Harmony and dark chaos from Debussy’s pen

Debussy cello sonata
Art has no age. © Charles Thibo

Children made this piece of art. It immediately caught my attention. Cones painted in dazzling colours. The contrast between natural and artificial. Here’s a piece of music that has such contrasts too. And it retained my attention for a much longer time span than those cones, even if they get an honorary mention on this blog: Sonata for Cello and Piano in D Minor (L. 135), written by Claude Debussy and recorded by Sol Gabetta and Hélène Grimaud. Brace yourself, for you are in for a wild ride through the realm of chords and harmonies.

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A summer dream and a return into my past

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Golden glow. © Charles Thibo

Today, I will try something new: Over a week I will present three works from three different composers, recorded by one single ensemble and compiled on one single album. Three quartets, magnificently performed by the French Quatuor Ebène. The idea to group these posts sprang from the parallels between the pieces and the parallels between the pictures I matched to the posts. I discovered this album a year ago and immediately fell in love with all three quartets.

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King Gradlon’s cathedral at the bottom of the sea

Baie de Quibéron. © Charles Thibo

Perhaps you remember my fantasy of seeing Atlantis at the bottom of the Atlantic, that I described in my post about Sibelius’s work “Oceanides”? I once tried diving – and it was exhilarating! Too bad live so far from the sea. Floating over a town at the seabed, swimming between the ruins of mansions, churches, a theatre… a recurrent dream of mine. Over a year ago, a piece of the French composer Claude Debussy woke up that fantasy: “La Cathédrale Engloutie” (The Sunken Cathedral), number 10 of the first book of Debussy’s “Préludes”.

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Memories of Bach in a modern, dissonant setting

Ysaÿe was influenced by Bach and Debussy. © Charles Thibo
Ysaÿe was influenced by Bach and Debussy. © Charles Thibo

Avant-garde. Ahead of his time. Anticipating Ligeti’s sound shapes and clouds. His compositions are extra-ordinary just like his name and his origin. Eugène Ysaÿe. Belgium. Born in 1858, he became one of the best known violinists of his time. And he composed six violin sonatas that keep intriguing me. Food for the soul? May be. Food for thought? Certainly.

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