My favorite playlist (3): Debussy

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This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Favorite Playlist

After a long break due to summer holidays and occupations, here I am again to share with you some of my favorite pieces of the 150 years birthday boy: Claude Debussy – he makes me proud of being french! As Monet does. If I could choose a period of history to travel to, one of them would probably be during the Impressionism… As music critic Camille Mauclair says, “The landscapes of Claude Monet are in fact symphonies of luminous waves, and the music of Monsieur Debussy, based not on a succession of themes but on the relative values of sounds in themselves, bears a remarkable resemblance to these pictures. It is Impressionism consisting of sonorous patches.”

Anyway, let’s start our celebration with a not so played and wonderful Melodie extracted from Quatre Chansons de Jeunesse, it is called Clair de Lune but not the famous one:

Direct Link to YouTube [-Yb58iJ6gYU]

And here for the pleasure of the eyes, some Van Gogh :

Starry Night Over the Rhone – Vincent van Gogh


This Melodie is just one example of how Debussy knew how to glorify the voice. Until I worked with singers in a summercamp dedicated to french repertoire, I must admit I didn’t know almost any of these songs. Of course, french is quite a complicated language to pronounce and singers (even french ones!) are often afraid to take up in this repertory, but what a pitty it isn’t more popular, like Schubert of Schumann songs!

Here is another example, « La Chevelure », extract of « Trois chansons de Bilitis » for Mezzo Soprano. It seems Debussy had an inclination for the hair, as it is the main theme of Pelleas :

Direct Link to YouTube [vux_zOIdSzA]

And here another illustration, by Renoir this time:

Jeune Fille coiffant ses cheveux - Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Let’s now change to another register of Debussy’s repertoire, the piano pieces. Of course, everybody knows l’Isle Joyeuse, Images, Estampes etc. but some Preludes or Etudes are unfortunately not played enough, as it often happens with this kind of works. Let’s listen first a beautiful prelude, « la Terrasse des audiences du Clair de lune » (it seems I have an inclination for moonlights!) performed by Krystian Zimmermann, one of my favorite pianists :

Direct Link to YouTube [ozFDvoWqs_s]

And an Etude, « pour les sixtes ». I know actually why it is never played – it is awfully hard, but so beautiful!

Direct Link to YouTube [w3ntvsNaDNU]

Some nice Monet:

Monet The Water-Lily Pond, Symphony in Rose


How could we forget the great influence that had Spanish and Asian music on Debussy and the other french composers of this period – thank’s to the universal exposition in Paris, that also gave us an Eiffel tower! Anyway, let’s discover an unknown piece for orchestra inspired by Spain called « Iberia », this is the second movement « Les parfums de la nuit ».

Direct Link to YouTube [Ga4YuIGWIcU]

Time to go to bed, tomorrow I have to practice… la Petite Suite, for a 4 hands concert next month. Anyway, I let you finish our celebration with a famous piece: la Mer… Happy Birthday Claude!

Direct Link to YouTube [Rsxmnt2wy4E]
Series Navigation<< My favorite playlist (1): Brahms<< My favorite playlists(2): RachmaninoffMy favorite playlists (4): Tchaikowsky >>

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