Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mercoledi Musicale

To celebrate the delicate snow scene outside my window (oh joy! oh bliss!) and as a thank offering for not living in the Buffalo-Niagara area I offer up this small excerpt from Claude Debussy's  Children's Corner Suite. 

André Caplet and Claude Debussy
The Snow is Dancing is the fourth in the series of six piano pieces Debussy composed between 1905 and 1908.  They were meant to evoke scenes of childhood and when it was completed he dedicated the suite to his treasured "Chou-chou": his three year old daughter Claude-Emma.  Sadly, Chouchou passed away from diphtheria in 1919 at the age of 13, only a year after her father's death from cancer. 

Shortly after the piano score was published Debussy's friend André Caplet created a transcription for orchestra, as he was to do for several of Debussy's works.  Caplet was a composer in his own right whose career was cut short by the effects of a gas attack during the Great War.  He never completely recovered and died from a lung disease in 1925.

Though I would have difficult choosing between the two I find Caplet's transcription the more evocative of a snowy landscape and gentle swirls of snow dancing through the air.   The piano version seems to have the odd shard of ice hidden within its whirling flakes.  But I'll let you decide which you prefer..

Here's Jean-Yves Thibaudet playing Debussy's original piano piece.

 The Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal always had a special way with Debussy when Charles Dutroit was on the podium.

Even as I type this there are gentle swirls of snow outside my window - at this point it's almost possible to believe in Debussy's winter magic. Ask me how I feel about it in two months time.

November 19 - 1916:  Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures.

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