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Thread: OTF –The art songs of Claude Debussy

          
   
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Involved Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    Cool OTF –The art songs of Claude Debussy

    This coming August 22nd, Claude Debussy would have turned 150. I plan to mark the occasion with a trio of OTF posts this month, one featuring a performance of Pelléas et Mélisande, one surveying some of my favourite recordings of Debussy’s seminal triptych La Mer and today’s, a look at some of Debussy’s art songs.

    In his excellent on-line catalogue of Debussy’s works, Robert Poliquin identifies about 100 so-called mélodies pour voix et piano, some of these were attempted more than once. Poets, like Chalrles Beaudelaire (1821 – 1867) and Debussy`s contemporaries influenced by him like Paul Verlaine (1844 –1896) provide the song material. About 10 years ago, I was fortunate enough to win a music quiz on the CBC, and received as a prize and excellent ATMA Classique recording by soprano Donna Brown and pianist Stéphane Lemelin called “Mélodies de jeunesse”, which featured many of these songs, mostly composed before he left Paris for the Villa Medici in Rome in 1885 after having won the Prix de Rome. I was disappointed to not find any of these renditions on YouTube, but some of the selections can be found on this fine disc.

    The works I chose for today’s playlist have the distinction of including both female and male singers, as many of the songs are gender-agnostic. I hope you will find, as I did, that Debussy is somewhat underrated as an art song composer (in spite of his sizable output) especially when compared with some of his more ambitious orchestral works. I find Debussy at par in this genre with his contemporaries (Richard Strauss comes toi mind), Let me know what you think…

    See you in a couple of weeks!
    PLAYLIST

    Claude DEBUSSY (1862 –1918)
    C'est l'extase (C'est l'extase langoureuse), L. 60, no. 1
    Text: Paul Verlaine: Romances sans paroles, # 1
    Il pleure dans mon cœur (Il pleure dans mon cœur comme il pleut sur la ville) , L. 60, no. 2
    Text: Paul Verlaine: Romances sans paroles, # 3
    Dawn Upshaw, soprano, with James Levine, piano

    Clair de lune (Votre âme est un paysage choisi), L. 80, no. 3
    Text: Paul Verlaine: Fêtes galantes [This is Debussy`s second version]
    Chevaux de bois (Tournez, tournez, bons chevaux de bois), L. 60, no. 4
    Text: Paul Verlaine: Paysages belges
    Adriana Casartelli, soprano, with Michele Perego, piano

    Colloque sentimental (Dans le vieux parc solitaire et glacé), L. 104, no. 3
    Text: Paul Verlaine: Fêtes galantes
    Nicolae Gafton, baritone, with Corneliu Gheorghiu, piano

    Mandoline (Les donneurs de sérénades), L. 29
    Text: Paul Verlaine: Fêtes galantes
    Beau soir (Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses), L. 6
    Text: Paul Bourget: Les aveux
    Kurt Ollmann, baritone, with Mary Dibbern, piano

    Nuits d'étoiles (Nuit d'étoiles, sous tes voiles), L. 4
    Text: Théodore de Banville: Les stalactites
    Romance (L'âme évaporée est souffrante) , L. 79, no. 1
    Text: Paul Bourget: Les aveux
    Christopher Maltman, baritone, with Malcolm Martineau, piano

    (Cinq) Poèmes de Beaudelaire, mélodies for voice and piano, L. 64
    Texts: Charles Beaudelaire
    (Complete performance)
    Barbara Hendricks, soprano, with Michel Béroff, piano

    Chansons de Bilitis, mélodies for voice and piano, L. 90
    Texts: Pierre Louÿs: Les chansons de Bilitis
    (Complete performance)
    Christa Ludwig, soprano, with Erik Werba, piano

    YouTube Playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4AB2C5F3B624907F

    Dont forget to follow my two summer series: The Summer of the Sonata on TalkClassical and MQCD Musique Classique) every Tuesday this Summer and The Great Escape on the ITYWLTMT Friday Blog and Podcast.

  2. #2
    Schigolch
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    I love French mélodie more than German lieder, and I love Debussy's songs better than Strauss's.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Recent member
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    I adore french composers and Debusssy is one of my favorites. His composition “Claire de Lune” is the best I think. Also from french composers of that time I like Faure and his "Pavane" is simply amazing... I was so shocked when had found a new cd of Maxim Rysanov, called "Pavane" at eclassical.com. Great collection of works of wonderful french composers.

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