Saturday, March 15, 2014

Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Plays Debussy (Images & Children's Corner)

Literature, painting and every kind of visual stimulus - particulary from Nature - served as inspiration to Debussy. "I'm almost as fond of pictures as I am of music", he wrote to Edgard Varèse in 1911 ; and this confirmed by his piano music, for example in Estampes (1903), the two sets of Images, and Préludes, where the paradoxically abstract denomination is belied by the titles which appear at the end of each piece.
Children's Corner 
Claude Debussy was devoted to his only child, a daughter named Claude-Emma and nicknamed Chouchou, born in October 1905. For her he composed, between 1906 and 1908 Children's Corner, which he dedicated to "my little dear Chouchou with the tender apologies of her father for all that is to follow", and some years later (1914) the Boîte à Joujoux (Toy-box). The English titles and subtitles betray the fashionable anglomania of the day, to which Debussy was the first subscribe, Chouchou being brought up by an English governess. Following in the footsteps of Schumann and Mussorgsky, whose Nursey songs he greatly admired, Debussy turned his attention to the children's world although - to quote Jankélévitch once again - "this was not music about children, or music for children, but children's music". He himself designed the cover, showing a golliwogg and a small elephant. Settling down in Chouchou's nursery, he begins whith a satire of Czerny's endless piano exercises ("Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum") and then turns his attention first to the elephant ("Jimbo's Lullaby") and then to the doll ("Serenade for the Doll"). After watching the snow ("The Snow is Dancing") and listening to the piping of the shepherd ("The Little Shepherd") he sweeps of the golliwogg in a dance ("Golliwogg's Cake-walk") in wich jazz rhythms make their first appearance in European music. The first performance of the work was given by Harold Bauer at the Cercle Musical on 18 December 1908.
Myriam Chimènes (translation Martin Cooper), from the booklet

Claude Debussy


Images (I)
1e Série pour Piano à 2 mains
1 I. Reflets dans l'eau (Andantino molto)  4:48
2 II. Hommage à Rameau (Lent et grave)  6:30
3 III. Mouvement (Animé)  3:36

Images (II)
 2e Série pour Piano seul
4 I. Cloches à travers les feuilles (Lent)  4:16
5 II. Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut (Lent)  5:09
6 III. Poisson d'or (Animé)  3:58


Children's Corner

7 I. Doctor gradus ad parnassum. Modérément animé  2:10
8 II. Jimbo's Lullaby. Assez modéré  3:23
9 III. Serenade for the Doll. Allegretto ma non troppo  2:12
10 IV. The Snow is dancing. Modérément animé  2:34
11 V. The Little Shepherd. Très modéré   2:23
12 VI. Golliwogg's cake-walk. Allegro giusto  2:51


Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli - p

Recorded Plenarsaal der Akademie der Wissenschaften, München ; July, 1971


cooljazz said...

Merci infiniment. Cadeau très apprécié.

Scoredaddy said...

thank you, Mel. Superb stuff.

vascodela2 said...

Good hands for Claude. Thanks

salience said...

your classics most appreciated!

Félix said...

Fantastic music, as well as the preludes:
Thanks for all of them!

Anonymous said...

Amazing post,appreciate!

kike said...

Thanks Mel for sharing this gem. My best regards, K.

pedro gamundi said...


Melanchthon said...

Revised rip