    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 ?
     
  9. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    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.
     
  10. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    522
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Technical Editor
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    Last Name:
    Renouf
    First Name:
    Joe
    LOCATION:
    Connecticut, USA
    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
     
  11. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    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).

    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: )
     
  12. richard66

    richard66 Richard Willmer Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    1,080
    Likes Received:
    0
    Occupation:
    Amateur musician
    Home Page:
    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.
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Last Name:
    Breemer
    First Name:
    Chris
    LOCATION:
    Netherlands
    I seem to be picking either early or late pieces, too. Not sure if it's just coincidence or not.
     

Share This Page