Since July, I have been concentrating solely on female composers. You can read about that in my post from July 19. If I can’t find one born on the calendar day, I won’t post. On with today’s composer. I’m very excited to learn that Henriette Renié (18 September 1875 – 1 March 1956) has, unbeknownst to me, […]

via September 18, birthday of Henriette Renié — Kurt Nemes’ Classical Music Almanac


Gaston Lagaffe

pelodelperro·1,958 videos

Douze Études for piano in 2 books, L. 136 (1915)

I. Pour les cinq doigts (after Czerny)
II. Pour les tierces (2:52)
III. Pour les quartes (6:28)
IV. Pour les sixtes (12:06)
V. Pour les octaves (16:23)
VI. Pour les huit doigts (19:35)
VII. Pour les degrés chromatiques (21:08)
VIII. Pour les agréments (23:15)
IX. Pour les notes répétées (28:13)
X. Pour les sonorites opposées (31:35)
XI. Pour les arpèges composés 2 (36:57)
XII. Pour les accords (41:48)

Mitsuko Uchida, piano

Early in 1915, disheartened by the menace of World War I and gravely ill with cancer, Claude Debussy (1862-1918) nevertheless managed to compose. The fruits of his labors, 12 Etudes (study pieces or exercises), would be his last important works for solo piano, and would represent a distillation of the composer’s musical legacy. It was appropriate for Debussy — the most original composer for the piano since Franz Liszt — to join the ranks of etude composers. Equally fitting was his dedication of his two volumes to Frederick Chopin, noting that the serious nature of the exercises was offset by a charm reminiscent of the earlier master.

The etudes are divided into two books, each different in conception. Book I is devoted to exploring the technical problems and musical possibilities inherent in different intervals (thirds, sixths, etc.), while Book II engages in the exploration of musical syntax and style. In all, the etudes are witty, challenging, and inspired. Though academic in nature — and perhaps less easily digested than other of Debussy’s works — they fall closely on the heels of his popular Préludes and Images, and reflect the same aesthetic concerns: complex harmonies, fragmented melodic lines, and colorful textures.

The first etude of Book I, “Pour les ‘cinq doigts’-d’apres Monsieur Czerny” (For Five Fingers-after Mr. Czerny), is inspired by the five-finger exercises of Carl Czerny. Debussy pantomimes the pedantic works by placing figurations in grotesque juxtaposition and introducing bizarre modulations. “Pour les Tierces” (For Thirds) presents an extraordinary variety of patterns in parallel thirds, excepting those already encountered in “Tièrces alternées” from the second book of Préludes. “Pour les Quartes” (For Fourths) exercises the pianists ability in parallel fourths. Almost needless to say, quartal harmony abounds, making this etude more tonally adventurous than many of the others. “Pour les Sixtes” (For Sixths) is a slow and meditative work with two fast interludes, and one forte interruption. “Pour les Octaves” (For Octaves) combines chromaticism, whole-tone harmonies and complex syncopation. Probably the most brilliant etude of both books, it is equally difficult to play. “Pour les huit doigts” (For Eight Fingers) is meant to be performed (the composer’s suggestion) without the use of the thumbs, due to the division of the figuration into four-note scale patterns. It finds humor in its rigid insistence on four-note groupings and sudden ending.

GilPiotr·306 videos

Proses lyriques ( L. 84):
I. De reve 00:00
II. De greve 06:25
III. De fleurs 10:08
IV. De soir 15:48

Debussy, Claude ( 1862-1918) -composer
Sandrine piau -soprano
Jos van Immerseel -piano


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