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Debussy: Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 5

Release date: 17 Nov 2009, CHAN10545

Artists

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet

Composers

Claude Debussy

Label

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Press Quotes

International Record Review

“Jean-Efflam Bavouzet concludes his stellar traversal of Debussy’s complete piano works with the composer’s rarely heard ‘short scores’ of his three late ballets. Debussy devotees will already own the orchestral versions of these works, but I highly recommend Bavouzet’s accounts. He approaches the pieces on their own terms, seems to know the orchestral versions intimately and realizes every bar of the music imaginatively and effortlessly. Other versions might be competitive, but they are few and far between. What Bavouzet provides is a perfect conclusion to his complete five-disc Debussy, a remarkable achievement that I have followed from the beginning and now consider the best of all presently available. The recorded sound is exceptional and the booklet notes by Roger Nichols are, as always, concise and informed."

Gramophone 'Editor's Choice'

“A marvellous conclusion to Bavouzet’s absolutely essential Debussy series” “Altogether, a remarkable achievement, and the disc is every bit as essential – perhaps more so for the rarity of the repertoire – as previous instalments”

American Record Guide

“…I am convinced by his [Bavouzet] performances that this is all legitimate piano music by one of the 20th Century’s great masters, heretofore almost unkown, and now presented with Chandos’s top production values and recording techniques. There is not another pianist more suitable or capable of bringing this music to light.”

YOU HAVE SELECTED:  Duration Price Price Price Price  
Khamma (version for piano) 19:35   $
Prelude 01:03   $
Scene 1: Le Temple interieur du Grand-Dieu Amun-Ra 03:49   $
Scene 2: La grande porte s'ouvre et une legere forme voilee est 02:41   $
Premiere Danse 03:28   $
Deuxieme Danse 01:35   $
Troisieme Danse 01:42   $
Au Movement - Soudain 01:49   $
Scene 3: C'est l'aube froide et grise du matin qui lentement devient rose 03:28   $
Jeux (version for piano) 16:50   $
Prelude 02:05   $
Du fond, a gauche, apparaissent deux jeunes filles craintives et curieuses 01:01   $
Une des deux jeunes filles danse seule 01:14   $
On apercoit le jeune homme au fond, a gauche, qui semble se cacher 01:14   $
Ils dansent ensemble 02:09   $
Le jeune homme a suivi cette derniere danse par curiosite d'abord 02:07   $
Dans l'emportement de leur danse, ils n'ont pas remarque l'attitude d'abord inquiete 01:40   $
Pourtant, le jeune homme intervient en ecartant leurs tetes doucement 01:34   $
Ils dansent desormais tous les trois 03:04   $
Une balle de tennis tombe a leurs pieds 00:42   $
La boite a joujoux (version for piano) 27:58   $
Prelude: Le sommeil de la boite (The Toy-box Asleep) - Tableau 1: Le magasin de jouets (The Toy Shop) 11:56   $
Tableau 2: Le champ de bataille (The Field of Battle) 08:05   $
Tableau 3: La bergerie a vendre (The Sheepfold for Sale) 05:07   $
Tableau 4: Apres fortune faite - Epilogue 02:50   $
 

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Album information

Khamma stems from a commission in 1910 for an Egyptian ballet, originally entitled Isis. The project was troubled from the start when Debussy refused to reduce the orchestra from 90 to 40 players. He never heard the work, which was first given its concert performance in 1924. Bavouzet writes, ‘I discovered almost by chance in a Parisian music store, a version for piano of Khamma. This had previously escaped me so what was my surprise when I saw the richness and originality! The virtuosity required is much more subtle than the more obvious. It must give the illusion of more perfect sound levels corresponding to each specific instruments group.’ In the midst of the negotiations over Khamma, Debussy wrote his second ballet Jeux, a highly complex and incomprehensible piece for two hands. Bavouzet notes, ‘In several places what Debussy wrote in the reduction for solo piano is really unplayable. The text is so thin and poor that a small part of the richness of the orchestral version is realised. It was indeed this frustration that prompted me to write some years ago, a version for two pianos today published by Durand. But for this disc I had to make a version for two hands to do justice to the score. I can say that this is probably one of the most difficult works that I have played.’Two months after the Jeux premiere, Debussy began work on his last ballet, La boîte à joujoux, based on an illustrated children’s story. Debussy embraced the plot, busy ‘extracting secrets from [his daughter] Chouchou’s old dolls and learning to play the side drum’. Within a month the first tableau was done, and he claimed he had ‘tried to be straightforward and even “amusing”, without pretentiousness or pointless acrobatics.’ The following month the piano score was complete.

Jean-Efflam concludes, ‘In my opinion the transcriptions can offer greater clarity and organisation of musical discourse. Young conductors have told me that they understood the score of Jeux better after hearing the version for two pianos… for those who do not know these three ballets in their orchestral version, this disc may give them the curiosity to explore the works further.’

Recorded in: Potton Hall Studio, Westleton, Suffolk, 5 and 6 May & 14 and 15 July 2009.

Debussy: Complete Works for Solo Piano Volume 5

Category Solo Instrumental

Period Romantic, Early 20th

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